New SMB Tools Hit IBM AlphaWorks Site

The four new tools--VitalFile for Simplified Document Retention, VitalFile Real-Time Workstation Backup, Industry Process Accelerator for Business Intelligence and Framework for Application Data and Sources--are available on IBM's alphaWorks site at

The AlphaWorks site gives developers an opportunity to try out emerging technologies and, at the same time, provide feedback to IBM about how they can be used in future products.

VitalFile for Simplified Document Retention enables SMBs to set version and retention information on documents that need to be stored within a set period of time to comply with government regulations, said Kami Snyder, product management for Tivoli storage at IBM, the group that created the technology.

"The technology absolutely will not allow that file to be changed or deleted for the period of time set," Snyder said.

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In a similar vein, VitalFile Real-Time Workstation Backup allows SMBs to back up data on local workstations to another directory every time an employee hits save on his or her local machine, Snyder said. This prevents the accidental deletion of important files, she said. Solution providers can use both VitalFile tools when implementing storage solutions for SMB customers that are concerned with easily retaining important company data.

While SMBs don't have the compliance woes of larger companies grappling with far-reaching regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, they still must deal with local and state regulations that require them to save company and employee information, Snyder said. Both VitalFile tools can help them easily save required data to comply with laws that govern their particular businesses.

The other two new tools on alphaWorks, Industry Process Accelerator for Business Intelligence and Framework for Application Data and Sources, are part of IBM's Solution Builder Express program. The program helps partners build solutions on IBM's Express line of SMB middleware, said John Medicke, the IBM Software Group's chief architect for SMB solutions.

The business intelligence tool gives solution providers a set of templates and wizards that allow them to easily model and create business intelligence data marts, Medicke said. It also complements existing tools in IBM's DB2 Data Warehouse Edition.

Framework for Application Data and Sources, meanwhile, allows IBM Business Partners to create software simulators more quickly and easily so data can exist not only in multiple formats but also be delivered both ways across multiple data sources, Medicke said.

"Say you want to integrate an e-commerce solution with a back-end ERP system," he said. "Instead of having direct access to the ERP system, you can simulate the interface of that and rapidly build out the business process solution to your customers."

The tool is designed to work in conjunction with IBM WebSphere Business Integration Server Express, Medicke added.

So far, IBM, Armonk, N.Y., has no concrete plans to include any of the new tools in future versions of products but is hoping developer feedback will help them decide where the technologies will end up.