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Alfresco ECM gilds IBM's Lotus suite

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Open source vendor Alfresco Software is rolling its enterprise content management (ECM) system into IBM's Lotus collaboration products to serve as a stronger counterpoint to Microsoft Sharepoint and reach smaller-sized business customers.

The company is also teaming with RightScale's software-as-a-service cloud management platform to offer a cloud deployment option for the newest version of Alfresco Enterprise Edition.

When IBM's Lotusphere conference kicks off next week in Orlando, Florida, Big Blue will show off a technical preview of Alfresco Content Services for Lotus social collaboration wares. The showing is an integration between Alfresco ECM and IBM Lotus Quickr, Lotus Notes, Lotus Connections, and WebSphere Portal.

"What it allows you to do is provide the ECM capabilities for the Lotus suite," Alfresco CTO and co-founder John Newton told The Reg. "It allows users to be able to manage content inside of Lotus, whether it's emails or documents that are being collaborated on inside of Quicker, and be able to turn them into records, archive them, manage them, or just have an enterprise content vault to be able to search and access the information."

Newton said that because Alfresco is such a lightweight platform, it can usually be installed on the same machine as the Lotus system without additional hardware.

He said the collaboration is a big opportunity for Alfresco to reach smaller-sized businesses using Lotus. It's an opportunity for IBM as well to have a set of capabilities where Filenet might be too large or complex for a customer, Newton said.

"Also, I think the combination of Lotus and Alfresco provides a real SharePoint killer as well," he added. "With the combination of the two, there's nothing that Sharepoint can do that we can't."

The company also claims that the integration brings features to Lotus that aren't available through Sharepoint, including 5015.2-certified records-management capabilities and content services for Lotus collaboration in the cloud.

A preview beta of Alfresco Content Services for Lotus will be available in February, with an official launch planned in Spring, according to Newton.

In addition, Alfresco announced the availability of Alfresco Enterprise Edition 3.2 that will allow for cloud-based deployments using RightScale's SaaS platform.

"We don't want to get into the hosting business, but wanted to provide tools for people who wanted to use those solutions," Newton said.

He explained that Alfresco's focus is efficiency in cloud computing by making the ECM system natively support multi-tenancy - where a single instance of software runs on a server that serves multiple clients in order to minimize hardware use and simplify administration.

Alfesco Enterprise Edition 3.2 is available now for existing Enterprise subscribers. ®

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