WebSphere Application Server Express will be available on 13 December and is priced at $25 per intranet user or $2,000 (£1,259) per processor for unlimited users. Additional copies for developer use cost $400.
Application servers link back-end applications and database servers to front-end applications and Web servers. The software provides access to the applications, while also supporting its own applications that typically consist of JavaBeans. Security and management services are also built into the software.
In recent months, IBM has stepped up its efforts to attract small and medium-sized businesses. Previously announced WebSphere Express products include WebSphere Portal Server Express and WebSphere Business Connection Express. The suite of products is much cheaper than the bigger offering for enterprise clients.
The WebSphere Express products allow users with minimal technical knowledge to create interactive Web sites where users can share documents, monitor inventory in electronic catalogues or check account or shipping updates. WebSphere Express software runs on a variety of platforms, including Linux and Windows.
To sell its software into the midmarket, IBM came up with the "Express partner pack". Most small and medium-sized companies do not buy direct, so IBM is providing training, porting assistance and marketing support to its channel partners.
Partners also receive five free WebSphere Express licences to help with customer pilots.