IBM has just released Lotus Notes and Domino 7, after about a year in beta testing. The company claims that more than 100 new features have been added; improved monitoring tools have been added and a problem that limited the number of users who could use a notes server has been overcome, with some 25-80 percent more users able to get on to a Notes server. Improved Domino 7 design tools have been provided, as has an option to use IBM's DB2 database.

Messaging and collaboration software research company Ferris Research estimates that ownership costs for Notes/Domino 7 will be 8 percent to 9 percent lower than for Notes/Domino 6, which debuted three years ago. In research funded by IBM, Ferris concluded that organizations won't see savings on their general per-user infrastructure costs from Notes/Domino 7 (as they would have from the previous release, version 6, which included new network compression technology), but they will save on direct hardware and software licensing costs--as well as benefitting from greater user productivity--thanks to improvements in areas such as search and message prioritization.