IBM to unveil Tivoli Express mid-March

IBM's Tivoli unit is to debut its Express family of systems management products aimed at SMBs in mid-March, according to information on the company's Web site.

IBM's Tivoli Software unit will unveil its Express family of systems management products aimed at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in mid-March.

Al Zollar, IBM's general manager for Tivoli Software, is to unveil Tivoli Express at the company's PartnerWorld 2006 show due to take place in Las Vegas March 12-15, according to a note posted on the IBM site.

An IBM Web page that has been taken offline listed six Tivoli Express products that Zollar is apparently set to talk about: Tivoli Identity Manager Express, Tivoli Monitoring Express, Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM) Express for Inventory, Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM) Express for Software Distribution, Tivoli Storage Manager Express version 5.3 and Tivoli Continuous Data Protection (CDP) for Files.

An IBM representative would not comment on record about the products.

However, IBM on Thursday announced plans to ship the first of the products listed on the page: a version of Tivoli Identity Manager for SMBs. The identity management software can be used by a maximum of 5,000 users, has fewer customization features than the enterprise version and will be simpler to both install and manage, Joe Anthony, a Tivoli program director with IBM, told IDG News Service Thursday. It will cost US$24 per user and ship on February 28.

Pricing for the other new Tivoli products which IBM may target at the SMB market remains unavailable, yet one analyst said that may be the most important factor in their reception by customers.

"Pricing is the number one issue for success," said Stephen Elliott, research manager at IDC. In the SMB market, IBM competes with freeware or "almost freeware," he said, and open source has improved the quality of low-cost products.

Enterprise-focused vendors such as IBM are particularly challenged in developing products that are right for the SMB market and in pricing them appropriately, Elliott said. "The products have to be very easy to use, functional, and at a low price point," he added.

(Robert McMillan in San Francisco contributed to this story.)

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