IBM Express Offerings Give Enterprise Functionality To SMBs

The first offering, IBM eServer OpenPower Network E-Mail Security Express, is an appliance that gives existing networks new e-mail antivirus and antispam capabilities, said Elaine Case, director of offerings portfolio and influencer marketing at IBM, Armonk, N.Y.

The company also introduced the IBM Express Managed Security Services for e-mail security, which provides the same functions as the e-mail security appliance but as a managed service, Case said.

The appliance can be leased starting at $144 per month. For customers who prefer e-mail security as a managed service, the price ranges from $1 to $4.25 per seat per month, depending on the number of seats, she said.

Also new is the IBM Express Implementation Services for Storage Consolidation, under which IBM offers midrange customers deploying their first SAN help with assessment, setup, migrating data, optimizing performance and training, for a fixed price of $8,500, Case said.

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IBM also unveiled the IBM Express Desktop Management Services, aimed at offering a set of services to companies with a large number of desktop PCs, for $8 to $10 per PC per month, she said.

For these services, solution providers can participate on a fee-for-lead basis and sign a closed contract with the customer, Case said.

David Browning, executive vice president of Advanced Systems Group, Irvine, Calif., said the new services let IBM expand the horizons of its channel partners beyond their typical tangible product sales.

IBM's flexible channel offerings will make it easier for solution providers to provide customers with the new services, Browning said. "I'm going to tell our sales reps to go out and start offering the services," he added.

IBM is also moving to combine its WebSphere Express software with blade servers. The IBM eServer BladeCenter Business Express offerings include preloaded, preconfigured WebSphere Express software on IBM BladeCenter servers, said Elaine Lennox, vice president of SMB for IBM servers and storage. IBM distributors will integrate the middleware and hardware for their VAR partners, who in turn can sell them to customers, she said.

The BladeCenter Business Express solutions are available immediately from distributor Avnet and will be available through Agilysys on June 1, Lennox said. Other distributors will come online next quarter, she said.

IBM also is enabling partners to customize the BladeCenter Business Express offerings through its Built On Express program. After certifying that their applications are compatible with IBM Express software, solution providers can add a "Built On Express" logo and distributors can integrate the software with existing BladeCenter Business Express solutions, Lennox said. IBM initially plans to offer four SMB configurations, including basic Web infrastructure, supply chain integration, portals for information exchange and communication, and realtime communications such as instant messaging and document exchange.

Customers can expect to pay between $4,500 and $9,000 for each building-block blade server, and leasing costs per server start at $120 per month.

Avnet Partner Solutions is working with several ISVs to add preintegrated vertical applications to IBM's blades, said Scott Abbott, vice president of business development at Avnet, Tempe, Ariz. These include insurance and retail applications such as claims adjudication software, as well as high-availability and security applications, he said, adding that integration will be done at Avnet's facility.

SCOTT CAMPBELL contributed to this story.