IBM adds software for SMBs

By Ann Silverthorn

IBM has begun shipments of the IBM Tivoli Express Portfolio, a set of software products designed to enable small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to manage their IT infrastructure with integrated features usually found in more expensive “enterprise” products. Included in the suite is IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) Express, backup software that can be configured out of the box and installed within an hour, according to company officials.

“TSM Express uses the progressive backup that the enterprise edition [of TSM] uses, so it only backs up new or changed files,” says Tricia Jiang, IBM’s TotalStorage technical evangelist. “A database runs under the covers and doesn’t require management by users. It tracks all the information they back up and saves time, network overhead, and storage space. It also results in faster restore, because users don’t have to sort through extra copies of the data.”

TSM Express backs up to disk, so it can run at night without the need for IT administrators to load tapes. The backed-up data can then be offloaded to tape during daytime hours when administrators are at work. For additional data protection, TSM Express can be coupled with IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files software to protect data on desktops and laptops.

Three other products are included in the Express Portfolio:

  • Identity Manager Express helps protect SMBs from insider attacks as it removes accounts and privileges when people leave the company. It also has reporting features and speeds the time to create new accounts;
  • Provisioning Manager Express is an inventory management and software distribution solution that collects, stores, and maintains hardware, software, and asset information; and
  • Monitoring Express allows SMBs to manage online applications, such as e-mail or billing systems. It automatically corrects IT service problems, such as “hung” applications across a company’s servers, operating systems, and databases.

“IBM is targeting a sweet spot in the SMB market that hasn’t been serviced very well in the past,” says Rich Ptak, an analyst with Ptak, Noel and Associates. “Tivoli Express Portfolio does not contain ‘handicapped’ versions of enterprise products. IBM is providing products, support services, and marketing…that can be applied by channel partners to service the SMB market.”

IBM defines SMBs as having 100 to 999 employees, with revenues of $20 million to $200 million.

TSM Express is priced at $195 per processor, and Identity Manager Express is priced at $24 per user. Pricing for Provisioning Manager Express and Monitoring Express was not available at press time.

This article was originally published on April 01, 2006