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Can someone explain where Exchange is better than Domino?

I don't get it.
There is a lot of discussion about what is better Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino. Looking at Exchange (of course with my "working for IBM" bias <g>) I can see a lot of flaws:
  • Lack of platform choice
  • Fragile single Jet database for all users of a server
  • Dependency on external directory
  • Flaws in build-in spam fighting (go ask Chris about it)
  • Complicated admin interface
  • Lack of backward compatibility and upgrade nightmares
  • Limited scalability
  • Bandwidth hog
  • No load balancing in clustering
... and so on.

Soooo what are the real advantages of Microsoft Exchange? Important: I'm not talking about Microsoft Outlook! The comparison between Microsoft Outlook and the eMail part of the Notes client is not an admissible argument for this question. Other people do the comparison there. I'm strictly looking at the server side.
From my experience Microsoft Exchange is rather accepted as collateral damage when an organization is adopting Microsoft Outlook, so that's not the explanation I'm looking for either.

Posted by on 11 November 2007 | Comments (6) | categories: IBM Notes Lotus Notes


  1. posted by Jack Dausman on Monday 12 November 2007 AD:
    Yep, that's the short list. Why is Exchange acceptable? Because it is possible to support--I can get Microsoft certified training everywhere. And, Microsoft stresses it.

    They host local events (with food), they create seminars for the partners to distribute, and they feed SMB with lots of other good (SQL Server) solutions. Sure, Exchange is a weak link, but it's tolerated. IBM still can't compete against the infrastructure that Microsoft has created with its partners for an SMB architecture.
  2. posted by Peter Wilson on Monday 12 November 2007 AD:
    > Complicated admin interface

    Not having worked with the latest versions of Exchange, certainly administering Exchange is quite easy. In Notes you have the heavy and very complicated Admin client and have all the *!&#@# of Notes ID's. Look at all the Domino config options in all sorts of locations. It certainly isn't easy for SMB

  3. posted by Philip Storry on Monday 12 November 2007 AD:
    Integration is another point.

    MS Exchange Server is only integrated with other MS products and some partner's products, but that presents a certain bias.

    A real argument would be the tight AD integration - which is a benefit if you're an AD organisation, and most are these days.

    A bogus argument - which I've seen - relies on memories of software like Backup Exec only using MAPI to send email. That meant setting up Outlook, which meant Exchange (in most cases).
    Yes, I know how stupid that sounds. And having to maintain a separate account + profile just to send emails about your backups was not only dumb, but painful given how crap MAPI and Outlook are.
    (It would crash, hang around on the machine, and not send any more emails. Only restarting the machine fixed this, because it had crashed in another logon instance which had no console access. But I digress...)

    Basically, historically things have been slightly better integrated with the MS stack and with some products by close MS partners.
    In practice, it's only the AD integration that should matter. But in perception, the small little things mount up.

  4. posted by Gregg Eldred on Wednesday 14 November 2007 AD:
    I don't know if I can support Peter's comment. I have never had to administer an Exchange server, but we do have an Admin Client (leaving out any arguments as to the UI or whatever). While I am using the Domino Admin client, I have access to pretty much everything I need. I don't see the Exchange Management Shell as an "easy" interface. Leaving the Admin to enter long strings of commands?

    I am probably wrong, and the Exchange Admins just accept that as their fate. Much like I accept the Domino Admin client.
  5. posted by Nigel Choh on Thursday 15 November 2007 AD:
    I believe that Exchange is able to compete with Notes because it is incremental. It is incremental in many ways

    You start off with the Outlook and you increment it by adding Exchange. You start off with Windows client and then you use MS Server. You need a db, so you add MS SQL Server.

    The ecosystem then grows with many, many MS centric IT people out there.

    It's incremental on a product basis and it is incremental across the stack.

    Notes is great but the learning curve is much steeper. Documentation is not as easy to get.
  6. posted by Me on Friday 29 May 2009 AD:
    Because MS marketing is orders of mangitude better than IBM/Lotus marketing, and marketing counts as one of the important services for the people spending the money. Techies are are not the ones spending the money.