IBM Takes E-mail Archive Bundle To Microsoft Channel

As part of the agreement, Microsoft will recommend the solution to its channel partners and will help match non-IBM solution providers who need help on the solution with IBM-authorized partners, said Larry Heathcote, market strategy manager for IBM's risk and compliance solutions.

Keith Norbie, director of the storage division of Nexus Information Systems, a Plymouth, Minn.-based solution provider, said the bundle is a great marketing theory, but he expects it will lead to few sales by Microsoft.

Part of the problem is that IBM's e-mail archiving solution is almost non-existent on the market, Norbie said. "It's not even on the radar screen," he said. "The only folks that will cut a P.O. for it will be Blue shops."

Symantec, CommVault, Legato and Hewlett Packard are among a wide range of vendors with e-mail archiving solutions already on the market, Norbie said. "It's a pretty big niche," he said.

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On the other hand, Rob Didlake, president and owner of Dataedge Solutions, a Wichita, Kansas-based solution provider, said he likes bundled solutions. "If something is bundled, it's easier for a reseller to present," he said. "I like the appliance approach."

The bundle consists of a couple of IBM software applications, including the company's CommonStore eMail Archiving software to manage and search e-mail archives, Heathcote said.

As part of the bundle, CommonStore has been upgraded with the ability to search across all the mailboxes in an entire e-mail archive. "The e-mail mailboxes are protected from unauthorized access, but a super-user has the authority to search across the entire archive," he said.

Also included is IBM Content Manager, which manages the e-mail repository, and Tivoli Storage Manager to interface with the required storage, Heathcote said.

Hardwarewise, IBM is including its System Storage DS4200 Express array, which can be configured from 4 Tbytes to 56 Tbytes of SATA drives.

This is all being tied to the company's LS21 BladeCenter server blades based on AMD processors and Microsoft's Windows Server operating system. That solution was unveiled in August.

In addition to bringing the solution through IBM's solution providers, Microsoft will also be reference selling it to its channel partners, Heathcote said. "We see the first sales coming from partners who know both Microsoft and IBM," he said. "But over time, we expect partnering between Microsoft partners and IBM partners. And over time, we plan to roll out training to enable partners to install and implement the solution."

The new solution, which is targeted at customers with 500 or more users, is expected to start shipping early next year. Starting list price is about $53,000, with 4 Tbytes of capacity. The optional e-mail search function will be available for an additional $2,000.