It’s not just IBM’s nomenclature that confuses folks when it comes to looking at on-premise (sorry Bob!) vs. cloud collaboration applications, it is often difficult to compare the services that are included, the licensing options (users vs. CPU for example) and the suitability for including users outside the organisation.
Phil Salm has put together a useful blog entry on the subject, comparing the options for a small business looking at rolling out social collaboration solutions to their users:
LotusLive Connections is only $84 a user for an annual subscription for existing Lotus customers. Now comparing this to the premise-deployed Lotus Connections is not particularly fair because Lotus Connections has far more features than LotusLive Connections (micro-blogging, blogging, communities, wikis, dogears and more). But I would argue for many small businesses, key features they wish to deploy are activities and file sharing.
To deploy Lotus Connections on premise, a business with Notes/Domino is looking at adding a minimum of two servers, as well as needing to develop competencies in Websphere Application Server, DB2, and put in place the back-up software, monitoring tools and other operational items standard for new applications deployed within a company. None of that is required for LotusLive Connections.
Then take a look at licensing. A Lotus Connections user license is $119 a user. That is $35 more initially than a LotusLive Connections user, though in year two it will drop to $23.80 per user. BUT to license your premise Connections environment to be shared externally, you would also have to purchase a Lotus Connections Extranet license, and that costs $292 per processor value unit (PVU). Since you practically can’t buy a new server that requires less than 200 PVUs, that’s $58,400 year one ($19,500 year two). There is no additional charge to share files or activities outside your company with LotusLive Connections because guest accounts are free.
Whilst Phil’s example is perhaps a little simplistic, it does cover some of the major discussion points that come up when comparing the on-premise and cloud options available. Well worth a read.