What to expect at Lotusphere – A Lotusphere 2009 conference report

What to expect at Lotusphere – A Lotusphere 2009 conference report

I was searching through old Lotusphere resources preparing for this year’s conference and found a conference report from Lotusphere 2009. If you will be new to Lotusphere this year, it might give you an insight into the conference.


Lotusphere 2009

[Redacted] and Paul Hudson attended the annual Lotusphere conference at Disney’s Dolphin and Swan conference Centre in Orlando, Florida. This is a conference where 8000 administrators, developers, IBM Business Partners and IBM staff, spend a week discussing all things Lotus. Think of it as the ‘Vodka and Red Bull’ of Lotus conferences, part conference, part training and part social. It’s an enjoyable but exhausting week.

I know, a conference at Disney in Florida, with a Wednesday night party at Universal Studios Theme Park, sounds like a jolly doesn’t it?

But how does starting at 7am and walking 3 miles a day sound, because that’s the average distance a Lotusphere attendee can expect to walk every day moving between the 400 sessions on offer. The conference also coincided with Florida’s coldest winter in 10 years.

Moving around Lotusphere (speeded up by 800%)


Coldest Winter for 10 years
'Cold' Florida winter

The conference started with the ‘Opening General Session’. This is IBM’s chance to tell the community about the state of IBM and Lotus, announce new products and tell us about the updates they have planned for the next year.


Opening General Session

For UH, very little of this information was relevant. A week before the Lotusphere, IBM had released a significant upgrade to Domino (StudyNet’s server software). So many of its features were known. Instead for us, the conference was more about discovering how companies are using this new platform.

This year’s guest speaker was the actor and comedian Dan Akyroyd, who discussed his experiences of communications, or lack of, within the film industry.

Dan Akyroyd
Dan Akyroyd

It was clear from the conference that IBM still considers Microsoft its main competitor and it appears to be adopting an aggressive strategy to provide an alternative to Windows and Office. Its free office suite ‘Symphony’ is now available on all major platforms and IBM ran a number of sessions on hosting services on Linux. As part of this strategy, IBM has released a new hosted online communications platform called ‘LotusLive’ that offers comparable services to Microsoft’s hosted services.

[Redacted – personal information about colleague]…… Despite this we did manage to attend a wide range of sessions covering everything from best practices in development and administration, to choosing an appropriate JavaScript framework. Probably the most entertaining session of the week was a wry look at the responsibilities of Administrators and their Developers.

On the Domino front, most sessions concentrated on the two big new features. The first new feature, Document Attachment Object Store, is a feature that alters how attachments are stored and could offer significant disk and backup savings. The second new feature was XPages, a new development environment that could make the development of StudyNet easier.

One interesting session Paul attended, was a ‘Mythbuster’ session that blew open some of the myths about Domino. The session finished early at 11:59. But the presenters had left one extra myth to the end, “That a black man would never become president of the United States of America”. Switching to a live Internet feed, their timing was perfect, as Barak Obama stepped up to give his inauguration speech.


Traditionally Lotusphere closes with a ‘light-hearted’ session and this year was no different. This year’s guest speaker was Benjamin Zander, the conductor for the Boston Philharmonic and co-author of ‘The Art of Possibility’, who demonstrated through the use of music, how to adopt a more positive attitude to the world. Although it may not sound very entertaining, it was in fact an excellent way to finish the conference on a high.

Benjamin Zander
Benjamin Zander

Photos taken during conference week


Photos taken during conference week. Locations: Dolphin & Swan Hotels, Disney’s Boardwalk, & Downtown Disney & Universal Studios Theme Park

Videos taken during the week