IBM is preparing to launch its new data integration technology, releasing the pricing details and its new name - Information Server - in advance of the release next month.

Formerly codenamed "Hawk", IBM acquired the technology through the 2005 purchase of Ascential for $1.1 billion. Around 75 IBM customers have been beta testing Information Server, IBM said, and more than 35 partners have announced their support for the platform including Cognos, Intel and Sun.

IBM officially announced Information Server yesterday at its Information On Demand conference in California, claiming it was ready to lead the field in understanding, cleansing, transforming and delivering reliable information that had been previously scattered across companies.

The product will also function as an important building block for users looking to adopt the service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach for creating reusable Web applications and services, IBM executives said.

"A whole new category and industry will develop around it," predicted Tom Inman, vice president of marketing at IBM's information management unit. Much in the same way that application server and portal server industry segments have emerged over the past few years, IBM expects an information server market to develop, he added.

Information Server will ship with a copy of IBM's DB2 database and the vendor's Application Server, but the product can be used with third-party offerings as well, according to Pete Fiore, IBM's vice president of information integration solutions. The product is a set of components so customers "can purchase as much or as little as they need," he said. However, Fiore stressed that Information Server was more than a simple software bundle. IBM has re-architected the technologies it gained from Ascential and automated as many common data integration tasks as possible, he said.

An entry-level Information Server configuration will start at $100,000.