IBM reveals Content Manager Express

Big Blue fills in Express line for SMBs

NEW ORELANS -- IBM deepened its commitment to small and medium-size companies (SMBs) on Tuesday, formally announcing at its PartnerWorld conference here a new line of middleware products that will help them better integrate and manage a range of business processes.

The new Express versions of DB2, Tivoli, and Notes, which join WebSphere Express announced last year, will be aimed largely at mid-size companies to help them integrate operations as diverse as supply chain, finance, accounting, and customer relationship.

IBM plans to deliver an Express version of its Content Management Server later this year, according to sources close to the company. That version will work hand in hand with the Express versions of DB2 to form an integrated infrastructure for accessing and managing data, sources said.

The new Express line contains a number of autonomic capabilities, including self-configuring and self-healing that help smaller companies lower costs and improve the administration, making the products a consistent fit into Big Blue's larger On Demand computing initiative, company officials claimed.

"We think it is these autonomic capabilities that will allow IT managers to focus more on business issues than having to think about managing the system itself," said Mark Ouelette, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM's vice president of SMB software sales and marketing.

DB2 Express, which will have an entry price of under $1,000 and is due to ship in June, is optimized to handle either one and two-way servers. If users want to run a server with more processors they have to move up to the workgroup version of DB2, said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM's data management group.

DB2 Express, which can be installed with a single click, contains a number of manageability features through self-tuning and self-configuring capabilities intended to lower the product's total cost of ownership. Business partners can embed DB2 Express in their product, allowing users to carry out a silent install.

The IBM Tivoli Storage Resource Manager Express Edition, expected to ship in the second quarter, is designed to enable SMBs to manage storage environments and is intended to be deployed on single-processor desktop systems. Designed to work on both Windows and Linux, the product can typically be installed in less than 15 minutes.

The Lotus Domino Utility Server Express and Domino Collaboration Bundle Express, also slated to be available in this year's second quarter, combines Lotus Domino Server and the choice of Notes client or Lotus Domino Web Access (iNotes) for e-mail and collaboration.

Lotus Domino Utility Server Express allows access to collaborative applications through either a Web browser or a Notes client that has to be purchased separately.

Confirming IBM's belief in the lavish promise of the SMB market, researcher IDC in a recent report said that 54 percent of IT spending among North American IT shops now comes from small and medium-size companies.

IBM also announced its Passport Advantage Express, which company officials believe will make it easier for SMBs to acquire the Express products. The plan features a one-license model, a perpetual license that includes 12 months of maintenance and transaction-based renewals, a software maintenance renewal on the anniversary date of each purchase, and simpler licensing terms requiring no contracts or signatures.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

How to choose a low-code development platform