PARTNERWORLD - IBM adds products to Express line

IBM will roll out in the next few months several additions to its Express line of software tailored for midmarket customers, the company said Tuesday at its PartnerWorld conference in New Orleans.

First up will be its previously announced DB2 Express database software. Scheduled for worldwide availability in the second quarter, DB2 Express will be priced starting around US$1,000, IBM said. In redesigning the software for small and medium-sized business customers, IBM says it has focused on self-tuning features to reduce complexity and ownership costs.

DB2 Express can be embedded in applications by outside developers, who can opt for a no-click, "silent" installation of the database software, IBM said. The company also expects its channel partners to offer preconfigured versions of the software customized for buyers in vertical markets including retail, manufacturing and banking.

DB2 Express is now in beta, and will initially run on Linux and Windows systems.

Also scheduled for a second-quarter release are IBM's Tivoli Storage Resource Manager Express Edition and Lotus Domino Collaboration Express.

The Tivoli storage management software is designed for single-processor desktops, and can be installed in as little as 15 minutes, according to IBM. Its cost will be around $100 per desktop, an IBM spokesman said.

Lotus Domino Collaboration Bundle Express is aimed at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. It will include IBM's Domino server software, plus either Lotus Notes client or iNotes Web browser-based access to e-mail and collaborative applications. The software's support for messaging, calendaring and custom applications will be akin to that found in IBM's standard Lotus software, the company said.

IBM created the midmarket-focused Express line last year. It first populated the portfolio with customized versions of software from its WebSphere line, including Express editions of its portal and application server offerings.

Those first releases will be updated soon. By mid-2003, WebSphere Application Server Express will support three additional operating systems, IBM's AIX, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris and Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP-UX. The software already runs on Linux and Windows.

Also in the works is a new version of WebSphere Portal Express, due out in the second quarter, which will add new collaboration features along with support for Linux and Microsoft Corp.'s SQL Server.

IBM's primary sales channel for its Express products is its affiliated resellers. More than 1,000 are already offering WebSphere Express products, the company said.

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