IBM Targets Mobile Computing, Social Networking With App Development Server

The IBM XWork Server, slated for availability this week, is an extension of the company's Lotus Domino Server line. But while the Domino Utility Server is targeted toward the enterprise market at $20,000 per processor, the XWork Server has a $2,000 fixed price per install, with no per-processor or per-user costs.

"This is really a chance to get out to a more price-sensitive market," said Ed Brill, IBM director of messaging and collaboration, in an interview. "This is a market expansion play."

It's also primarily a channel play, Brill said, as IBM expects more XWork Server sales to be through the channel. Solution providers have been looking for a low-cost alternative to Microsoft's .NET platform and the open-source LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) combination.

IBM channel partners can white-label the XWork Server for the server layer for XPages applications, Brill said.

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XPages is IBM's rapid web and mobile application development toolset. "XPages has been very successful," Brill said. We have thousands of developer [partners] building XPages applications."

IBM envisions ISVs and solution providers using the XWork Server to develop social networking, as well as workflow and business process management applications that can be accessed through a browser, a mobile browser or a Lotus Notes client. XWork Server will give those applications a rich-client, Web 2.0 feel, according to IBM.

A business, for example, could use the new server to build a mobile client application for employees that ties into the company's vacation scheduling system, Brill said.

"The IBM XWork Server allows us to offer our IdeaJam and IQJam products to a much broader base of organizations at a price point that is extremely competitive," said Elguji Software president and CEO Gayle Elgort in a statement. "Prior to having the XWork Server, it was much more difficult to sell our solutions to customers who were not invested in Lotus Domino. The XWork Server is exactly what Elguji needs to grow our social business offerings."