IBM Delivers New Resources to Help Business Partners More Quickly Build and Deploy Industry Vertical Solutions

New Technical Enablement Capabilities Help Speed Application Development and Time-to-Market

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SOMERS, NY - 06 Dec 2004: IBM today announced new virtual resources to help business partners more quickly build and deploy on demand business applications tailored to meet customer requirements across all vertical industries.

The new Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware resources, which are offered as part of IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks initiatives, provides business partners with an online knowledge and enablement portal that helps them gain access to real-time technical resources. As a result, business partners can more easily enable and go to market with customized solutions based on IBM technology that meet customer requirements, industry by industry.

The technical resources are based on Grid and IBM Virtualization Engine technologies through the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware, which enables business partners to access a 'virtual' pool of IBM resources -- including the entire eServer* and TotalStorage* family of products -- 24 hours, 7 days a week over the Internet.

"IBM continues to make strategic investments to ensure the success of our business partners by arming them with new technical resources as part of our broader PartnerWorld Industry Networks initiative," said Scott Hebner, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, ISV & Developer Relations, IBM. "By expanding the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware, IBM is providing our business partners with the widest range of technology offerings to help them better serve their customers across all industries."

Highlights of the new online technical resources include:
18 New 'How-to' Guides for Business Partners -- The new guides provide business partners with step-by-step instructions on how to develop, enable and implement their applications based on IBM technology. These guides are tailored to the technical requirements of each hardware platform and take business partners through the application planning, porting, developing, and testing stages. For example, the new guides can help business partners with the following technical support features:

New Solution Sizing Toolkit Designed to Help Users Identify Hardware Requirements -- The new solution sizing toolkit is comprised of an interactive, Web-based questionnaire that enables end users to determine the optimal system configuration for their applications based on their specific workload. For example, users fill out a questionnaire that details specific information, such as the size of their organization and level of application usage. As a result, the solution sizing tool produces a tailored assessment of the system requirements that are based upon the presented criteria. This Web-based tool can be hosted by IBM, the business partner, or both and supports IBM eServer xSeries, iSeries, pSeries and Linux on POWER.

Virtual Loaner Program Expands to Support AIX, Linux and POWER5 -- The IBM Virtual Loaner Program, based on IBM Virtualization Engine, IBM Tivoli and IBM WebSphere middleware and Grid technologies, has expanded to offer application porting, testing and validation support for AIX 5L(TM) Version 5.3 and SuSE Linux (SLES9) on POWER5(TM) processor technologies. Business partners can now access a wider pool of IBM hardware resources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, over the Internet.

The IBM Virtual Loaner Program provides business partners and developers with a full range of on-demand technologies through a powerful software enablement grid. More than 200 hardware enablement projects have been completed through this initiative since the Virtual Loaner Program's inception six months ago.

"The Virtual Loaner Program provides us with 'easy access' to develop, deploy, and support our AIX-based applications, without requiring hefty, upfront investments in hardware, operating system, and maintenance costs," said Leigh Purdie, Director of InterSect Alliance Pty Ltd. "The benefit is that we are able to test out different application scenarios, accessing multiple system images across a variety of different platforms, without leaving our office parameters."

New Education Resources -- Online courses and tutorials on various IBM technologies are now available, such as Linux on POWER, DB2 Universal Database, Lotus Domino, eServer portfolio, Java, WebSphere, WebSphere Portal and more. The online courses tutorials are designed to help business partners with application development and porting so that they have the skills needed to deliver vertical industry solutions to their customers.

Continued Software Enablement Success at the Virtual Innovation Center
Since its inception in 2003, the IBM Virtual Innovation Center has helped business partners build more than 1,700 new applications on IBM Express middleware and enabled 3,800 Business Partner firms to sell these joint solutions. This resource continues to drive business partner adoption and deployment of IBM Express offerings.

Today's announcement builds upon IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks, an initiative that is aimed to help ISVs develop on demand applications and go to market with IBM across the widest variety of industries. Business partners can take advantage of IBM's industry leading technical resources, and sales and marketing support benefits.

Business partners can access the Virtual Innovation Center at

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