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IBM Touts Web Hosting On Demand

Web hosters beware. Big Blue is coming for your business.

Armonk, N.Y.'s IBM Friday revealed one of its Web services strategies for helping customers remotely manage their intranets, extranets, and various other corporate functions, without the fuss of an offsite hosting company.

In keeping with the current hot trend of services provisions from remote locations, Big Blue is calling its new brand of managed hosting "Services Anywhere." With this particular service, IBM pledges to manage an enterprise's server infrastructure, saving a customer the trouble of relocating hosting to a separate party.

How does this plan work? IBM technicians will build a remote management console at the customer's building, which will be connected to servers (not necessarily IBM) at the customer's hosting space. In the interest of security, this console uses a virtual private network (VPN) connection, established between customer sites and an IBM hosting center, to enable hosting-based services to be delivered to customers.

IBM claims businesses can save a bundle with this approach. While some in Big blue's camp are acknowledging this as a first, Gartner analyst Bruce Caldwell isn't so sure. Caldwell did say this managed service provision was unique in its deployment ability across the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.

Caldwell said he and fellow analysts have noticed more businesses are beginning to bring Web hosting back in-house, as opposed to seeking outside facilities.

"We see a number of reasons for this," Caldwell told internetnews.com. "One, of course, is control. Why pay someone else for floorspace and bandwidth when you don't have to? Another is the need for people to eliminate travel. And another is that companies enjoy the stability of the environment [by managing services in-house]"

Caldwell also said hosting is being used by some companies as a transitional service in a time where businesses are looking to focus on design and application infrastructure.

For this e-business-on-demand venture, IBM has enlisted the help of partner Virtela Communications to deploy VPN services between IBM facilities and customer locales in the U.S. Regional VPN providers will deploy Services Anywhere on a global basis.

The service also provides customers with network and systems monitoring services, including standard server monitoring services, site and component monitoring services, courtesy of siteROCK. Monitors are used to notify customers when a problem occurs.