IBM Takes on Windows Price Points With New Server

By Dan Muse | Posted July 11, 2006

Oracle wants to convince businesses that it will continue to support its JD Edwards EnterpriseOne suite, which it inherited when it acquired Peoplesoft. IBM wants to get is i Series servers into more small businesses. And it also wants to dispel what it sees as a misconception about Windows servers being more affordable.

Again that backdrop, IBM announced today a new server configuration for small business customers of Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne applications. Designed specifically for customers with 100 or fewer users, the IBM System i 520 Solution Edition for Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is designed offer a lower acquisition cost than comparable systems running Microsoft's Windows operating systems and on Intel or AMD processor-based servers.

The new IBM iSeries 520 server will carry a starting price of $21,921 and will run IBM's Power5 processors and i5 OS. However, it will also run other operating systems such as Linux or AIX (IBM's Unix operating system) or Windows.

Carter Adkinson, System i global sales and business development manager for Oracle, at IBM, said that prior to this announcement, "Initial costs may been lower for Wintel [based servers], but not for the total cost acquisition." With the IBM iSeries 520 server, Big Blue is out to clear up any cost confusion. Adkinson said IBM is now "cheaper going in and cheaper ongoing."

The support and server costs are lower, Adkinson said, because of the all-in-one nature of the hardware and software combination. That is, the applications, database, storage, security and virus-resistance customers need is all hosted on one server optimized for up to 100 users. The application suite offers accounting, CRM, financial, human resources, project and supply chain management.

It's no secret that many small businesses have limited IT resources. According to IBM, SMBs that opted for Windows and x86-based systems for their JD Edwards applications ended up spending more time and money than they expected. "Some of these customers found themselves acting as the systems integrators for their business as they managed multiple servers and added the operating system and storage they needed to make the solution actually run," said Mark Shearer, general manager of IBM System in a statement.


IBM System i 520 Solution Edition for Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
With its System i 520 server, IBM is out to prove Windows on Intel or AMD processors isn't the most cost-effective way to run JD Edwards ERP applications.

Today's news is in line with recent IBM announcements intended to boast iSeries sales. In February, Big Blue beefed up its i5 server line for SMBs, adding a 2.2 gigahertz Power5+ dual-core chip to boost performance. The company also introduced the i5/OS V5R4 new version of its iSeries operating system that's designed provide better security and disaster-recovery features.

Also in February, in a move to build support among more than 2,500 partners and developers for the server, IBM announced the iSeries Initiative for Innovation program

According to Oracle, EnterpriseOne is best-suited for manufacturing, construction, distribution and service-oriented businesses. Working with the IBM/Oracle International Competency Center, IBM System i developers tested and sized the solution specifically for SMBs, according to Adkinson.

The IBM System i 520 Solution Edition for Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is expected to be available from IBM and its partners on August 11.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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