IBM Aids SMB Development with BladeCenter Express Package

To allow small and midsize businesses to accelerate application development and delivery, IBM plans to release a slimmed-down Express product called BladeCenter Express Runtime.

IBM is simplifying integration and adding context to unstructured data buried deep within IT architectures in an effort to improve information management for SMBs.

To allow small and midsize businesses to accelerate application development and delivery, the Armonk, N.Y., company plans to release before the end of the quarter a slimmed-down Express product tentatively called BladeCenter Express Runtime, according to officials.

The BladeCenter Express Runtime package will feature an eServer BladeCenter system, a DB2 Universal Database, WebSphere business intelligence software, and Tivoli and Lotus products. IBM channel partners can configure and tailor the bundle to meet customer on-demand deployment needs, said Janet Perna, general manager, data management solutions.

"I think for all businesses, integration is a big issue, and it may even be more important if youre a small organization because you have fewer people to search for information [and] you have fewer people to hand-code and integrate information," said Perna.

"What we want to do is take [BladeCenter Express Runtime] into the SMB market for the ISVs who write applications for SMBs and give them an attractive package and price point, with the whole idea to get them up and running faster for their applications," said Perna.

Last week, Perna introduced WebSphere Data Integration Suite as the next component of IBMs integration product road map.

Currently in beta and slated for release later this year, WebSphere Data Integration Suite was formerly code-named Hawk by Ascential Software Corp. IBM last week finalized its acquisition of Ascential, of Westboro, Mass., for $1.1 billion.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about IBMs Ascential acquisition.

Perna said IBM has modified the suite to let less skilled users take advantage of its data-cleaning and data-transformation capabilities.

Running an IT environment featuring both IBM and Ascential products, Bolmar Carrasquilla, system architect for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, in New York, said he is interested to see how IBM plans to marry its technology with Ascentials DataStage ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) tool, which he currently deploys.

"We want to see how IBM integrates each [technology] within their application server. Thats what were waiting for," Carrasquilla said.

"[Our understanding is that] it will allow us to reuse the objects we create within DataStage for online applications" and move them into WebSphere to take advantage of Web services and have greater extensibility, Carrasquilla said.

"Thats a real indication that IBM will follow through with the plans that Ascential originally had," Carrasquilla added.

A major part of ASCAPs drastic infrastructure overhaul is its online component, which features two sets of business rules, one within Java and one within DataStage. Java is used for user-facing purposes, while DataStage performs back-end operations.

ASCAPs membership includes more than 175,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The organization protects the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the nondramatic public performance of copyrighted works.

Uniting its DB2 Records Manager and WebSphere Information Integrator technologies, IBM last week introduced its Federated Records Management software.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead a review of DB2 8.2 here.

Available now, the product is designed to define life-cycle characteristics around any piece of content regardless of where it exists within an enterprise. That includes content within repositories from vendors such as FileNet Corp., Open Text Corp. and EMC Corp.

"Most companies, just like they have multiple and heterogeneous database environments, have heterogeneous content environments," Perna said.

"This provides them with the simplicity of managing their records and defining associated retention rules [with] regulations," said Perna.

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