IBM Takes On Microsoft With WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli Products


IBM said the new offerings are aimed at providing more rapid development of telecommunications applications and services. The IBM products come after Microsoft last month stepped onto the VoIP stage with a glitzy rollout of its unified communications portfolio that had Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates predicting the demise of the traditional PBX.

The new IBM products or enhancements include IBM WebSphere XML Document Management Server (XDMS), which manages XML documents of any type; IBM WebSphere Telecom Web Services Server, a gateway to access personalized offerings like location-based services, presence, call control and messaging; IBM Rational Performance Tester Extension for SIP for testing of SIP-based applications; and IBM Tivoli Netcool aimed at providing end-to-end management of next generation services utilizing SOA and service delivery platform (SDP) technologies.

"We are getting more demand for the IBM unified communciaitons implementation than the Microsoft implementations," said Chris Miller, director of messaging and collaboration for St. Louis Miss. based Connectria, an IBM premier and Microsoft Gold partner. "IBM offers more vendor support and integration points than Microsoft does right now."

"IBM is on the leading edge with some of the changes they are making right now to the middleware infrastructure," added Miller. "They are changing the landscape on how we are going to integrate into all the IBM messaging systems. We have a whole slew of hosting pieces we are going to put together to support all of these new (IBM) offerings. This is going to significantly reduce the startup and management costs for implementing unified communications with the IBM infrastructure."

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Chris Poer, vice president of marketing and sales for Billerica, Mass. based Iperia, the maker of the IperiaVX services creation platform, agreed. He said IBM's middleware software is helping Iperia dramatically reduce development time for creating telecommunications applications for customers.

Poer said IperiaVX combined with IBM middleware has reduced the time it takes to create some service provider applications from definition to implementation from what was once five years to five to seven months. "The development of the actual application is no longer the long pole in the tent," said Poer. "It no longer defines the length of the process."

IBM also announced that it has put in place a new teaming agreement under which telecommunications giant ATandT has agreed to adopt the new software foundation. The two companies inked the teaming agreement in early 2006 and have justed completed an 18-month development cycle and certification.

IBM said ATandT is using WebSphere Application Server and IBM BladeCenter systems as a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) service logic execution environment platform to develop mission-critical services for deployment on ATandT's IP-based network.