On October 30, we announced our newly selected Managed Service Providers (MSPs), called HCL Cloud Hosting Partners, with transparency into our selection process, data migration strategies by the desired destination, and a timeline for next steps. We also launched a new website for our HCL Cloud Hosting Partners with additional information you may need in support of your migration.

 

As of today, our MSPs called HCL Cloud Hosting Partners are:
  1. Belsoft Group
  2. ISW
  3. Prominic.net

These organizations have been working with us hand-in-hand to build:

  1. Private cloud services for Mail, Applications, Connections, and Sametime.
  2. A multi-tenant public cloud offering for Connections, Engagement Center, and Sametime Chat.

For clients of Domino Apps on Cloud, we are working on a similar private-cloud HCL offering for launch later this year. Details will be available shortly.

Our selection process:

Our announcement today signals only the start of our planned HCL Cloud Hosting Partners globally. In order to provide clarity on our selection process, please review the minimum criteria that were used in selecting our first three partners:

  1. Active MSA (+addendum, if selected)​
  2. Minimum 1 HCL Master​
  3. Validate HCL Digital Software product portfolio experience​
  4. Global data center ability​
  5. Ability to provide L1 & L2 support​
  6. Ability to provide 24×7 support with the exception of scheduled maintenance​
  7. Minimum 5 years of experience hosting and operating HCL (or IBM) products​
  8. Agrees to host multi-tenant Connections, Sametime, and Domino for mail and apps (with the option of chat) in a private cloud​
  9. Provides all major data-security certifications and compliance​
  10. Meets or exceeds industry-standard security and compliance requirements both physical and data​
  11. Provides, or provides upon customer request, disaster recovery capability

 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 MSPs 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.
Data migration

We also announced a 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 the products you are using.  For details about the data migration process itself, please see the FAQ below.
 
Working with IBM’s offboarding team, our intention is to provide a streamlined process by which customers can request offboarding from the existing Connections Cloud instance to the new HCL MSP of their choice.

At a high level of the process, the 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, apps and Sametime Chat on a private cloud, plus Sametime Chat, and Connections on public cloud):

  1. For mail: the customer or the MSP completes the setup of the necessary replication to export the customer’s mail and ensures all client-side reconfiguration is undertaken.
  2. For Connections: the customer and the MSP will work with the offboarding coordinator on the Connections content extraction and migration.
  3. MSP will complete the process of validating the data shift has occurred as planned
  4. The customer continues to work leveraging new architecture.

At HCL, we value your partnership, and we will continue to provide regular communications (including webcasts and blogs) into our direction, best practices and progress. If you have any more questions, please reach out to your HCL sales representative. I look forward to sharing more with you.  
 
Sincerely,
Richard Jefts
General Manager, Digital Solutions
HCL Software

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Offerings & Licensing
 
Q. When will we know what alternate hosting options are available?  
A. On October 30, 2019, we announced our inaugural HCL Cloud Hosting Partners: Belsoft Group, ISW, and Prominic. You can find contact information for these partners on our new website for our HCL Cloud Hosting Partners. Additionally, 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. How can I find out if the current MSPs cover my business’ geographical location? If my country is not covered, when can we expect to hear about other partners available in other locations around the world (e.g. Japan)?
A. While every MSP is offering their services worldwide for mail, apps, chat, and connections, we fully understand the need to look for a managed service provides within an organization’s specific geography. HCL will continue to grow the list MSPs over the coming months.

Q. When will the named MSPs have available pricing and licensing available?
A. In our effort to be transparent, we are communicating our inaugural MSPs even as the contract process is still in progress. The MSPs will be responsible for communicating their pricing and licensing information for migration in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we recommend you begin communicating directly with these partners in order to stay informed of the latest from them immediately.
 
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 mail. For Connections, Engagement Center, and Sametime Chat, there will be both multi-tenant cloud and private cloud offerings from MSPs.  HCL Docs and HCL Sametime Meetings are not included in the initial offerings for hosting partners but will be considered for future offerings.
 
Q: What does a “multi-tenant cloud” offering for Connections mean in this case?
A:  Connections customers will have the option to continue to receive service this way, but via a different vendor, using the same MT code.  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 set up their own multi-tenant cloud on-premises or as a private cloud?
A: Not today. While we know that some customers have an interest in running their own multi-tenant cloud to host their own customers or partners, this is currently not an option.  Based on 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 Connections Cloud, SCN and DAC roadmap? 
A: No. There will be no further enhancements made during this period to any existing Connections Cloud service, with the exception of critical fixes and security updates. Instead, the focus for HCL development will be on the Connections, Domino and Sametime roadmaps. 
 
Q: Will I be able to keep my audio-conferencing service as part of the Meetings Cloud?  
A. No. The audio-conferencing service will terminate with the Meetings service on July 16, 2020. However, IBM and HCL will work with clients, to ensure a continuation of service directly with the vendor involved, if desired. Further details will be forthcoming, including a separate communication.
 
Contracts
 
Q: I have a 3-year agreement with IBM for Connections Cloud. Will I get a refund? 
A: IBM is fully aware of this question. Customers who are actively using the cloud, and 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 the 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.
 
Data Migration

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 to 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 are available to enable that mail migration on a case-by-case basis.
 
Q: What technical options do customers have for mail migration?   
A: Customers should speak with the HCL Cloud Hosting Partners, or HCL business partner, who will provide a tool to assess their SCN mail usage and discuss the mail migration strategy based on architecture defined by HCL and IBM. Details of how BPs can obtain the cookbook and tool will be available shortly.

Q. What is happening with my mail archive?
A. IBM is working with Barracuda to determine the recommended approaches to dealing their Sonian mail archives past July 16, 2020, to ensure legal compliance. More details on what is being planned will be forthcoming from IBM.

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: 

  • We are working with our HCL Cloud Hosting providers to define an off-boarding process by which any customer moving to an HCL MSP cloud hosting vendor will be able to take advantage of the data migration import offered by that partner
  • Using custom scripts defined by the HCL Connections team, you will be able to securely and privately extract your data from your initial hosting vendor to your new vendor. By doing so, the compliance and security chain of custody of your data is maintained, meaning you will not need to enter into any other legal agreements with HCL or an additional vendor for the migration occur
  • The HCL Hosting partner will use either their own migration tools or the scripts provided by HCL to import your data and ensure your system is up and running
  • If you are migrating from the cloud back to on-premises, your HCL sales representative or business partner can suggest some partners who have experience doing custom data migrations for Connections

*Subject to change

Q. What migrations strategies are being implemented for HCL Connections?
A. In preparation for data migration to begin with our selected HCL Cloud Hosting Partners, we have developed three migration strategies depending on your desired destination:

  1. Customers migrating to Managed Service Partner (MSP) Cloud​
    1. IBM uses DB Extract tool and scripts to provide customer’s data files to partner​
    2. Partner uses import scripts to import customer’s data into partner cloud​
  2. Customers migrating to on-prem or private cloud​
    1. Partners use the public APIs to extract customer data and partner’s tools to import customer’s data into a new destination.​
  3. Customers migrating to a third-party solution​
    1. Partners use the public APIs to extract customer data and move data to a new location.

Q. Is it possible to migrate to Microsoft Office 365?
A. Yes, there are a number of third-parties in the market that have the tooling to migrate from SCN to Microsoft Office 365 for mail.

Q. Why is IBM not listed as a public and/or private cloud provider? Do you have agreements with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure that can help us as customers?
A. First, HCL is not providing any public cloud options for mail, apps or connections. Second, the HCL MSPs are providing managed services on a cloud of their choice. Please speak with them directly on their choice of cloud provider. Third, customers are able to host their licenses of Domino, Connections and Sametime in a private cloud instance of their choice, i.e., AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, or whomever.
 
Q. Will HCL run the data extractions tools required for a Connections migration?
A. No, the extraction tools will run directly against the database and therefore must be run by IBM. These tools are still under development by IBM and HCL for use to offboard data. The Import tool will be made available to the MSPs and will be available in Q2 2020.
 
Q. Does this migration timeline hold true for a customer that have large environments (e.g. 5,000 or more users)?
A. Yes. 

Comment wrap
Digital Solutions | November 16, 2020
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