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IBM Debuts Online Filing Cabinet

IBM Global Services Wednesday kicked off a pay-as-you-go storage program as part of its "IT-on-demand" initiative.

At IBM, IT-on-demand refers to the emerging model of outsourced services that companies use to deliver networked utilities from a third party on an as-needed basis.

By adding pay-as-you-go hosted storage and storage management to its portfolio of network-delivered services, IBM Global Services continues to build its future on the side of the application service provider market segment.

The business unit already offers a variety of web hosting solutions for the bandwidth intense e-marketplace and is currently translating its network-delivered services to the wireless market.

Industry analysts project that the total market for network-delivered services could exceed $45 billion by 2003, with the storage segment accounting for as much as $8 billion.

According to a recent report from IDC, IBM Global Services has a commanding position in the worldwide network consulting and integration services market, garnering some 16 percent of revenues worldwide.

With annual revenues exceeding $20 billion, IBM Global Services is one of the most profitable consulting services in the industry. It's a sure bet that IBM is looking to pickup another $1.28 billion from its managed storage solution offering over the next three years.

Ginni Rometty, IBM Global Service general manager of strategy, said its network-delivered services are an extension of the company's strategic outsourcing business supported by its extensive consulting and integration skills.

"As companies focus on harnessing the potential of e-business, they are looking to outsource as much of their day-to-day technology operations as possible," Rometty said. "With network-delivered services, companies get the technology they need when they need it, while also reducing capital expenditures and staffing requirements."

More than 140,000 consultants in 160 countries will be tasked with selling its new storage services to a diverse range of clients worldwide. In addition to offering its storage services directly to customers, IBM also delivers storage services through ISPs, ASPs and other leading outsourcing services. The new storage services are available in the U.S., while IBM plans to rollout worldwide services soon.

According to Roger Schwanhausser, IBM Global Services director of storage and storage area network services, web-based marketing, business intelligence and other e-business capabilities are creating an unprecedented demand for access to stored data.

"In the e-business environment, storage requirements are becoming increasingly complex," Schwanhausser said. "As businesses become more information-centric, they must be able to catalog and distribute growing volumes of data, and handle the flow of content-rich audio and video traffic over the network."

The new storage services allow IBM clients the option of purchasing an online filing cabinet on-site, at the customer's premises, or off-site at one of IBM's 175 data centers sprinkled around the globe. Clients can further customize storage solutions by electing to use a hybrid filing method that keeps some data in-house while outsourcing the rest.

ChartOne is an ASP that manages medical records for healthcare providers nationwide. It is using IBM's hosted storage solutions to maintain patient records in a secure environment in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Ivar Chhina, ChartOne president and chief operating officer, said the IBM hosted storage solution was helping the dot-com start-up reduce its operating costs.

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