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IBM Boosts Support For WebSphere, DB2

IBM is offering an expanded slate of sales and technical support around its free, entry-level WebSphere Application Server and DB2 products.

InformationWeek Staff

February 7, 2007

2 Min Read

IBM is offering an expanded slate of sales and technical support around its free, entry-level WebSphere Application Server and DB2 products, a move aimed at wooing solution providers drawn to the low cost and easy accessibility of open-source offerings.

Although IBM is billing the program as a campaign aimed at partners "using open source technologies," in practice the support services are available to all partners using IBM's WebSphere Application Server (WAS) Community Edition or DB2 Express. While WAS Community Edition is an open-source product, DB2 Express is not.

"What we're seeing is an increasing number of business partners of all stripes -- ISVs, systems integrators, solution providers -- taking advantage of open-source technologies as they build their solutions," said Rado Nikolov, director of strategy for IBM's ISV and developer relations. "We're announcing an initiative to address that end-to-end."

The new program offers partners free access to IBM technical support online and by phone. Partners can also draw on IBM's sales force to help them close deals, either by enlisting an IBM sales representative to go with them on sales calls or by giving IBM lists of prospects to target with its own telemarketing resources. (IBM promises not to pinch the leads; it's outsourcing the calls to a third-party firm.)

Intalio CEO Ismael Ghalimi is delighted with the resources IBM is offering. Intalio, a Redwood City, Calif., ISV that develops open-source business process management (BPM) software, recently replaced the Apache Geronimo server embedded in its application with WAS Community Edition. "What we like about WebSphere CE is that it's essentially a commercial packaging of [Geronimo]," Ghalimi said. "We didn't have to change our product in any way, but by the same token we could offer our customers support through IBM and have the brand recognition that IBM can give you." IBM support is a big plus because Intalio was unable to offer its customers much support for Geronimo, a product that lies outside its area of expertise, Ghalimi said. IBM's program allows Intalio to bundle WAS Community Edition into its own software for free. If customers choose to upgrade to the commercial version of Intalio's software and pay support fees, that fee now includes IBM support for the WebSphere component of the product. While Intalio pays IBM for those customer support services, Ghalimi said the rate is a fraction of what that support would usually cost end users. "They priced it in such a way that we could bear the cost ourselves without having to raise the price of our product," Ghalimi said. IBM previously offered a similar program for partners incorporating WAS Community Edition into their offerings. What's new is the program's expansion to also cover DB2 Express, Nikolov said. IBM has also made permanent some services that were previously available as limited-time offers, such as the free telemarketing support.

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