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IBM Adds Storage Services

The rapid implementation of E-business initiatives is causing data to flood into IT systems by the gigabyte. In an effort to help companies handle the increasing complexity and cost of storing this data, IBM Global Services has added hosted storage and storage-management services to its portfolio of on-demand IT services.

An estimated 4% of a company's IT budget is dedicated to storage devices and services today, and it's expected to rise to 20% by 2004, says Ginni Rometty, general manager of strategy for IBM Global Services. Storage service providers will play a large role in helping IT keep up with the demand. International Data Corp. predicts the market for network-delivered services will reach $45 billion by 2003, with storage services accounting for $8 billion of that total.

IBM Global Services offers its customers hosted storage and accompanying services such as assessment, archiving, and availability on an as-needed, pay-as--you-go basis. Global Services says storage capacity is available at 175 data centers worldwide, with that number increasing to 240 in the next 18 months.

What sets IBM Global Services apart from competing storage service providers such as StorageNetworks Inc. and Storability Inc. is IBM's ability to combine hosted storage and storage-management services with database, network, and application-hosting services as well, says David Hill, a research director for the Aberdeen Group. The availability of these services from the same provider holds a great deal of appeal for IT departments managing increasingly complex storage systems, Hill says. "Backups used to be done at night, but now administrators today don't have downtime," he says. "They have to do online backup using point-in-time copying."

Pricing for IBM's storage services ranges from $25 to $75 per gigabyte per month, depending on the amount and type of data stored, types of services delivered, and service levels negotiated.

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