Building upon its expanding Express portfolio, IBM Wednesday announced products and services designed to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) to manage their networks and recover quickly from disasters. The offerings include the use of an iSeries server and support from ISVs.
IBM's Express products are scaled-down versions of IBM's enterprise products designed specifically for smaller businesses.
The SMB market is the current sweet spot for IBM, and the company has made a number of announcements recently designed to wrest away some of the control currently enjoyed by Microsoft in that market.
Last week, IBM announced new services designed to help SMBs manage their PCs and reduce the significant problems in downtime because of spam and viruses. That service is managed by IBM remotely.
The core of today's announcement is the Network Operations and Management Services, a service that lets the customer outsource network-monitoring responsibilities to IBM.
Joann Duguid, vice president, IBM eServer SMB group, said that through the service IBM assumes the responsibility of monitoring the network, freeing up time for IT departments in SMBs, which tend to have smaller staffs.
"Services are basically provided to customers that would like to outsource a piece of their network. IBM would take over and manage those network operations," Duguid said.
As part of the service, IBM remotely monitors the customer's network seven days a week, 24 hours per day. The service tracks network performance, system health and component problems and delivers software and firmware updates vital to the businesses infrastructure.
Duguid said customers will also have access to their network status in real-time via a secure Internet portal, allowing for immediate identification of any issues that may have arisen.
"We're trying to provide fixes before things break," Duguid said.
The starting price for the service is $6,900 with a leasing option of $250 per month for 36 months.
As part of the network services offering, IBM will help customers establish a recovery plan to prepare for unforeseen business interruptions, such as the catastrophic blackout of 2003.
For $4,200, customers will receive a two-day consulting workshop during which IBM and the customer establish a customized recovery plan using methodologies for IBM and non-IBM systems. A pre-configured iSeries or pSeries system is also provided for temporary use during an outage emergency.
The final two offerings include an infrastructure management solution and a high availability (HA) solution on the iSeries. The management solution will assist customers in simplifying complex IT environments on iSeries servers running OS/400 and Intel-based servers running Windows applications, with a starting price of $30,000. An optional 36-month IBM Global Financing lease is set at $775 a month.
The HA solution will allow customers to link multiple iSeries systems via high-function third-party software from selected vendors, including Data Mirror, iTera, Lakeview Technology, Maximum Availability, Trader's and Vision Solutions, Duguid said.
Starting prices for this solution are set at $51,000, with a $1,935 per month lease also available.
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