The Linux World Builds SMB Market Opportunity With Software Appliances From Lotus Foundations and ISVs
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new software appliance initiatives designed to accelerate the adoption of Linux in small and medium businesses (SMBs) and the deployment of Domino applications on Lotus Foundations.
The new developments include a preconfigured version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 from Novell in Lotus Foundations and a toolkit that opens new opportunities for Domino software vendors (ISVs) to deliver their applications on a software appliance to the smallest businesses. IBM is also announcing a new strategy — the ISV Software Appliance Initiative — designed to enable a wide range of ISVs to deliver Linux software appliances to mid-market customers.
From Novell to local software firms, the Linux community is building a broader market around IBM’s new computing appliance, Lotus Foundations Start, girding for the battle to liberate small businesses from Microsoft’s proprietary Small Business Server.
Lotus Foundations Start is the first product of IBM’s Blue Business Platform initiative designed to simplify the acquisition and use of information technology (IT) for small and medium businesses (SMBs). It offers small and medium businesses a simple, affordable and integrated solution for collaboration, file management, networking, office productivity security, back-up and disaster recovery. Of particular note is Lotus Foundations’ backup technology, which enables businesses to recover their system settings and business files in just minutes. In addition, ISVs can add solutions on top of the Lotus Foundations platform, creating turnkey offerings tailored to specific vertical market requirements.
IBM’s first hardware and software bundle geared for businesses from five to five hundred employees, Lotus Foundations is a line of self-managing appliance servers that allow small companies to focus on running their business instead of their IT operations. Now by agreement with Novell, it just got even easier for SMBs to use Lotus Foundations and capitalize on the cost-efficiencies, reliability and stability of Linux. Some will also find appealing use of an operating system that eliminates the frequent concerns over glitches, patches, crashes and security that small businesses continually experience with Microsoft Windows. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 is the first operating system preloaded and preconfigured in Lotus Foundations.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is an enterprise-quality server designed to handle a wide variety of workloads across the enterprise. SUSE Linux Enterprise server can be deployed as a general-purpose server or can be tailored to run a variety of specialized workloads. It offers seamless interoperability with existing data center infrastructure and is backed by a large ecosystem of ISVs developing applications that run on Lotus Foundations. Preconfiguring SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 means that buyers and sellers of Lotus Foundations need no Linux-specific skills to deploy or maintain the operating system to industry best practices. It also gives customers and business partners the flexibility to select and use hardware they choose.
“In today’s environment, IT complexity is the unfortunate norm,” said Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions at Novell. “The combination of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Lotus Foundations represents a significant step forward in the simplification of this environment. It provides an affordable, reliable, easy-to-use software appliance for small and medium businesses and opens new opportunities for business partners to simplify the development and deployment of software applications for those same companies. We’re excited to further extend our close partnership with IBM, and be selected as the first company to deliver solutions for this important initiative. The next wave of software delivery is here.”
In addition, IBM today announced the beta program (https://www-304.ibm.com/usrsrvc/account/userservices/jsp/login.jsp?persistPage=truel) for the Lotus Foundations ISV Developer Toolkit which simplifies the packaging of Domino applications for the Lotus Foundations appliance. Lotus Domino is the enterprise collaboration software platform of choice for the majority of the FORTUNE 500 companies. Now the thousands of ISVs developing applications for Domino can easily offer their products to the small business market. Conversely, start-ups and local businesses will now be able to access the enterprise class line-of-business applications that the largest corporations use, but at a fraction of the price and specifically tailored for their business.
“I was there from the beginning when IBM Lotus Domino was being considered for a Nitix offering and provided input on the necessary steps to deploy applications into an integrated Domino server. I never envisioned it to become such a simple process with wizard drive interfaces,” said Scott Cook of Lotus911, a long-time Domino partner.
“Domino ISVs are excited about this because it opens a new market opportunity them to sell Domino applications to small businesses,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, Vice President of IBM Lotus Software. “Because this is a software appliance, these applications can be deployed into environments that may not have on-site Domino administrators. Suddenly the sky is the limit for Domino developers.”
The growing popularity of Linux and IBM’s collaboration software is a sign of the times as businesses look for more open, innovative and cost-effective technology than Microsoft legacy software. No wonder sales of IBM Lotus Software grew 21 percent in the second quarter — a rate higher than Microsoft’s — and increasingly at Redmond’s expense. In addition to sales led by the accelerating adoption of Lotus Notes and Domino around the world, Lotus Symphony is taking a bite out of Microsoft Office sales with more than 1.3 million downloads by businesses and consumers alike. Moreover, the combination off Lotus Notes, Domino, Symphony, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and a host of other features in Lotus Foundations has put Microsoft on notice.
IBM enables ISVs to deliver Linux-Based Software Appliances
Software Appliances such as Lotus Foundations are part of IBM’s drive to make available additional offerings targeted at the mid market. A related initiative announced today will enable ISVs to deliver Linux-based software appliances to mid-market customers through business partner channels.
Software appliances are ready-to-use, complete solutions that can be delivered on DVDs or USB drives, reducing a company’s level of IT skills required to deploy the solutions, which can be installed on a bare metal server or virtual machine in a few clicks. This is a great benefit to mid-market customers who are seeking ways to expand their IT infrastructure, but find traditional software deployments are often too complex and expensive for their limited resources and IT budgets. Linux-based software appliances have all the necessary software components on a single, easy-to-use package.
IBM is providing select ISVs with technologies to enable them to build their own Linux-based software appliances, along with technical and marketing support. “Mid-market businesses typically have lean IT organizations, which can limit their ability to migrate their applications as their needs grow,” said Jeff Smith, vice president, open source and Linux middleware. “IBM’s Linux-based software appliances provide a fully integrated solution from the operating system to the application and everything in between for our business partners to deploy in each customer’s environment. The software appliances reduce the complexity of deploying new applications by minimizing the installation and configuration process. Business partners can move into higher value services more quickly, helping grow their revenue.”
StradaSoft, Inc., an IBM business partner specializing in Business Process Management (BPM) software, is one of approximately two dozen ISVs piloting IBM’s software appliance initiative because it’s helping the company expand beyond it’s traditional large enterprise customer base to the rapidly growing mid market.
“By working with IBM on a software appliance solution, StradaSoft can free up its technical consultants from sales and train its business consultants to do the job instead,” said Lou Esposito, President and CIO of StradaSoft. “The appliance solution reduces installation time for our customers from one to two days to only a few hours.”
The IBM middleware encompassed in this initiative depends on each ISV solution and the market addressed, but may include, either individually or in combination, WebSphere Application Server Express (WAS Express), WebSphere Application Server Express Community Edition (WAS CE), DB2 Express, and DB2 Express C.
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