IBM Introduces Integration Software to the Midmarket
June 1, 2004 Alex Woodie
Acknowledging that integration application problems can effect small and midsized businesses as well as large enterprises, IBM last month announced WebSphere Business Integration Server Express, a new software product for streamlining business processes from disparate applications and databases running across OS/400, Linux, and Windows servers. IBM also introduced three new Express offerings for specific integration problems, including UCCnet data synchronization, sending and receiving message queues, and connecting to electronic trading networks.
WebSphere Business Integration Server Express 4.3 is a pre-packaged integration broker offering designed to make it easier for small and midsized businesses to gain the advantages of internal application integration, to collaborate more easily with business partners, and to meet new industry mandates requiring integration. The software, which starts at $5,999 per processor, offers an array of graphical tools, pre-built application and database adapters, and a series of pre-built “business process templates.”
The 31 pre-built business process templates that IBM is offering with WebSphere Business Integration Server Express implement a standardized, application-agnostic way of executing business rules, such as checking on the status of an order. There are 14 templates in the Order Management Collaboration Capacity Pack, including sales order processing and return billing status, among others. The collection for CRM includes seven templates, such as one for billing inquiries. Five more templates are available in the Financials and Human Resources pack, such as accounts receivable invoice sync, and there are another five in the Procurement Collaboration Capacity Pack, such as inventory level manager.
IBM is offering 66 pre-built application and data adapters with the new WebSphere Business Integration Server Express. Examples of the adapters include PeopleSoft World and EnterpriseOne (formerly J.D. Edwards) applications, Oracle databases, XML, CICS, Domino, and JDBC.
Depending on the number and type of adapters and templates needed, customers can move up from WebSphere Business Integration Server Express to WebSphere Business Integration Server Express Plus, which gives users access to up to five adapters (the standard Express offering only includes three pre-built adapters). The Plus version also provides access to the business process design tool, which allows users to build their own processes or to modify existing ones, and allows them to incrementally add more adapters and business process templates to their integration infrastructure, through the Adapter Capacity Pack and the Collaboration Capacity Pack, which are not available to standard Express customers.
For AS/400, iSeries, and eServer i5 hardware, WebSphere Business Integration Server Express requires OS/400 V5R2 or i5/OS V5R3. IBM recommends an AS/400, iSeries, or eServer i5 server with at least 300 CPW, 1 GB of memory, and 40 GB of available DASD.
The English Windows version of WebSphere Business Integration Server Express Version 4.3 became available for download on May 14. The packaged CD version will become available June 18. The multiplatform (OS/400, Linux, and Windows) and multilingual version, WebSphere Business Integration Server Express Version 4.3.1, will become available for download on July 30, with the physical version ready for shipment August 20.
Licenses for WebSphere Business Integration Server Express start at $5,999 per processor, while WebSphere Business Integration Server Express Plus licenses cost $19,999 per processor. Adapter Capacity and Collaboration Capacity packs are $14,999 each. For comparison, licenses for the full WebSphere Business Integration Server, which runs only on Windows and Unix, are $110,000 per processor, according to IBM’s Web site.
THAT’S NOT ALL
IBM understands that small and midsized businesses sometimes need a product that addresses a particular integration pain point, and it has responded to these needs with specific WebSphere Integration Express offerings, including WebSphere Business Integration Express for Item Synchronization, WebSphere Business Integration Connect Express, and WebSphere MQ Express. These products don’t run on OS/400, but they can address integration needs of OS/400 shops: