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IBM Expands ISV Enablement Push Using Grid Technology

Grid Technology Provides Virtual Access to ISVs, Speed Deployment of Solutions Built on IBM Technology

SOMERS, N.Y. - 27 May 2004: IBM today unveiled a new program that enables developers serving mid-size customers, for the first time, to virtually access both IBM hardware and software resources, on demand, to build, sell and deploy their solutions. IBM also added new technical and educational resources to its Application Enablement Program, designed to help Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) of all sizes pursue and adopt alternative customer delivery models such as application hosting and software-as-a-service.

Based on new Grid and IBM On Demand technologies, the IBM Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware significantly improves IBM's ability to serve small and medium size software developers by granting equal access to a full range of on-demand technologies. Leveraging a powerful, first of its kind software enablement Grid that uses IBM Virtualization Engine, IBM Tivoli, IBM WebSphere and Grid technologies, ISVs can access a 'virtual' pool of IBM resources - starting with the IBM eServer pSeries servers running AIX operating system using TotalStorage- 24 by 7 over the Internet.

Today's launch adds a new component to the IBM Virtual Innovation Center, an online knowledge portal to help Business Partners build and deploy solutions based on IBM Express offerings for mid-size companies. These enablement programs are part of IBM Small and Medium Business Advantage, a broad $500 million initiative to help the company's 90,000 Business Partners effectively serve the growing small and medium business (SMB) technology marketplace. In addition to simplifying the experience of partnering with IBM, these programs complement existing ISV initiatives, such as ISV Advantage for SMB and PartnerWorld Industry Networks, to help partners build and sell industry-specific, on demand solutions.

Increasing Access to Technologies

The new IBM Virtual Loaner Program, one of the key offerings of the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware, enables ISVs to remotely access IBM technologies through a secure web portal. IBM Business Partners can access this program by joining Partnerworld, IBM's global partner enablement program, and visiting http://www.ibm/partnerworld.isv.

By logging on to the IBM Virtual Loaner Program software developers can self-schedule access to one or more IBM virtual servers for up to 14 days. Logical partitions are then automatically configured and provisioned and provided to the ISV with full access in as little as two hours. Once the system environment is configured, ISVs can access the systems as needed during multiple log-in sessions. The user-friendly remote system has the unique ability to capture and store an ISV's system environment so that ISVs can revisit the site for testing days, weeks or even months later. In addition, ISVs can instantly expand their system capacity with the click of a mouse.

By making these resources available virtually over the Grid, rather than configuring and physically shipping hardware and software for every individual ISV, IBM expects to significantly expand the number of ISVs it can assist, provide improved access to the most up to date versions of IBM hardware and software, and broaden the range of software applications available on the IBM eServer platform. In addition, this program saves ISVs the time and money to acquire and install physical systems for testing.

"The ability to provide software developers with on demand access to a full range of IBM hardware and software to port, test, and validate their applications transforms the solutions enablement process," said Buell Duncan, general manager, IBM ISV and Developer Relations. "We believe the IBM Virtual Loaner program has the capacity to triple the number of ISVs users and significantly speed the application development process to ultimately help our partners deliver a wider set of solutions for SMB customers."

Other new resources available at the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware include a Sizing Guide tool and the Linux Test Drive program. The Sizing Guide delivers an automated Web-based system sizing estimate on IBM eServer hardware based on a front end questionnaire that captures workload capacity information. This tool is particularly helpful for smaller ISVs who lack the time and resources to develop their own complex sizing programs. The Linux Test Drive program, which is administered over the Grid, enables ISVs to remotely configure and test their applications on Linux. In addition to these resources, the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware program provides ongoing technical support and access to intellectual capital and education.

Bynari Inc, a leading developer of mail messaging solutions based in Dallas, Texas, had the opportunity to leverage the Virtual Loaner program to port and test their Linux-based e-mail server to the IBM eServer pSeries platform. "It has never been easier to port applications to IBM hardware, than it is now, thanks to the new resources at the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware," said Hyun Kim, President, Bynari Inc. "By accessing the Virtual Loaner Program, we have the flexibility to tap into the latest IBM hardware and software technologies, whenever we need, to jumpstart our development activities. In the end, this type of support helps speed the development process - and is one of the many benefits that we enjoy from partnering with IBM."

Exploring New Delivery Models
IBM today announced that an expansion to the Application Enablement Program (AEP) to include new technical and educational resources. Addressing the growing trend toward software as a service, the Application Enablement Program will continue to help ISVs take advantage of IBM's flexible hosting capabilities.

The enhanced program will expand support for ISVs to assess, enable and migrate their applications to IBM data centers. New hosting tools and technical case studies will be available for ISVs to determine the viability of the software-as-a-service model. In addition, workshops will be offered to help ISVs reduce the development time to support the implementation of an application hosting strategy. Joint marketing and planning activities will continue to be supported.

Since the beginning of the year, 15 new ISVs have joined the Application Enablement Program, a 50 percent increase from last year. Last year, IBM signed over 30 leading ISVs to the program and is committed to more than doubling that number in 2004.

"We see growing demand for software as a service because most small and medium sized customers don't have big budgets for IT equipment and staff, and would rather focus their resources on winning more customers and creating new products," said Dan Watson, co-founder of eOneGroup. "The new resources in the program will help us to move to an application hosting model to generate greater business value for our customers, and in turn greater opportunity for our company."

Building New Solutions for SMB Customers
The IBM Virtual Innovation Center (VIC) continues to drive Business Partner adoption and deployment of IBM Express offerings, a broad portfolio of products uniquely designed and priced for mid-size companies. Since its inception in 2003, the Virtual Innovation Center has helped ISVs build more than 700 new applications on IBM Express middleware and enabled 2,600 Business Partners to sell these joint solutions.

As part of the IBM Innovation Center initiative, a world-class program comprised of both virtual and on-site resources for Business Partner recruitment, enablement and demand generation activities supporting IBM technology, the Virtual Innovation Center offers comprehensive web-based sales and technical training resources such as interactive mentoring and real-time deployment tutorials. Today, more than 40 web-based education courses detail the technical implementation of Express offerings, supported by dozens of sales education and proposal development courses. New programs will be expanded this year to support the porting of additional applications.

Contact(s) information

Pasha Ray
IBM Media Relations
(646) 598-3652
bipasha@us.ibm.com

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