Monday, April 7, 2008

How I got started with Lotus Notes

Here is the story of a man named Kevin and his journey down the IT road which led to Lotus Notes. I started work with a small technology company created by a couple of ex-IBMers while I was in college. They specialized in providing services for IBM's Advanced Function Printing products as well as some Sun Solaris services. I started out turning paper forms into electronic forms to be used with AFP and IBM high speed laser printers. I then became a system integrator for the IBM PSF2 product running on OS/2. This product tied the PC printing world with the Mainframe and AS/400 printing world so I was exposed to many different systems. Then I became the in-house system administrator managing all the IT resources; servers, network, workstations, and printers. This included getting to learn the following OS's; OS/2, Windows, OS/400, VM, AIX, and Solaris.


One day a manager handed me a yellow box that said Lotus Notes Release 3. He asked me to get it installed and see if we can use it. Just as Ed mentioned I too struggled with getting my head wrapped around Notes PKI. I installed it on an OS/2 server and then gave everyone the Notes client. It was an instant hit. I then setup our RS6000 system to be an SMTP gateway for Internet mail. Then we opened another office in Florida so a Notes server was setup there with modem replication to the first Notes server.

I left that company in 1997 and went to work for a consulting company. My first assignment was with a global company running Notes on a large scale. I went from a company using 2 Notes servers to a company using 50+ Notes servers. This is where I really learned the power of Notes and how to configure it properly. I also received my first Notes certification on Release 4 while I was at this client and have maintained it with each release since. I spent time with other clients during my 7 years at this consulting firm mainly doing audits and fill in system admin duties. Then the consulting firm turned more and more Microsoft centric and the Notes/Domino assignments started to dwindle. I became certified in Exchange but couldn't understand why any organization that deemed e-mail as mission critical could use this product. Not after knowing the scalability and redundancy available with Notes and Domino. I decided to find another job where I could work full time with Domino and didn't require the travel that the consultant roles were.

That leads me to my current position with a global law firm using Notes and Domino as it's mission critical e-mail platform. It still has the variety that I liked with consulting but with a steady location. We run Domino on Windows, i5/OS (oops, now it's just i), and SuSE Linux. We have server clusters across separate physical sites which gives us excellent uptime and I believe a competitive advantage.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. As long as I'm in the IT field I believe I will be working with Notes and Domino. As everyone should know by now it isn't going away.

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