IBM Delivers Scaled-Down Content Manager for iSeries
December 13, 2005 Alex Woodie
As it promised a year and a half ago, IBM has delivered a scaled-down content management system designed for small and medium-sized OS/400 shops. Beginning at a price of $6,900, users can get a centralized repository for storing and distributing documents, reports, e-mail, Web content, images, and other content with DB2 Content Manager Standard Edition version 8.3, a new product that IBM started shipping December 5.
IBM had previously offered an industrial-strength content management system, called DB2 Content Manager for iSeries, which is currently at version 5.3. However, this product was overkill for most small and medium-sized OS/400 shops, so in May 2004, IBM made a “statement of direction” to deliver an “express” version of the content management system that would run on OS/400 and Linux (see “IBM Updates Content Manager, Pledges Express Edition”).
While it eschewed the express moniker, IBM did follow through on its commitment with the delivery of two new products, including DB2 Content Manager Standard Edition, which runs only on OS/400 (with PASE, which is required for some components of the product, according to an IBMer involved in the development of the product), and DB2 Content Manager Enterprise Edition, which IBM delivered in March and which runs on Unix, Linux, and Windows operating systems. Besides the different names and the different platforms they run on, these two products share a common code base, according to IBM.
What users get with DB2 Content Manager Standard Edition version 8.3 (one wonders why IBM didn’t simply call it “OS/400 Edition version 1.0”) is a centralized repository for business documents, Web- and Windows-based interfaces, document routing and workflow capabilities, and an XML-based integration model for connecting the product to existing applications.
The software is targeted at mid-sized organizations swimming in structured and unstructured content, such as medical offices, attorneys, service companies, retailers, and manufacturers, IBM says. “Leveraging the rich capabilities and ease of use of iSeries servers, this new software makes content management easier for organizations of any size to deploy and use,” says Jon Prial, vice president for content management and discovery at IBM.
Like other content management systems, IBM’s new offering helps users capture, index, and manage content from a variety of sources. The software offers version control, has built-in security, and offers multiple search options. In terms of workflow, the software comes with predefined flows and branching capabilities, collection points, and work lists to enable users to concurrently work from one or multiple workbaskets, or work nodes, IBM says.
A graphical editor helps administrators map document routing schemes using a collection of programmable decision points, actions, action lists, parallel routing, and line-of-business access nodes. Business logic can also be programmed into the document routing routines using decision points. For example, if an invoice has an attribute that’s greater than, say, $1,000, it must be routed to a manager for approval.
DB2 Content Manager Standard Edition also includes an XML schema mapping facility for importing XML documents into the content manager’s repository. The software also includes a Web services interface that allows the product to be incorporated into any business applications, regardless of the language it was written in or the operating system it runs on, IBM says.
There are some DB2 Content features that are only available on the Enterprise Edition, and not the Standard Edition that runs on OS/400. For example, the OS/400 version is limited to running on a single server with a maximum of two processors, while the Enterprise Edition supports distributed deployments. Also not offered on the OS/400 version but supported with Enterprise Edition are support for report management, streaming media, full-text search, hierarchical storage management, records management enablement, and repository integration with DB2 Records Manager, DB2 Document Manager, DB2 CommonStore, and IBM Workplace Web Content Management, according to IBM’s November 29 software announcement.
DB2 Content Manager Standard Edition version 8.3 requires i5/OS and PASE, and comes with copies of WebSphere version 6 and DB2 Connect. The software is sold on a named-user basis, with prices starting at $345 per authorized user, and a minimum initial order quantity of 20 named users. There is no upgrade path to DB2 Content Manager for iSeries version 5.3.
This article has been corrected since it was first published. The PASE AIX runtime environment is required to run some components of DB2 Content Manager Standard Edition version 8.3, but the bulk of the application runs in native OS/400, not AIX. IT Jungle regrets the errror. [Correction made 12/13/05.]