IBMs Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware is a portal for IBM business partners where they can receive assistance building, porting and deploying solutions. In addition to the new guides and sizing kit, IBM also has expanded its Virtual Loaner Program to support AIX, Linux and Power5. The program supports application porting, testing and validation support for AIX 5L Version 5.3 and SuSE Linux (SLES9) on Power5, said Adam Tumas, program manager for the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware.
The Virtual Loaner Program "provides free on-demand access to IBM eServer, and were adding Power5 to that," Tumas said.
Business partners also will have access to IBMs TotalStorage family of products over the Internet, the company said. "This is a unique way of bringing equipment to users; its based on grid technology," Tumas said.
"The Virtual Innovation Center has been pretty helpful for us," said Paul Chan, vice president of marketing at PureEdge Solutions Inc., in Victoria, British Columbia, an IBM partner. "Its pretty practical for us to get confirmation of our solutions on IBM hardware and software. We can get virtual access to a machine through the loaner program for a certain number of days so we can do testing."
Louis Lu, vice president of engineering at IBM partner Bristol Technology Inc., in Danbury, Conn., said: "We make heavy use of IBMs Innovation Center in Waltham [Mass.]—both live and remotely—with very valuable results. This has allowed us to successfully deploy large production installations of TransactionVision, our transaction tracking software, at customer sites such as Deutsche Telekom. We also find that the technical staff are top-notch and provide valuable tuning and configuration support for their hardware and software."
Meanwhile, IBM has released 18 new "how-to" guides, which provide instructions on how to develop and deploy applications using IBM middleware and technology, the company said.
"These are step-by-step how-to guides to make it easier for our partners to develop applications," Tumas said. "We started with four things: how to write and enable applications for the Power5; Linux on Power; the iSeries, for AS/400 application modernization; and BladeCenter server."
Essentially, the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware provides "access to hardware, access to software and tools, configuration support, and development support," Tumas said.
The new solution sizing toolkit features a Web-based questionnaire for users to fill out to figure what the best configuration would be for their application workload, the company said.
The solution sizing toolkit features a development toolkit that IBM ISV partners can download to fill out the questionnaire. Once the input is analyzed, the ISV receives a system sizing estimate. "So the ISV does not have to become IBM hardware experts," Tumas said.
Scott Hebner, vice president of strategy for IBM ISV and developer relations, said Mondays announcements represent "a significant set of capabilities to help ISVs and enable them on our technologies through a host of virtual resources."
Editors Note: This story was updated to include information and comments from IBM partners.