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4/2/2006
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IBM Teams With Novell On Linux-Based Middleware

The bundles--geared for the SMB market--are easier to integrate with Windows than were past offerings, the vendors promise.

IBM deepened its commitment to the small and midsize business market on Monday by announcing a partnership with Novell to deliver two integrated bundles of Linux-based middleware that can be more easily integrated into Windows environments.

Unveiled at LinuxWorld in Boston, the first offering, put together by Novell, includes the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, the Websphere Application Server Community Edition and DB2 Express-C. Initially, the bundle will be available through Avnet’s partner channel. Also contained in the bundle is the IBM eServer xSeries or BladeCenter servers with either external or internal storage.

As an option, Avnet will preload Centeris’ Likewise product for Active Directory integration and management. The software makes it easier for systems administrators familiar with Windows to manage the product using familiar tools and interfaces.

“The easier integration with Windows really happens because Avnet is including the Centeris application,” says Scott Handy, IBM’s vice president in charge of Linux and open source. “It makes Linux servers look like a Windows resource, which makes it easier for them to do thing like add a file and print server or Linux-based Web server to the network as if it was a Windows server.”

The second offering, available through IBM, is aimed at both partners and users. It also includes the Websphere Application Server Community Edition and DB2 Express-C, and eServer xSeries server. However, it also includes a demo version of VMWare player hosting Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.

The IBM version, which comes on the Integrated Stack for Linux Discovery DVD, is purposely configured to allow partners to directly install the products with no license fees for the user. The disk includes the Websphere Application Server Community Edition and DB2 Express C. As an option, partners can directly sell the bundle as a service.

The bundle is expected to be available by the end of this month, according to company officials.

IBM also plans to sell a version of the integrated stack targeting the developer and academic communities. The IBM Open Computing Development Environment includes the Websphere Application Server Community Edition, DB2 Express-C and Eclipse tool set.

In a related announcement, on Monday IBM delivered an improved version of its Websphere Application Server Community Edition, which is the first version of the product based on IBM’s Gluecode acquisition. The new version includes a broader framework and tighter integration with Apache Tomcat applications, which should help users and partners create, test and deploy applications through its improved support of Eclipse.

In a separate agreement, IBM and Zend jointly announced they have ported the PHP scripting language to IBM’s System i (formerly known as the iSeries) hardware platform. The new version better allows users and partners to create open-source-based solutions that can work with existing System i business applications.

Company officials from IBM and Zend say they also plan to deliver Zend Core and Zend platform for existing production environments running under IBM’s i5/OS operating system, along with Zend Studio and Zend Guard development tools.

Some hardware makers believe adapting PHP to the System i environment will give them added flexibility for Web development projects.

“PHP support on i5/OS should offer us more freedom of choice in Web development, along with protecting our current investments and assets,” says Mike Pavlak, director of information services for Tripp Lite, which makes power-protection equipment. “I see it as IBM reinforcing its commitment to the System i and open source by bringing a more open language to the machine.”

IBM also announced along with Red Hat on Monday that Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 4 has completed a Common Criteria evaluation, thereby gaining a higher level of security certification that will enable the product to be adopted by government agencies for mission-critical applications.

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