IBM on Wednesday added a group of products and capabilities to its BladeCenter offerings that's designed to make it easier for small and midsized businesses to manage the blade server platform.
"About 40% of our customers are [small and midsized businesses], and we see this space growing," says Ishan Sehgal, program director for BladeCenter at IBM. "This is really a jump-start offering for customers who either need help in deployment, or in modifying their IT infrastructure to make the most of the advantages of BladeCenter."
New BladeCenter offerings include an entry-level networking switch, called the IBM Server Connectivity Module, designed for implementation by SMBs with limited on-site networking skills or resources.
Also offered are new Windows management capabilities that let customers combine the benefits of BladeCenter and the System i business computing platform. BladeCenter integrates into System i through a standard iSCSI connection. The offering combines the virtual storage, networking, and tape resources of System i to simplify Windows server management, Sehgal says.
A new service offering called Jump Start is being provided through IBM Global Services to speed and simplify blade server deployment. IBM is also making available a financing package for SMB customers or smaller department acquisitions, with monthly payment structured through IBM Global Financing.
The Server Connectivity Module is priced at $999. The System i Windows server management is priced at $999. The Jump Start service is available in May at a price of $6,999.