Put to the Test: IBM WebSphere Portal 6.0

This portal's best play is enterprise integration, but it's also suitable for intranets and workgroup collaboration. Implementation can be complex and confusing, but a new Portal Express offering is aimed at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees aims to speed and simplify deployment.

Coming Attractions

IBM is planning upgrades to the portal in second half that will add templates from Express offering and to the core portal, and it will add performance improvements alongside a new Google Gadget integration. For those choosing IBM collaboration tools, you can also look forward to Web 2.0-style functionality from two new products announced at January's Lotusphere and expected to debut this summer. Connections is a social software solution with components for activities, communities, dogear, profiles and blogs to help people connect and build conversations. Quickr is good old Lotus QuickPlace with a fresh brush of "Web 2.0" look-and-feel to compete with SharePoint. This offering is aimed at quickly and easily sharing content while reducing the heavy e-mail burden in most organizations.

Whatever the charms of working with Big Blue – armies of consultants and salespeople, confusing and overlapping product families – the company has committed itself to WebSphere Portal. The product had modest beginnings, but it has grown steadily and IBM continues to put major research and development into what remains one of the most deployed portal in its class.

• WebSphere Portal 6.0 is licensed per CPU starting at $50,000 per processor. WebSphere Portal Express starts at $2,780 including 20-users. Prices include one year of software support and maintenance.

Janus Boye and Tony Byrne are Lead Analyst and Publisher, respectively, of the Enterprise Portals Report, which critically evaluates 15 leading portal solutions. The report is published by CMS Watch.ugh to combat the new and largely improved Microsoft SharePoint 2007.