SOURCE: IBM

January 13, 2008 15:36 ET

IBM Introduces Unique, Secure Blade Solution for Retailers

Over 75 Retail Applications Now Available on BladeCenter S

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - January 13, 2008) - NRF 97th Annual Convention & EXPO 2008 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that its BladeCenter S solution has received IBM Store Integration Framework (SIF) certification, making it ideal for and ready to run in retail store environments. Applications from over 75 SIF-certified Independent Solution Vendors (ISVs) specializing in retail are now available to run on BladeCenter S, the industry's first blade computing system specially designed to help retailers simplify the management of technology needed to operate a store -- from servers, to phone systems and antivirus applications -- in a single system.

"IBM BladeCenter S is an ideal platform to host Oracle's SIF-certified applications like Oracle® Retail Back Office, Oracle® Retail Point-of-Service and Oracle® Retail Mobile Point of Service," said Steve Gannon, Senior Director, Product Strategy, Oracle Retail. "Previously, retailers typically had to run disparate hardware and appliances to run the different aspects of the store. BladeCenter S provides an integrated platform with a small footprint, simplifying our retail clients' ability to run Oracle's industry-leading applications."

Other applications available on BladeCenter S to meet the unique, specialized requirements of retailers include:

--  Sanderson Group's RBS~InStore, an integrated web-based retail system
    that centrally manages and controls the network of point-of-sale terminals,
    devices and channels present in a store. The solution replicates sales and
    inventory transactions around the store, allowing users to view the latest
    store data from any browser-enabled device.
--  Planar Systems' CoolSign Digital Signage Software, designed so
    retailers can instantly change the content on their digital signage screens
    based on time of day, location and audience demographics.
--  WorkPlace Systems' Workforce Management for Retail and Hospitality,
    allowing retailers to optimally schedule and track staff to reduce labor
    costs and provide customer service at the right level.
    

For a complete list of SIF-certified applications, visit http://www-304.ibm.com/jct09002c/gsdod/weblistfilter.do?prog=RFRSI&tab=1.

BladeCenter S is "right-sized" to sit in a store environment and plugs into a standard 110 volt power outlet so IT administrators at a retailers' headquarters can easily pre-configure hundreds of blade systems and ship them out to their store locations knowing a store employee will be able to simply plug the system in and power it up. This dramatically changes the technology roll-out paradigm for firms with multiple locations by providing servers, storage, switching and even back-up and a KVM switch in a single lockable, shippable unit.

"BladeCenter S is quiet enough to run in the store, blocks contaminates commonly found in retail environments like dust and is a self-contained, secure unit with a locking door designed to help protect store data in all settings," said Alex Yost, vice president of IBM BladeCenter. "BladeCenter S eliminates the need for retailers to build a separate datacenter in all of their store locations as it is itself a 'datacenter in-a-box' that can securely and centrally manage an entire store without requiring air conditioning or extra power. These same attributes also make BladeCenter S ideal for smaller firms."

BladeCenter S is also now available with IBM's advanced Smart Surveillance System, which integrates data from a variety of monitoring devices like video cameras and radar and applies advanced analytics to improve security and reduce security overhead. Among Smart Surveillance System's most exciting capabilities is its ability to anticipate incidents by identifying suspicious behaviors and even face capture while preserving the privacy of people in a monitored space.

Pricing and Availability

IBM BladeCenter S is available now. BladeCenter S starts at $2,599, which includes power supplies, fans, rack rails and a DVD/CD combo drive. This is at least $2,000 less than the closest current comparable competitive offering.

About IBM BladeCenter

IBM has the broadest portfolio of blade offerings in the industry, including five blade enclosures, five compatible server blades and five I/O fabrics with a common architecture that allows clients to mix and match offerings. IBM has also taken a unique approach in the industry by opening up the IBM BladeCenter hardware architecture, which has created market and revenue opportunities for hundreds of companies selling peripherals like network and storage cards, switches and software. Since opening the BladeCenter specifications in 2004, 500 companies have downloaded the specifications for free. For more information about IBM BladeCenter, please visit: www.ibm.com/bladecenter.

The following are either trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both: IBM and BladeCenter. For a list of additional IBM trademarks, please see www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates.

All others are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Statements concerning IBM's future development plans and schedules are made for planning purposes only, and are subject to change or withdrawal without notice.

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