IBM expands virtual resources for business partners

IBM expands virtual resources for business partners

IBM this week announced virtual resources to help business partners more quickly build and deploy on-demand business applications tailored to customer requirements across all vertical industries.

The new virtual resources, offered as part of IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks initiatives, offer business partners an online knowledge and enablement portal to provide them with access to real-time technical resources, according to IBM.

The technical resources are based on grid and IBM Virtualization Engine technologies through the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware. The center allows business partners to access a virtual pool of IBM resources -- including the entire eServer and TotalStorage family of products -- at any time over the Internet.

"We're not only working to get these ISVs (independent software vendors) the first-class support they need to enable the technologies, but also to provide them with financial support for co-marketing and greater access and leverage to our worldwide sales network," said Scott Hebner, vice president of strategy and marketing for ISV and developer relations at IBM. "Together, we're more effectively able to partner within each country, within each industry to drive mutual business."

Highlights of the new online technical resources include how-to guides for business partners that provide step-by-step instructions on how to develop, enable and implement applications based on IBM technology. Adam Tumas, program manager of the Virtual Innovation Center for Hardware, said these guides are tailored to the technical requirements of each hardware platform and take business partners through the application planning, porting, developing and testing stages.

Another offering is a new sizing tool kit to help users identify hardware requirements. The tool kit includes an interactive, Web-based questionnaire that allows users to determine the best system configuration for their applications, based on their specific workload, Tumas said.

"For example, users fill out a questionnaire that details specific information, such as the size of their organization and level of application usage," IBM said. "As a result, the sizing tool produces a tailored assessment of the system requirements that are based upon the presented criteria."

This Web-based tool can be hosted by IBM, the business partner or both, and it supports IBM eServer xSeries, iSeries, pSeries and Linux on Power, Tumas said.

The company's Virtual Loaner Program has also been expanded to support AIX, Linux and Power5.

"The Virtual Loaner Program provides free, on-demand access to IBM e-server hardware, virtually over the Web, through a secure virtual private network connection," Tumas said. "It brings the equipment to them via the Internet."

The program provides business partners and developers with the on-demand technologies through a software enablement grid, IBM said.

IBM is also offering independent software vendors online courses and tutorials on various technologies designed to help business partners with application development and porting so that they have the skills to meet their customers' requirements.

Business partners can access the Virtual Innovation Center online at

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