IBM offers 'on demand' data center remote management
Companies can outsource data center management and get billed based on service usage
IDG News Service - A new service from IBM lets companies outsource management of their data center and get billed based on service usage volume -- as opposed to upfront fees -- without transferring data center IT assets and employees to the outsourcing provider, IBM announced today.
Previously, in order to engage IBM in an outsourcing project with flexible usage-based billing, clients had to transfer related IT assets and employees to IBM. "This is something we haven't done before," said Dev Mukherjee, vice president of e-business marketing and strategy at IBM Global Services.
The new service, called Strategic Outsourcing Flexible Support Option, will not only offload data center management tasks from the client's IT department, thus saving clients money and freeing the staff to do higher-level work, but also improve the data center's operation, he said.
"Existing customer environments are often siloed, especially if the company has gone through acquisitions or implemented a variety of application suites. The company ends up with islands of technology," Mukherjee said. "We bring business discipline to turn those islands into a pool of technology. This pooling approach increases data center flexibility and utilization."
With this new service, IBM's Global Services unit remotely manages a company's data center from an IBM facility, using its Universal Management Infrastructure, he said. UMI is a combination of systems management, software deployment and configuration management software, architecture workflows and outsourcing methodologies.
Four major steps are involved in rolling out the service, Mukherjee said.
- First, IBM does a thorough assessment of the client's data center to map the infrastructure and identify ways to improve it;
- Second, IBM moves on to consolidating and standardizing the data center environment to simplify its management;
- Third, UMI, created two years ago and rolled out last year, is deployed to link the client's data center with the IBM remote management site;
- And fourth, IBM provides ongoing remote management, most of which is automated, of the client's entire data center or of parts of it, including applications, storage devices, servers and networks.
Pricing varies depending on the scope of the job and is based on the number of components being managed and on service usage volumes, Mukherjee said. This makes it an example of IBM's "on demand" model, in which clients pay according to usage, an increasingly popular option in the IT industry. This is also referred to as utility computing to indicate that clients pay for IT resources in a similar way to which they pay for utilities such as water or electricity.
Strategic Outsourcing Flexible Support Option is available now and has been designed for large and midsize companies,
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