IBM is forging ahead with its support of the Linux OS, extending the ability of its DB2 Linux-compatible clusters to support ACCPAC's business applications suite.
Disclosing the partnership in Australia last week, Scott Handy, director of Linux solutions marketing for IBM's software group, made no secret that IBM is looking to cash in on Linux's massive growth in the business sector.
"Linux is wildly popular for Web and print servers . . . it has passed the number of all Unix servers combined and is second only to Windows in the Intel-based space," Handy said.
The decision to merge the ACCPAC Advantage Series business suite with IBM's DB2 Universal server was based on research of markets across seven different countries. "We saw that businesses were looking for more Linux applications to deploy, especially retail, e-commerce, commercial and financial applications," said Handy.
Meanwhile, both companies are looking to expand their channels' ability to pursue Linux accounts and therefore sell more products and services, and increase margins.
Bill Copeland, ACCPAC's vice president of international business development, said the reduced expense of the Linux platform compared to other operating systems will allow resellers to pocket more margin or submit more competitive tenders by passing the savings on to the customer.
"Linux is an interesting marketing hook, and the ability to support both Windows and Linux gives our channel a unique edge in a slow economy," Copeland said. "Partners are champing at the bit for this."
To get the combined solution off the ground and installed in some sites as swiftly as possible, IBM and ACCPAC will pair their channel partners to compensate for any skill deficiencies. ACCPAC-trained dealers will be matched to Linux and/or DB2-versed dealers and vice versa.
"We're offering a lot of promotions around this to help ease the partnership," Handy said. IBM will, for example, subsidise training for existing DB2 users, while Copeland said ACCPAC would make similar arrangements.
According to Handy, Linux's reliability, performance and cost has silenced the sceptics who say it isn't good enough for business applications. The code that techies were sneaking in via the backdoor 18 months ago is now being signed off by the chief technology officer, he said.