Cable & Wireless has launched its first application-hosting services, which promise users an affordable and easy way to support enterprise software.
Seen for the first time at NetWorld+Interop 2000 in Atlanta, the company's a-services offering includes desktop appliances, firewall routers, dedicated Internet connectivity and a suite of applications starting at $US169 per user per month for the entire package. Cable & Wireless has been developing this service offering since last November, when it announced plans to work with Compaq Computer, Oracle and Microsoft to develop application hosting services.
The service provider plans to launch a number of a-services' bundles. The first, dubbed a-Workplace, offers users Microsoft Office 2000 and Exchange 2000 application hosting. The service includes a Compaq iPAQ desktop Internet appliance for each user, a fire-wall from Nokia and a dedicated T-1 connection to the Internet that is monitored 24/7.
Boston Corporate Art has been testing a-Workplace with 10 employees, using Office applications and Exchange e-mail, says Woody Rawlins, president of the Boston firm that acquires fine art for businesses.
"The biggest benefit for a small business like mine is that we now have this technology right on our desktop and we don't need an in-house IT person to worry about it," he said.
Rawlins is happy with the service but says he won't make a final decision until he hears more about the additional applications Cable & Wireless will support.
The service provider plans to launch salesforce automation, and marketing and accounting application-hosting bundles before year-end, says Jeremy Thompson, president of the Cable & Wireless ASP group. Although Cable & Wireless would not comment on which software they will support, it seems that Oracle applications will be on the list based on the company's previous announcement.
While Cable & Wireless' application-hosting services are directed toward small and midsize businesses, the offering will have a global reach. The service provider's data centre in Reston supports a-services today, and plans exist to bring a second data centre online in the UK in the next few months.
By mid-2001, the company will have a-services support in data centres in Japan, and other parts of Asia and Europe, Thompson says.