09 November 2004

IBM expands its drive to support SMEs

IBM last month expanded its range of Express products for SMEs, with around 40 software, server and storage products, as well as service additions, all now with the on-demand, simplified management, high resilience and appropriate financing deals. Brian Tinham reports

IBM last month expanded its range of Express products for SMEs, with around 40 software, server and storage products, as well as service additions, all now with the on-demand, simplified management, high resilience and appropriate financing deals.

According to Julian David, vice president of IBM’s SME business, the focus is on enabling businesses to compete with the best by optimising systems and systems management, as well as improving security and continuity while reducing risk.

“Mid market manufacturers don’t want cut price versions of big corporate systems. They want systems repackaged to be easy to use, install and run. They also want to look at total cost of ownership and tactical support.

“For example, you’ve got to build in features so that one server can be the only server a company needs. So in our Power5 high performance Express servers, we’ve now built in autonomics, diagnostics, self help, integration and security.”

That’s for the entire range: eServer iSeries (AS/400 for business applications), the z series (mainframe 390 etc) and p series (formerly RS6000 Unix). “And they run with Unix, Windows and Linux, as well as OS/400 in the iSeries,” adds David.

He also claims lower prices than Sun and HP, with configurations and offers geared to fit mid-sized businesses’ budgets, and the option of on-demand grid computing using IBM’s virtualisation technology.

On the subject of grid, he says: “We think that sharing is increasingly viable. We’re not proposing one size fits all. Companies need scaleable, variable flexible but also reliable services.

“So we’re saying, first, look to consolidate where you can and use virtualisation to enable that. Second, look at the flexibility of, for example, Blade technology that lets you configure very flexible power in a single server by adding modules. But third, get into grid computing – harness the resources that aren’t being used.

“With virtualisation, you can have accounts running on the system alongside specialist engineering design applications on Linux and plant/factory operations on OS/400 – offering infinitely variable compute resources.”

Beyond grid and the Power5 range, IBM’s Express additions also now include IBM Maintenance ServicePacs, at the moment for retail, and the ThinkCentre A50 – the smallest desktop PC from IBM.

“We’ve now got 100 Express offerings ... and services too are being packaged into the Express model,” says David. “With over a quarter of our EMEA revenue coming from the SMB market, IBM is accelerating its drive to support the mid market community with tailored offerings.”

Author
Brian Tinham

Supporting Information

Companies
IBM (UK) Ltd

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