So, what exactly is in a name? While I could probably spin some FUD their way bases solely on the meaning of "Microcomputer Software" Corporation (a.k.a. Microsoft), I will hold back some. As history shows, Microsoft acquired their foothold by developing Operating Systems for "IBM Compatible" microcomputers. On the other hand we have Microsoft's biggest threat in International Business Machines. To me the names alone say a lot about the companies...
That being said, I have been thinking of Ed Brill's post back in December requesting comments on the largest deployments of Domino on a single server. Many customers consistently had over 12,000 users. There were even some that had over 30,000 and one chimed in on running over 59,000 users in a 2 way cluster for failover. This is truly amazing! I know that with the size of my organization that we fall within the "Small to Medium Business" (SMB) category for IBM.
But how would Microsoft view my company?
Looking at a TechNet article on "Recommendations for Large Organizations", we read that "The recommendations for medium organizations are also applicable to large organizations that have more than 1,000 users". There is even a graphic depicting "A large Exchange 2003 organization that has three server locations". In the graphic there are a total of 5 Exchange 2003 Mailbox Servers with an additional 2 cluster servers and a "front-end server farm". The total number of users in this implementation is 12,000 users - which is a fairly big implementation. But you're still looking at software designed for the "micro" world - thus requiring more and more servers for scalable environments.
Reading Microsoft's "Exchange Server 2003 Product Overview", we read the answer as to the likely scalability limit for single Exchange 2003 servers: "With Exchange Server 2003, however, the number of supported users and mailboxes can easily be in the 3,000–5,000 range or more, depending upon the user profiles, message traffic patterns, and mailbox size limitations." I suppose we could debate what the "or more" means, but they're basically saying that you should not have more than 5,000 users per server. Compared to some of the Domino implementations, this scenario would require 10-20 servers to service over 50,000 users (depending on the clustering scenario).
So what does this say to me, you ask? I personally believe it speaks volumes about the role IBM plays in this game of collaboration software. Not only does IBM offer great value from Notes/Domino to small businesses, but they offer truly scalable software (and hardware) solutions. It tires me to continally read how great Microsoft is (though all comparisons show that IBM meets or exceeds what Microsoft offers in direct product comparisons). After going to Lotusphere 2006, the best one I've attended, there should be no doubt whatsoever in the minds of anyone that IBM is on the offensive. The Guardian article is completely ridiculous. Most of our users could probably care less about the e-mail client being used. We purchased Notes/Domino because of the benefits it provided beyond mail and PIM. E-mail was just a little bonus! And we have a ton of users who are deriving immense value from Lotus.