By Timothy Prickett Morgan
Having taken a stab directly at BackOffice for Windows NT with its own competing software suites for Microsoft’s enterprise operating system, IBM is taken an indirect stab at Windows NT by offering similar suites of software for its own AIX and Sun’s Solaris operating system. The base Suite for Solaris is designed to meet the needs of branch offices and departments and medium- sized businesses. The suite includes IBM’s WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Universal data base, Lotus Domino, Adstar Distributed Storage Manager, Sun’s SunLink SNA/PTP communications server and Enlighten systems management software (which now has hooks into Sun’s SyMon system management software). The Business Integration Suite adds IBM’s MQSeries middleware to the base Solaris suite, while the Enterprise Suite adds TXSeries (Encina and CICS) transaction monitors. All of these suites have an install wizard developed in Java to steer customers through the complex installation of the Solaris suites as well as to manage upgrades to future releases of products within the suites. As part of the deal, Sun has certified the IBM Solaris suites under its SunVIP program, which includes tool and ERP software vendors who work closely with Sun and who help drive a lot of Sun’s server sales. IBM says that the Solaris suites will be available in the second quarter in the US and will eventually be available worldwide in nine (unspecified) languages. Initially, IBM will work with Access Graphics and a number of other Sun resellers who are already selling IBM-Sun solutions and are acquainted with both company’s products. IBM did not announce prices for the Solaris suites. IBM says that it sells a version of the suites for AIX, but hasn’t yet provided specs for it, nor is it available for sale on its Web site. The only somewhat relevant pricing information on IBM’s suites for Solaris and AIX is that for its NT suites. (The AIX and Solaris suites may cost more than the NT suites, but they probably won’t cost less if history is any guide.) The Small Business Suite for NT, which includes DB2, Domino, and Netscape Navigator, LANSource Technologies’ Faxport and Winport communications software, and the server implementation of Lotus SmartSuite, costs $499 plus $99 per user for base clients and $149 per user for clients with SmartSuite access. The more complete Suite for Windows NT includes DB2 Universal database Workgroup Edition, Adstar Distributed Storage Manager, eNetwork Communications Server (which provides connectivity to AS/400 and mainframe hosts), Lotus Domino and Intel LANDesk Suite. This suite costs $2,239 per server plus $209 per suite user, with discounts offered to customers with multiple servers and lots of users. The Enterprise Suite for NT adds DB2 Connect Enterprise Edition (which allows Windows clients to access DB2 data bases via IBM’s DRDA protocols rather than Microsoft’s OBDC or OLE DB protocols), IBM TXSeries (Encina transaction monitoring akin to IBM’s CICS program for mainframes), MQSeries (IBM’s distributed computing middleware), Tivoli TME 10 LAN Access. The Enterprise Suite for NT costs $16,249 per server plus $345 per user, again with discounts offered to customers with multiple servers and lots of users.