Guest Post by Brett Waldman, Analyst, IDC
Recently, IDC completed a Customer Spotlight for Novell with IBM Foundation for Smart Business, which provides the resources and support to help small and midsize businesses (SMBs) easily find, purchase, operate, and manage the technologies that are essential to their businesses.
The challenge: IBM wanted to provide a low-cost, fully-configured, and tested software appliance that was easily customized and deployed across a diverse array of hardware environments. And, IBM knew that if they could deliver a turnkey solution, it could stimulate new growth in the SMB market and cost-effectively provide support services for these customers.
Today, IBM leverages the SUSE Appliance Program from Novell in its IBM Foundation for Smart Business appliance to provide customized and fully tested plug-and-play appliances that SMBs can deploy in a physical, virtual, or cloud environment. This appliance, built on top of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, allows ISVs to integrate with various platforms without additional development or testing and requires no IT experience to run or deploy. The benefits for IBM include decreased time-to-market as well as the ability to expand, penetrate and cost-effectively service the SMB market.
The following is a real-life example of how software appliances can significantly improve an independent software vendor's (ISVs) ability to expand its market presence. One of IBM’s ISVs faced a challenge with its retail inventory management application, which had been running on IBM WebSphere, DB 2, and Linux. The typical time to deploy an application for new customers required 2 to 4 weeks. Skilled personnel had to travel out to the customer’s site to perform low-level system configuration every time an application had to be installed. To complete the setup, the ISV's support staff needed to have knowledge about databases, Web servers, and applications. This limited the vendor’s ability to expand beyond a limited geographical area.
After the ISV moved its application onto IBM Foundation, development time was reduced from one month to two days. The vendor is now able to expand the geographic markets it serves, and is no longer constrained by staff skills or the number of new customers it can add and support.
IDC expects the market for software appliances to grow from $863 million in 2010 to $3.7 billion by 2014, exactly because of the significant benefits ISVs and customers can realize with these easy-to-consume products.
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It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.