Candle packages WebSphere services and tools

Technology solutions group Candle has announced a series of packaged services and tools to help customers design and build an...

Technology solutions group Candle has announced a series of packaged services and tools to help customers design and build an application infrastructure using IBM's WebSphere middleware, including its WebSphere Application Server and MQ products.

Candle has offered tools and services for IBM middleware customers for some time but recently acknowledged that its offerings had become fragmented.

Responding to the slow economy, which has led customers to attempt more focused projects with faster returns, the company came up with the series of modular, fixed-price offerings announced today.

"We recognised we had a very fragmented approach and at the beginning of the year we realised we needed to draw those assets together and package them," said David Caddis, vice-president of Candle's application infrastructure management group.

The result of the company's rethink is PathWAI, which comprises seven packages of services and tools that range in starting price from $17,000 (£10,827) to about $100,000. They include modules for designing a WebSphere infrastructure, validating the design through pilot projects, pre-production testing and tuning, and ongoing management and monitoring.

PathWAI aims to help companies spend as little as possible on rolling out their initial applications, but also allows for later additions to the system.

Departments typically do not want to foot the bill for an infrastructure that will be used eventually to support all of a company's applications, so helping customers build in a modular fashion was a priority, Caddis said.

One analyst predicted PathWAI would be especially popular among IBM's customers.

"I think it's a nice offering because Candle does have a depth of expertise in WebSphere," said Audrey Rasmussen, vice-president and analyst with research group Enterprise Management Associates.

"When you create a custom solution for a customer you have to work out a lot of the bugs, but when you offer solutions like this to a lot of customers, then the bugs become fewer and in the long run you get more reliable code."

IBM is the largest customer for Candle's WebSphere tools. Caddis said he was not afraid of competition from IBM Global Services because that group tends to deal with much larger projects.

"A $100,000 services engagement is probably not something that's very effective for IBM to go after, their typical engagement is much larger," he said.

"We're not a systems integrator," he added. "The value we try to deliver is the domain expertise that can give customers a degree of self-sufficiency. We aren't there to do $5m service engagements, we're there to get them past the pain points."

Candle claims to have completed some 2,000 WebSphere implementations over the years. About 80% of those were built around WebSphere MQ, 15% around WebSphere MQ Integrator and 5% around WebSphere Application Server, according to Caddis.

The seven PathWAI modules announced are: Architecture for WebSphere, Development for WebSphere, Deployment for WebSphere, Monitor for WebSphere Application Server, Dashboard for WebSphere Infrastructure, Monitor for WebSphere MQ and Dashboard for WebSphere MQ.

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