IBM reveals EON kit

IBM is planning a series of announcements next month that will include new software for its RS/6000 and AS/400 platforms, and new desktop systems as part of its EON (Edge of the Network) initiative.

Later this month, the company will move to bridge communication between its Unix-based servers and handheld devices through an XML-based application that lets IT managers configure and manage devices including 3Com's best-selling Palm and IBM's WorkPad.

Called System Networking, Analysis, and Performance Pilot (SNAPP), the application resides on IBM's RS/6000 B50 server, known as Pizzazz. SNAPP helps users with the installation process and does not require the installer to have expert knowledge of the hardware or of Unix, according to those familiar with the product.

The technology is designed primarily for ISPs and ASPs with multiple racks of RS/6000 B50 servers to support their Internet sites.

Explaining how it works, sources familiar with the product said the software exchanges data back and forth from the server and clients, but eliminates the need for users to connect a monitor, a keyboard, or a mouse to each server for configuration and systems monitoring.

Because the software is XML-based, users can also modify the application to monitor and control other features of the host system including the processor and the performance of the disk drive.

Besides handling the initial RS/6000 configuration, SNAPP can also carry out system monitoring, Web server management, and system configuration reporting.

The version of the product for managing the Palm can be downloaded at For IBM users, there is no charge. SNAPP requires the Palm OS Version 3.0 or later.

Also last week IBM formally rolled out its new sleekly designed EON desktop systems. These will be accompanied by a broader line of Web-centric PC-based devices and Internet appliances. The devices are expected to leverage a variety of services aimed at small-to-midsize businesses and consumers with heavy emphasis on connecting to the Web, one IBM source said.

`This is a big step for them. They have been behind the other PC vendors in modernising and streamlining their desktop designs,' said Bruce Stephen, PC Research group vice president at analyst International Data Corp.