New IBM eServer BladeCenter "Business-in-a-Box" Simplifies Operations for Small and Medium Businesses

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ARMONK, NY - 17 May 2005: IBM today announced a new integrated blade solution for small and medium businesses (SMB), an offering that could fundamentally change the way on demand business and infrastructure solutions are delivered to the SMB market.

IBM eServer BladeCenter Business Express allows customers to use an affordable approach for creating and deploying powerful solutions that fit their own individual business environments or industries. This new approach helps customers work more effectively with local IBM Business Partners and solution providers to build customized solutions that in most cases can be quickly and easily plugged into an existing technology infrastructure.

"We provide open industry solutions for small and medium-sized businesses to build affordable on demand computing infrastructures," said Elaine Lennox, vice president of small and medium business, IBM Systems & Technology Group. "We have created customized 'business-in-a-box' solutions that combine the industry's best hardware and software for SMB clients to reach new levels of innovation and growth."

One customer already benefiting from this approach is Anaconda Sports, a fast-growing firm of 200 employees based in Kingston, New York. Anaconda Sports is the largest retailer of amateur league sports and school district athletic equipment in the United States. The company has realized a 20 percent increase in sales since installation of its IBM eServer BladeCenter running Express versions of IBM WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Application Server and DB2 Universal Database on Red Hat Linux to power and manage instantaneous e-commerce applications on its e-hosting website.

"Prior to our blade-powered e-hosting site, we were busy answering complaints, handling emergencies, and performing wasteful manual tasks to get orders out," said Rob Meyer, director of internet services, Anaconda Sports. "Now we control our own destiny. Working with IBM and Strategic Computer Solutions (SCS), a premier IBM Business Partner, we now have the tools and bandwidth we need, available on demand."

Working with local business partners, clients can choose from a variety of solutions that are based on IBM Express Middleware, pre-loaded on IBM eServer BladeCenter systems, running Microsoft Windows or Linux. These offerings leverage Solutions Builder Express, a comprehensive set of middleware that makes it easier for IBM Business Partners to work with customers to build, manage and deploy integrated applications, including e-business, business integration, and workplace collaboration software.

BladeCenter Business Express takes the guesswork out of optimizing blade servers and applications solutions. This pre-configured, pre-tested solution can be used to provide a portal interface for teams to create, edit, and share documents in an on-line work area. It comes pre-loaded with IBM Workplace Services Express on an IBM eServer BladeCenter HS20 system. Other software components include Express Runtime, WebSphere Business Integration Server Express and WebSphere Portal Express.

IBM BladeCenter has worldwide market share leadership with 49.5 percent revenue share, according to IDC.* BladeCenter integrates servers, storage, networking and software to create an environment that is reliable, secure and easy to deploy and manage. Also, BladeCenter can alert systems management processors of impending failure hours or even days before failure occurs.

IBM eServer BladeCenter Business Express will be packaged and distributed by leading distributors, such as AVNET. AVNET, working with BladeFusion, an independent software vendor, will integrate BladeFusion's Secure Production Environment into the solution, providing even greater self-healing capability and increased levels of security, scalability and serviceability. In addition, Agilysys has implemented a Profile Management System that allows them to quickly match customer solution needs to value added resellers.

Pricing and Availability
Leasing is available through the IBM Financing Advantage Program, designed specifically for SMBs and Express solutions. Pricing starts at $120 per month for a portal server that can handle 20 users, or $160 per month for a business integration server that can handle up to 1,000 catalog entries. List prices for the solution building blocks will typically range from $4,500 to $9,000 for customers interested in incrementally expanding or growing an existing solution.

The pricing for the total solutions will vary based on configuration and partner promotions and discounts. Customized business partner services such as infrastructure planning, IT simplification and systems management may be augmented if required by IBM Global Services.

This offering will be available in the United States and Canada through AVNET immediately, and from Agilysys starting June 1.