IBM will make available to resellers servers that target the small and midsized business market and that can be readily integrated into Windows networks. IBM and software company Zend have ported the popular PHP scripting language to IBM's System i midrange server platform. IBM also unveiled an incentive program for resellers to switch customers to IBM's Lotus Workplace software from Microsoft's Exchange messaging product. The disclosures came at the LinuxWorld conference, which started in Boston Monday.
IBM is positioning Linux as an alternative to Microsoft's Windows operating system on business servers. "We're more balanced than a Microsoft solution provider, who pretty much promotes Windows as the answer no matter what the question is," says Scott Handy, IBM's VP for worldwide Linux and open source. Later this week, Microsoft general manager Bill Hilf, who used to work at IBM, is scheduled to give a speech at LinuxWorld about problems companies are having with Linux, as well as discuss interoperability between Windows and Linux computers.
For IBM's part, it's making available to its reseller channel servers for the SMB segment that include Novell's Suse version of Linux and IBM's WebSphere middleware. The servers will include WebSphere Application Server Community Edition--a renamed version of an application server from Gluecode Software, which IBM acquired last year--and an app called Likewise from independent software vendor Centeris, which lets system administrators control Linux-based computers from a Windows user interface.
IBM last year held more than 28% of the $6.9 billion market (by revenue) for Linux-based servers, according to market researcher Gartner. IBM and Zend ported PHP to System i to address the market for IT departments that use scripting languages to access IBM's DB2 database software, according to Handy. IBM also unveiled an incentive program called "migrate to the penguin" that would pay resellers $20 for each E-mail seat they migrate from Exchange to Lotus, up to $20,000. The promotion ends in August.