IBM is aiming at the rapidly growing small and medium-sized business (SMB) market with a range of infrastructure software packages in its 'Express' range.
The software, to be released in the next quarter, and announced today at IBM Partnerworld 2003 in New Orleans, covers the DB2 database, Tivoli network management and Lotus end-user software.
It also includes an upgrade for WebSphere Express, which was first released last autumn.
"The SMB market is over half the total IT market and growing more rapidly than the large business sector," said Dani Schaepen, distribution channel management marketing executive, IBM software group EMEA.
Schaepen told vnunet.com: "The requirements are different so the guys on the development side had a list of criteria in order to be accepted."
New elements for the SMB market include ease of installation, low price and ease of support.
IBM DB2 Express will be full-function but with an entry price below $1,000 (£627). Schaepen said the company was working with resellers to pre-configure vertical market software using the database.
Embedding the database in this way would hide its complexities and make installation much simpler, she said. DB2 Express will run on Linux and Windows.
"Smaller companies do have an interest in products like WebSphere and Tivoli but are not able to justify the cost," said Nick Patching, sales manager at IBM reseller GSA Morse. "This gives them the flexibility."
He added that the company knew that the SMB market was now the place to be, as there were more opportunities to go round.
Details of the other packages include:
Tivoli Storage Resource Manager Express Edition, which will manage storage environments from a Windows desktop. Self-healing features assist capacity utilisation and simplify administration, and IBM claims that it can be installed in 15 minutes.
Lotus Domino Utility Server Express, which combines Lotus Domino Server with either Lotus Notes or Lotus Domino Web Access (iNotes) clients for email and collaborative applications.
Lotus Domino Collaboration Bundle Express, which provides messaging, group calendars and application support. The Lotus products will have low-price licensing and deployment options limited to under 1,000 employees.
Later this week an upgraded WebSphere Application Server Express and WebSphere Portal Express will add support for IBM iSeries hardware.
WebSphere Application Server Express has supported Windows and Linux since last autumn, but Portal Express will have support for Linux and Microsoft SQL Server from next quarter.
Support by both for the IBM AIX, Sun Solaris and HP-UX Unix flavours is promised by summer.
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