IBM pitches flexible package at mid-size firms

The new line-up is aimed at helping smaller companies build a more flexible IT infrastructure that can respond to load increases and decreases

IBM has introduced a new line-up of software, services and hardware aimed at medium-sized businesses, including products for improving security and infrastructure availability.

The products, announced on Thursday, are aimed at helping smaller enterprises improve the ability of their infrastructure to handle quickly changing workloads. The new releases are Rational AppScan OnDemand, Tivoli Foundations Application Manager, Tivoli Foundations Service Manager, Enhanced Technical Support (ETS) gateway and System Storage DS3950 Express.

IBM said its own research found that about half of the chief information officers of medium-sized companies believe their infrastructure would be unable to handle a processing load increase of 200 percent or a decrease of 50 percent.

"IBM's newest midmarket offerings for dynamic infrastructure position organisations to do more with less, manage and mitigate risk, and take advantage of flexible delivery choices like cloud computing," said Marc Dupaquier, IBM general manager of the global mid market, in a statement.

IBM Rational AppScan OnDemand is a service aimed at improving the security of web applications, including those hosted on the cloud, IBM said. The service, operated by IBM experts, identifies and prioritises web application security and compliance risks, and can be set up to scan sites on a regular basis.

Besides detecting security problems, AppScan OnDemand provides data in support of mandatory audits such as those required by payment card industry regulations.

IBM Tivoli Foundations Application Manager, an appliance, monitors an organisation's IT infrastructure and issues reports on performance and availability. It runs on the IBM Lotus Foundations Server.

Application Manager can integrate with the new IBM Tivoli Foundations Service Manager, an appliance aimed at reducing the cost of providing technical support. It automates help-desk functions and streamlines service requests, incident and problem management, and adheres to the Itil v3.0 library of best practices.

The Tivoli systems, which IBM discussed earlier last week, mark the first time IBM has introduced products with Tivoli's enterprise-level technology for businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, the company said.

IBM also launched a technical support service aimed at smaller companies with a limited budget for IT maintenance and limited in-house technical resources. ETS gateway is aimed at users of IBM's Power System, System i and System p servers and their related software, and provides access to information on maintenance, security and performance. The service is available immediately in Europe, and will launch in the US in March.

The IBM System Storage DS3950 Express is a new mid-tier disk-based storage system with an 8Gbps Fibre Channel interface, which IBM said is particularly aimed at applications needing high data throughput. The product will be available on 4 December everywhere but the US, Canada and China.

In May, HP updated its hardware and software portfolio for smaller businesses, introducing new storage products, thin clients, printers and virtualisation tools. At the time HP said it expected IT purchases by smaller companies to grow by 10 to 12 percent over the next two years, in spite of the economic downturn.