Update: IBM adds portal view to Rational line

Company leverages the Jazz platform and Telelogic technology in a multiproduct rollout

IBM Rational will refresh its Rational software and product lifecycle management product line Thursday, adding a portal tool and leveraging the company's Jazz platform and Telelogic portfolio.

The product rollout is intended to address customers' evolving product development needs, said Greg Sikes, director of architecture and modeling at IBM Rational. "A lot of these products that they sell ultimately become more and more complicated because they're involving the integration of physical hardware systems with software," Sikes said. Systems are being integrated onto devices such as phones or even cars, he said.

[ Also in the ALM space this week, Micro Focus agreed to buy Borland. ]

New in the rollout is a Team Webtop 1.0, a mashup server serving as a portal into an integrated environment. This environment could include disciplines like requirements, testing, and model-driven engineering. Users get a composite view into tool repositories, such as Rational Doors and IBM Rational Change. Based on the company's Jazz ALM ecosystem and leveraging technology from Telelogic, Team Webtop provides a window into previously siloed environments, Sikes said. This enables users to understand impacts of changes.

"If you make a change in requirements, you'd like to know what the downstream implications are of that change," said Sikes. Impact analysis is provided.

Also part of the rollout is the Doors 9.2 requirements management package. A former Telelogic product, it provides Web-based information and collaboration capabilities.

Version 5.2 of IBM Rational Change, meanwhile, simplifies complex processes to manage change. Changes are managed through a central change server. Another product upgrade, IBM Rational Team Concert 2.0, has been integrated with Doors. It features improved security and new platform support. Team Concert is built on Jazz.

"What you're seeing us begin to do is move toward an environment of collaboration of  information among people and processes and then begin to plug part of the specific disciplines that our customers use to design and build product into this collaborative environment," said Sikes.

An upgrade to Rhapsody, IBM Rational's model-driven system and software development tool, improves simulation of complex systems. The upgrade is labeled as version 7.5.

With version 7.1 of the Synergy software configuration management tool, IBM is looking to help customers maintain different configurations of software components of products they design. It is better tuned for enterprise performance and integrates with a central repository, IBM said.

IBM with the rollout is leveraging Telelogic strengths in spaces such as embedded systems, analysts said "Software is being used inside products, real world products, as in firmware within the embedded world," said Bola Rotibi, principal analyst at MWD.

"Telelogic brings more of that capability inside of the Rational world," she said.

"The announcement indicates an emphasis of where IBM Rational Telelogic products are targeted and identifies an area that is growing in importance: software systems embedded in products," said analyst Michael Azoff, senior research analyst at Butler Group. "Given the increasing reliance on software in products, and making them smarter as IBM puts it, there is a need to effectively manage software rich systems engineering.

Team Webtop is available on Thursday while the product upgrades ship on June 2.

This story was updated on May 7, 2009

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.