Practicing what it preaches as part of its On Demand gospel, IBM on Thursday announced a new grid-based program that allows developers to virtually access a range of hardware and software resources on an on-demand basis to build and sell solutions.
In concert with the announcement, Big Blue unwrapped new technical and educational resources to be part of the company's Application Enablement Program. The resources are designed to help corporate and third-party programmers better adopt alternative delivery models including application hosting and software as a service.
Built around IBM's recently announced Virtualization Engine, the IBM Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware is intended to help the company better serve small and medium-size developers by offering them equal access to all of its On Demand technologies. For instance, a Linux-based grid can access a pSeries-based server with the company's TotalStorage product around the clock over the Internet.
Another new offering available through the Virtual Center for Hardware is the Virtual Loaner Program. The new program allows developers to remotely access a range of different IBM technologies through a Web portal. Business partners can gain access to the program by joining PartnerWorld and going to www.ibm/isv.
Through the Web site, developers can request the necessary requirements for hardware, software, and storage depending on what their business objectives are. Once those resources are configured, developers can access the system whenever they need to. The system has the ability to capture and store an individual developer's system environment so they can return to the site even months later in order to carry out further testing.
IBM officials believe that by offering these resources over the grid, instead of delivering them physically to developers, they can expand the number the ISVs the company can help. They also believe the program can save developers both time and money needed to install physical systems for testing.
"We really think 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," said Buell Duncan, general manager of IBM ISV and Developer Relations.
Other new resources now available at the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware include a Sizing Guide tool and the Linux Test Drive program. The Sizing Guide tool can automate Web-based system sizing estimates based on IBM eServer hardware and on a front-end questionnaire that captures workload capacity information, a company spokesperson said.
The tool can help smaller ISVs who do not have the time or expertise to create their own sizing programs, she said.
Separately, IBM also announced on Thursday that 400 ISVs have joined its PartnerWorld Industry Networks, a program designed to help ISVs create vertical solutions based on open standards as well as a go-to-market strategy with IBM.