In a move to reassure small-business customers that it plans to support Oracle's software products for years to come, IBM has announced a server package.
Intended for businesses with fewer than 100 seats of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, the package is called the IBM System i 520 Solution Edition for Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.
It includes integrated hardware and software with enough disk storage to support an application suite including asset lifecycle, customer relationship, financial, human capital, project, supplier and supply chain management.
Oracle executives have been making efforts in recent months to retain the 5000 JD Edwards customers they inherited when the company purchased PeopleSoft in January.
At a user conference in April, Oracle president, Charles Phillips, pledged to support the company's full range of ERP products in perpetuity.
This product backs up his promise with an improved hardware platform, according to System i global sales and business development manager for Oracle at IBM, Carter Adkinson.
The system is also priced to be cheaper than Wintel servers; computers that use Microsoft's Windows OS and run on processors from Intel or AMD. It uses an IBM iSeries 520 server running IBM's Power5 processors and i5 OS, with the flexibility to run other operating systems from Windows to Linux or AIX.
IBM had struggled in sales recently because its machines had a higher sticker price than competing computers from Dell or HP, Adkinson said.
The new server would compete on initial price as well as a lower cost of ownership over the long run, he said.
Reliability was important to system administrators since 70 per cent of IT budgets were now spent on maintenance, with only 30 per cent dedicated to buying new computers, Adkinson estimated. That ratio was the inverse of cost structures 10 years ago.