IBM Lotus Extends Foundations Appliance Line For Resellers

IBM Lotus, at its annual Lotusphere conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, also unveiled an initiative with Red Hat designed to help channel partners migrate customers from Microsoft desktop software to Linux-based desktops running Lotus applications.

Foundations, launched at last year's Lotusphere conference, is a line of hardware/software appliances sold exclusively through the channel. Designed to compete with Microsoft Small Business Server, the packages include e-mail, file sharing, backup and recovery, and other applications. The product line was developed by Net Integration Technologies, which IBM acquired last year.

The Foundations line targets companies with between five and 500 employees. The new Lotus Foundations Branch Office product gives Lotus channel partners the opportunity to sell Foundations appliances to businesses with remote offices that lack on-site IT support. Foundations Branch Office helps companies manage IT systems and data in remote offices.

Lotus also unveiled IBM Lotus Foundations Start 1.1, a new release of the software component of the product line, which lets businesses run Microsoft Windows applications within a Foundations environment. IBM also said it's working with Xerox to link Foundations appliances with Xerox multifunction printers to help resellers better support customers.

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The Linux migration initiative is built around a package of software tools, including Red Hat's total cost-of-ownership calculator, a diagnostic kit and a best practices guide. IBM and Red Hat technical experts will provide support for solution providers' efforts and qualifying business partners in North America can apply to Red Hat for reimbursement for the professional and implementation services they provide to customers.