Office 365, Hybrid Coexistence & Lotus Notes…Oh My!

I recently attended Office 365 Deployment Training in Redmond. The session not only provided information on Office 365 features and deployment options, but also an opportunity to hear methodologies and challenges from the perspective of Microsoft partners attending the session.

There were many interesting discussions throughout the 3-day training, but much of the material focused on the Hybrid Coexistence (formerly known as “Rich Coexistence”) available with Office 365. For those that may not be familiar with it, Hybrid Coexistence provides:

    1. Mail routing between on-premises and cloud (recipients on either side)
    2. Unified GAL
    3. Free/Busy and calendar sharing cross-premises
    4. Other Exchange features and administrative functions between on-premises Exchange and Office 365

So, what does this mean for organizations using Lotus Notes today? The same Hybrid Coexistence can be leveraged by third-party vendors (including Quest and others) to provide unified GAL and Free/Busy sharing between Lotus Notes and Office 365 users.

However, there is a caveat – the Hybrid Coexistence feature-set requires Exchange Server 2010 SP1 Hub, CAS & Mailbox roles on-premises.

If you are currently using Lotus Notes and moving to Office 365, this may be a big caveat. One of the benefits of moving to Office 365 is eliminating the need for resources (hardware, software, human) to manage a local Exchange environment. Unfortunately, organizations must forgo this benefit to provide end users a complete coexistence solution throughout the transition to Office 365.

Well, no longer. The next release of Quest’s Coexistence Manager for Notes has been updated and verified to provide direct, bi-directional free/busy functionality between Lotus Notes and Office 365. This means you can achieve full coexistence (for users and applications) without installing, configuring, or managing a local Exchange infrastructure!

You may still want to implement Microsoft’s Sync Tool and possibly Identity Federation. However, these can be implemented with a local (and possibly existing) Active Directory without the additional hardware, software, configuration, training, and maintenance tasks required to support a local Exchange environment.

Have your cake and eat it too! Very cool.