At HCL we take our customers’ needs and concerns very seriously. Since July, when we made the End of Service announcement of Connections Cloud, we have worked closely with customers and partners around the world to understand their needs, and how HCL can best position them for success now and in the future. We have heard that customers want choice, security, innovation, and continuity for their business. What follows is an update on our progress and some expectations as we move forward.
Customers have shared with us the desire to keep their data local to them, whether to meet industry security policies or local data residency requirements. To address this desire, HCL has a core set of geo-based partners that we believe are well-poised to deliver cloud services to our customers. This allows HCL to focus on world-class software development and increasing the velocity at which we bring new capability to market, while the local business partners you know and trust in your local markets deliver the cloud hosting options you need.
In the next month, HCL will announce a set of Managed Service Providers (MSP) called HCL Cloud Hosting Partners. These organizations have been working with us hand-in-hand to build:
Returning to on-premises delivery
At HCL we want to provide you with the options that work best for you. As an alternative to the cloud offerings stated above, SCN, Verse, and Connections clients may revert to any appropriate earlier non-expiring licensing for on-premises or private cloud, by renewing Subscription & Support without penalty, if their subscription has remained current. Here is a recent blog on the topic.
Please contact your Business Partner or HCL sales representative if you have questions or would like more information on altering your existing license agreement accordingly.
We are currently in the process of exploring multiple options for data migration so that cloud customers can right-size the approach that best suits their data size and destination. Naturally the technical solution for Mail versus Connections will differ, but our common goal is to help ensure your data migration goes as smoothly as possible for all products you are using. For details about the data migration process itself, please see the FAQ below.
Our intention is to provide a streamlined process by which customers can request offboarding from the existing Connections Cloud instance to the new HCL Managed Service Provider (MSP) of their choice. At a high level, the process will flow like this:
Customer will contact SaaSHCL@us.ibm.com and inform them of the vendor they’ve selected, specifying the offerings included in this shift:
E.g. Selected Vendor = Partner A, to host Mail on Private Cloud, Sametime Chat, and Connections on public cloud
On October 30, at 10 AM EDT, we will host a webcast where we will introduce our cloud hosting partners and more details about the data migration process. Please register here for this webcast to stay informed on the latest. In the meantime, feel free to access our updated FAQ document below or via the HCL support portal for further details on questions you may have.
At HCL we value your partnership, and we will continue to provide regular communications into our direction and progress. If you have any more questions, please reach out to your HCL sales representative. I look forward to sharing more with you next month.
General Manager, Digital Solutions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Offerings & Licensing
Q. When will we know what alternate hosting options are available?
A. We intend to provide a list of HCL hosting partners with whom clients can begin to engage next month. While we expect this list of MSP partners to grow over time, this select group has been highly involved in building our target plan and is ready to serve the community of customers migrating off the Connections Cloud.
Q. Will all the same offerings be made available on the new private and multi-tenant cloud offerings
A: No. For mail and applications, HCL is focusing on enabling client-led, MSP, and HCL-led private cloud solutions. There will be no public cloud offering available for Domino. Connections, Engagement Center, and Sametime Chat will be available on the multi-tenant cloud or as a private cloud offering. HCL Docs is not included in the initial offerings for hosting partners but will be considered for a future offering.
Q: What does a “multi-tenant cloud” offering for Connections mean in this case?
A: Currently the Connections Cloud hosts software applications (SCN, Verse, Connections, etc.) that allow multiple companies to leverage the same platform while their data is completely, securely, and privately kept separate from each other. Connections customers will have the option to continue to receive service this way, but via a different vendor. While this affords the opportunity for a completely separate instance and potentially more customer-specific customizations, the multi-tenant cloud option tends to be more economical.
Q: Will Connections customers be offered the option to setup their own multi-tenant cloud on-premises or as a private cloud?
A: Not today. While we know that some customers have interest in running their own multi-tenant cloud to host their own customers or partners, this is not an option today. Based upon market opportunity and customer demand, we may consider this offering in the future.
Q: As a cloud customer, can I anticipate any updates on the existing cloud in alignment with the HCL Connections roadmap?
A: No. There will be no further enhancements made during this period to Connections Cloud, with the exception of critical fixes and security updates. Instead, the focus for HCL development will be the HCL Connections roadmap.
Q: Will I be able to keep my audio-conferencing service as part of the IBM Meetings Cloud?
A. No. The audio conferencing is used only in conjunction with the Meetings service, which will terminate with the Meetings service on July 16, 2020. We will work with clients, however, to ensure a continuation of service directly with the vendor involved. Further details will be forthcoming, including a separate communication.
Q: I have a 3-year agreement with IBM for Connections Cloud. Will I get a refund?
A: Customers who are actively using the cloud, whose Connections Cloud and Domino Apps on Cloud contracts extend beyond the end-of-service date of July 16, 2020, should speak to directly to the Connections Cloud project office at: SaaSHCL@us.ibm.com. The service will not extend beyond July 16, 2020.
Q: What happens to content that is in Connections Cloud? How long until it’s no longer accessible?
A: Data will no longer be accessible after July 16, 2020. For concerns regarding retention and deletion of data, please see the policy defined for Connections Cloud services: As stated in the service description for the Connections Cloud Offerings, Content (including Client Personal Data) that is stored or persisted within this Cloud Service will be removed in accordance with the service description. Some Content (including Client Personal Data) may remain in the Cloud Service backups until the expiration of such backups 90 days after data is removed from the online service. For more information, please reference the Connections Cloud service description, section 2 and its associated detailed system requirements. For example: Offering details for Connections Cloud S1.
Q. Will I be able to move my SCN mail or Connections content before July 2020 to a partner of my choice?
A. Yes. We are working to define the necessary best practices and architectures to ensure customers will be able to migrate before the July 16, 2020, end-of-service date. Also, we will share the details of tools that are available to aid in your assessment and migration planning. HCL wants to enable our clients and business partners to make educated decisions and intend to make any movement as simple and cost effective as possible. By doing so, we’ll position our customers for the next generation of HCL’s Digital Solutions.
Q: What technical options do customers have for Mail migration? What has HCL done to enable its cloud hosting providers?
A: There are multiple ways in which we’re approaching the mail migration and readiness. Fundamentally, the migration consists of being able to replicate mailboxes from SCN to the new hosted Domino servers. Plus, it is possible to automate the updating of the Notes client configurations to access the new mailboxes. Users of Verse on the Cloud will receive a new URL. Here’s the list of the additional ways HCL is looking to help:
Q: What technical options do customers have for Connections data migration? What is HCL doing to enable its cloud hosting providers?
A: We are targeting a 1:1 data migration*. There are multiple ways in which data migration can be approached, and we have business partners who provide excellent custom migration services. In this case, the path of a cloud to cloud data migration allows us the opportunity to keep this as simple as possible. With your data security and ease of process at the forefront of our minds, here is the approach we’re taking.
Q. Will HCL support my migration out of SCN to Domino, or a third-party solution?
A. HCL will work with any HCL Business Partner to ensure the smoothest transition from mail and apps on the cloud to another HCL-based solution whether they are an MSP or not. Given the comparative effort and timeframe required to move another mail solution, we believe the SCN-to-Domino approach to be the least disruptive to an organization. However, clients may elect to move to another vendor solution, in which case, HCL services is available to enable that mail migration on a case-by-case basis.