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IBM Introduces New Systems for Small and Medium Businesses That Grow as They Grow


IBM announced today a radical new way for its small and medium business clients to adopt and manage their IT infrastructure. Small and medium business clients will now be able to purchase a complete, “all-in-one” system for their business on a per-user basis, enabling clients to grow technology resources at pace with business needs.

This scalable pricing model is being launched in conjunction with the new System i Express solution designed for 5 to 40 users as well as a second system optimized for the mid-market, both featuring IBM’s leading POWER5+ processor.

“Every small and medium business has one thing in common -- the need to serve their customers and be ready for growth,” said Mark Shearer, general manager for IBM System i. “Today, IBM is providing these clients simplified access to a complete system that is easy-to-manage, easy-to-secure and highly reliable, with built-in virus resistance, database, storage and systems management technology. With IBM System i Express, a small to medium business can effectively manage all functions critical to the business and focus on driving their business forward, confident that their infrastructure will grow as they grow.”

Small and medium businesses often operate in lean environments with little or no IT personnel and limited resources. Yet the typical small business has, on average, seven servers deployed on site (1). With Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition being affected by 120 Secunia issued advisories in the last four years (2), small and medium businesses are being affected by personnel and resource costs for patching and managing multiple Windows servers for each function of their business.

System i Express includes the features most important to small and medium businesses, such as a simple, built-in workload manager that allows clients to run and manage multiple applications independently on one system instead of deploying a new server every time they need another application, as is typical in Windows-based environments.

System i client ICO RALLY provides materials, accessories and services for electronic distributors throughout North America. The company employs 30 people in its Palo Alto and Ontario, California locations and, until recently, its IT infrastructure consisted of basic business-management software tools such as QuickBooks, Peachtree and Microsoft Outlook in a Windows server environment.

“ICO RALLY’s two main business goals are to expand into new markets and reduce internal costs. We realized we needed to completely revamp our technology infrastructure to support these goals and, with the help of IBM Business Partner ESP Solutions, chose the System i as our platform for growth,” said Glenn Griffith, vice president for ICO RALLY. “With System i, we have been able to focus on running our business instead of managing computer operations. The System i platform is simply more reliable and secure than our previous Windows servers, and has helped enable us to increase sales by 25 percent and employee productivity by 20 percent.”

System i Vertical Industry Program
Through the System i Initiative for Innovation, IBM works with thousands of application providers around the world to bring new solutions and capabilities to System i, including thousands of new and updated applications as well as integration with IP Telephony, PHP language and BladeCenter for those applications. IBM expanded the Initiative for Innovation this year with the System i Vertical Industry Program (VIP), one key vehicle through which IBM will make System i Express available to small and medium businesses. Launched in January, the VIP is designed to serve customers in select sub-verticals by working with local Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and business partners who specialize in specific industries.

Pricing and Availability
The System i Express offerings, the model 515 and model 525, are expected to be available in late April. The System i 515 Express, designed for 5 to 40 users, starts at $7,995 and includes 5 user licenses. Additional user licenses cost $1,250 per 5 users.

About IBM
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