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Tivoli adds small business tools

The IBM subsidiary will ship IT Director, a new suite of software tools targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, in July.

IBM subsidiary Tivoli Systems has targeted small and medium-sized businesses for its next set of software, pitting it against veterans of the market such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Network Associates.

Tivoli announced it will ship a new suite of software tools called IT Director in July and will add a distributor and reseller channel for the launch of the product. The software includes applications management, automation tools, Net-based administration, software distribution, inventory management, network management, and remote control functions. Third-party management software providers have also pledged to snap their applications into the suite.

"This is a very strategic move for Tivoli. We've invested a lot of money in this over the past year," said Martin Neath, senior vice president of Tivoli's products group. "We're anticipating this will be a multihundred-million-dollar business for us over the next couple of years."

Tivoli has added reseller support from giants Ingram Micro and Tech Data, marking the first time a third-party sales channel has been utilized by the IBM subsidiary.

Tivoli executives believe their package differs from those from Intel, HP, and Network Associates because it incorporates features such as applications management that are normally found in enterprise-class management software tools, like Tivoli's own TME 10. The suite is targeted at companies with 200 to 600 employees and a small information technology staff.

Intel currently leads the market for management software targeted at PC LANs (local area network), according to various market researchers.

Tivoli will add snap-ins for management of specific applications, like Lotus Notes and Microsoft's SQL Server and Exchange, over the course of the summer.

IT Director has been in beta testing since the beginning of the year. The software runs on Microsoft's Windows NT operating system and supports clients like Windows 95, IBM's OS/2, and Novell's Netware. An IT Director Management server costs $8,995 with a 20-node license. Packs for more managed nodes start at $2,295 for 20.