IBM Preps Integrated Hardware/Software Systems, Launch Date Set

IBM is gearing up to unveil a new line of IT systems that combine hardware and software in preintegrated configurations that promise high levels of scalability and performance.

But the company isn't saying much more than that about the products, which are slated to debut in an April 11 event.

IBM will launch the "new family of expert integrated systems" in events scheduled for April 11 in New York, London, Sao Paulo, Mumbai and Beijing, said Rod Adkins, senior vice president of the IBM Systems and Technology Group, at the IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in New Orleans Tuesday.

The new systems will offer "true integration -- not packaging, but true integration by design," Adkins said, and will provide high levels of performance and scalability, and lower cost of operations.

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But in his speech, and in an interview later Tuesday, Adkins declined to say more about the new products. Other IBM executives alluded to the coming announcement in speeches and interviews throughout the day but did not divulge any additional details.

Adkins did say that prelaunch training would be available for partners, indicating that the channel will play a role in selling the new systems.

Selling more complete, higher-value systems that combine IBM hardware and software has been the overriding theme at the PartnerWorld conference. Tuesday IBM rolled out financial incentives for reseller partners to develop and sell such integrated systems.

IBM may be responding to competition from Oracle, which has been selling what it calls "engineered systems" that combine Sun Microsystems servers with Oracle middleware and database software. Oracle argues that such complete hardware/software systems, such as its Oracle Exadata Database Machine, offer better efficiency and performance than systems cobbled together by IT departments.