IBM Global Services flexes Web-hosting muscle

IBM Global Services flexes Web-hosting muscle

IBM Global Services, considered by some analysts to be a sleeping giant among the struggling managed hosting services provider market, announced a set of 30 new service offerings for its Web-hosting customers this week.

Including a wide array of offerings ranging from security assessments and design, to Linux implementation for the Intel hardware platform, to assisting small Web-hosting customers with their retail Web site implementation, IBM Global Services claims to be focused on fulfilling customer needs beyond co-location services.

"In [large enterprise] companies, they tend to outsource for skill and resource vs. outsourcing for facility [usage]," said said Jim Gant, vice president of e-business hosting for IBM Global Services. "Most of our customers have data centers. They don't need space, they need speed to market."

Despite its global customer base and hosting capabilities, IBM Global Services has garnered lukewarm attention over the past few years compared to its heavy-marketed Web-hosting competitors such as Digex, Exodus Communications, and Verio, said Dana Tardelli, research analyst for the Aberdeen Group.

"[IBM Global Services] is an organisation that through its history attracts the types of customers that have an affinity toward outsourcing and a need to solve a business problem," Tardelli said. "Those are the types of customers [all Web hosters] salivate over."

Tardelli said Digex, a solid market leader still working out the kinks of its acquisition by telecomm company Worldcom, stands as the strongest competitor to IBM's Web-hosting fortunes since it, too, is not shackled by a glut of unused co-location space that is causing pain to other industry players.

The IBM Global Services hosting security services announced on Tuesday include security health check, which allows customers to identify vulnerabilities and enable their Web sites for attack preparation, and firewall management and design to protect applications from unwanted visitor tampering. The security bundle also includes intrusion detection and anti-virus services, Gant said.

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