IBM Offers Remote Management

The company's Global Services puts its stamp of approval on the management services provider business model with its Services Anywhere offering.

IBM Global Services on Friday put its stamp of approval on the management services provider business model when it launched its Services Anywhere remote management offering.

The IBM Managed Hosting-Services Anywhere offering provides a range of remote management functions for enterprise web sites located at the customers site. IGS is offering the service in the Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia- Pacific regions.

The services offering can be used as an extension of an enterprises IT staff when it wants to expand its Web sites but doesnt have the technical resources to manage it. It can also be used to remotely manage Web sites that customers prefer to have physical control over, said Bill Schumacher, global offering executive for IGS, in Tampa, Fla.

Industry analysts believe that enterprises are increasingly looking to take back that control over their Web infrastructure, said Bruce Caldwell, principal analyst with Gartner Inc., in Riverhead, N.Y. "Weve hearing that clients want to take their servers back in-house. That is driving demand for this," Caldwell said.

The move is in part motivated by concerns over the financial stability of hosting companies as well as by physical security concerns, he said. At the same time, enterprises have used hosting and ASP offerings as transitional services. "Theyve outsourced development and deployment of new systems, then once theyre stable, they bring them back in house," he said.

IBM is extending the managed services it offers at its hosting centers to customer sites through an "infrastructure cabinet" that IBM technicians install at the customers location. The cabinet contains network switches, a firewall, a remote KVM switch that allows IGS operators to remotely power on reset devices connected to it and servers that capture monitoring data that is fed back to a central management server in IBMs operations center in Research Triangle Park, NC. "Its a subset of equipment we use in our e-business hosting centers and is dedicated to that customer," Schumacher said. Managed firewalls and load balancers can also be installed in the cabinet, which is connected to the clients servers and communicates with the operations center through a Virtual Private Network connection supplied by Virtela Communications.

Clients can opt to buy nearly any of the managed services available at IBM e-business hosting facilities. "We will monitor and manage servers and proactively take action based on what the customers desires are. We can install managed firewalls for them, do local and geographical load balancing," Schumacher said. Customers can also opt for a range of security services, performance services, application support services as well as advanced network and systems monitoring services offered through IBM business partners Siterock Corp. (now Avasta) and Keynote Systems Corp.

Services Anywhere covers any vendors equipment, including servers from Sun Microsystems Inc., and it starts at $50,000 for a one-time installation fee and $25,000 per month.