Random thoughts from an unusual company

Start your engines. Sametime 8.5.1 available on Thursday

Gabriella Davis  July 27 2010 11:51:02 AM
This morning IBM sent out an announcement of Sametime 8.5.1 availability.  The files will be available on the download site on Thursday 29th July.  They are going to be many, many GBs in size so clear room on your bandwidth.

Of course, I'm also now faced with the prospect of updating my Sametime presentation for IAMLUG next week to include all the 8.5.1 details that were previously NDA .  A more paranoid person would think the Sametime team were out to get me by shipping 3 days before the conference - or does the whole world not revolve around me?

The key things added  (cut and paste from IBM announcement with my comments.  Original announcement here )

New Clients
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7.0
  • Apple Macintosh 10.6
  • Linux® (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED), Red Hat Enterprise Desktop (RHED), and Ubuntu)
    .... so finally a complete client set. Previously we only had Windows support up to Vista.
New Mobile Support
  • Blackberry 5.0 devices
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 devices
    .... iPhone support was already in 8.5
  • Lotus Domino® 8.5.1 server
    ... as the underlying server for the Sametime Community Server which is the only component not running on WAS 7.0
  • Linux on IBM® System z®
  • Enhanced chat logging that includes announcements and chats over the Sametime Gateway
  • Simplified Sametime client deployment (with the ability to activate Sametime Unified Telephony features via policy)
    ... the word "simplified" is fair compared to previous versions.  I wouldn't say it was simple to do, just simpl-er with some planning
Not on my announcement but part of my testing in the beta program
  • Improved performance in meetings .. the big reason (along with the Mac and BB clients) why I'll be upgrading
  • Improved server stability
  • Clean up of many usability bugs that were there in 8.5
  • In general I'd say this is the 8.5 product they should have shipped originally, it's more complete, more thought through in deployment and more stable
And now the SUT bit...
Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1 was also announced today.  SUT is IBM's GINORMOUS client deployment of telephony integration (remember all those demos you've seen on transferring calls from your mobile to your desk to your home phone via ST - that's SUT).  For SMB customers or those wanting 'click to call' you are still looking at the established TCSPI solutions.

SUT is very cool if that's what your company needs and can justify.  It sells as a combined hardware / software / consultancy solution from certified providers (which used to just be IBM consulting but now includes one or two other hardware telephony skilled companies).  Full hardware / software specs are here SUT 8.5.1

According to IBM, Sametime 8.5.1 itself offers better  "Integration of video in Sametime Unified Telephony for a more compelling multimodal collaborative experience"  - make of that what you will

The key question for me is can we upgrade 8.5 to 8.5.1 cleanly and that's something I've left until the product shipped so I'll be trying that out this week.