IBM digs deep for iSeries development

Signaling a deepened commitment to its venerable iSeries of servers, IBM has announced plans to increase financial investments in developers dedicated to writing applications for iSeries-based midmarket users.

As part of the IBM eServer iSeries Initiative For Innovation program, the company said it would offer as much as $US50,000 in incremental services to about 2500 application and tools developers to help them more aggressively pursue innovative solutions for the iSeries.

As part of the program, these selected developers will be able to work with IBM's iSeries technologists, where the iSeries, formerly known as the AS/400, was born in the late 1980s.

Big Blue also plans to invest further in five existing and new Innovation Centres spread around the world that will serve to help create a range of On Demand products and technologies for iSeries developers.

The company was also opening the iSeries Developer's Roadmap to hundreds more business partners and tools developers, company officials said. The five technical centers are located in the US and UK, with new centres being established in China, Japan, Italy, France, and Australia.

Explaining its renewed commitment to the mid-range server, general manager of the eServer iSeries, Mark Shearer, said, "We wanted to smash the barriers that stood in our partners' way, no matter what development path they choose, as well as to accelerate their ability to deliver more innovations in the areas of RFID, Web services, portals, and personalisation."

Vormittag Associates (VAI), a software provider for the retail, manufacturing, and distribution industries, has been working with the iSeries technical and marketing teams under the program.

Together with IBM it has created a suite of portlets that present users with different choices for a graphical front end.

VAI's president, Bob Vormittag, said he found that in working with IBM his company was able to better pursue new users.

"In fact, custom cosmetics manufacturer Autumn Harp moved off of its Intel-based systems onto a new iSeries running VAI's System 2000 software to streamline its manufacturing processes and create an on-demand operation," Vormittag said.

As part of the Initiative For Innovation program, IBM unveiled its Application Innovation program, which offers enablement support free of charge to help ISVs strengthen the on-demand capabilities for the iSeries; Tools Innovation program, which involves IBM pushing broader tools solutions giving corporate and third-party developers more opportunities to enhance existing applications; and the iSeries Innovation program that will offer greater access IBM's technical experts in its Rochester-based labs with whom developers can work collaboratively on projects.

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