IBM Preps Linux Package for Mid-sized Businesses

Seeking to fill what it perceives as a gap in the marketplace, IBM Thursday rolled out a new Linux package
for developers of the open-source operating system at its DeveloperWorks
Live! 2003
show in New Orleans.

IBM Integrated Platform Express (code-named “Blue Ice”), a combination of the Armonk, N.Y. firm’s hardware
servers and application server and database software, is intended to lure
Big Blue’s resellers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to use it to
write Linux applications that they may sell to their own customers in the
mid-sized market. They may also simply test new applications with it.

The SMB market segment is one some research firms believe is particularly
hungry for Linux: Gartner estimates some 45 percent of mid-sized businesses
are using or experimenting with Linux. This makes sense because Linux is
universally viewed as a cost-effective OS and SMBs are typically constrained
by small budgets. Still, Microsoft’s Windows OS remains the entrenched brand
despite frequent attempts by Linux evangelists to hold sway over developers
and companies.

The package is designed to help IBM partners to write business applications
for such fields as e-commerce and customer relationship management to an
integrated hardware and software product that includes IBM’s Intel-based
servers and IBM’s Express software.

Integrated Platform Express includes WebSphere Application Server – Express,
DB2 – Express and the IBM eServer x225, x235 or x345 systems, as well as
disk storage. WebSphere – Express is designed for building Web sites and
supports Linux, Java and XML. DB2 – Express is new database software with
low per user pricing for the mid-market that can be pre-packaged with
Partner applications. IBM eServer x225, x235 and x345 systems and
correlative storage is geared to meet the needs of cost-concerned SMBs.

Along with the new package, IBM will be spreading its Linux message to the
fullest for the masses at DeveloperWorks Live! 2003 Thursday, citing data
from research group Evans Data that “developers are starting to use Linux
instead of Windows as their development environment of choice.” Reliability
and low cost, Evans Data said, are the main factors.

Scott Handy, director, Linux Solution, IBM Software Group, said more than
44,000 ISV and corporate developers have created about 6500 Linux
applications that run on IBM WebSphere, DB2, Lotus and Tivoli software.
Handy and fellow IBM representatives plan to show how Linux is gaining
momentum in the SMB market — and elsewhere.

The IBM Integrated Platform Express will be available June 27, with a
suggested retail price of under $4,000.

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