Announced Wednesday, the partnership is largely based on the concept that many midsize businesses want sophisticated computing services, but can't afford the capital investment; they will be able to obtain those services through the IBM-Qwest deal.
Qwest already operates nationwide managed services on its networks and IBM, of course, already has a wide variety of security, unified communications, and network management services.
"Advanced, end-to-end IT services that are automated and easily integrated into a client's network are the value adds of this alliance," said Qwest's Eric Bozich, who noted that the alliance is an example of the investments Qwest is making in next generation network technologies. Bozich is VP of Qwest Business Markets Group Product Management.
The Qwest Business unit is supported by the firm's portfolio of data and voice networking services for business enterprises, government agencies, and educational institutions. The firm recently toyed with the idea of selling its fiber network -- one of the largest in the United States -- but decided against it when it deemed purchase offers were too low. The network can support 40-Gbps transmission rates.
IBM brings some of its most advanced IT solutions to the partnership including its managed security services that deliver year-round around-the-clock protection against viruses, spam, and other computer pestilences. Also offered, is IBM's network management services powered by IBM's ERMIS (Express Remote Management Infrastructure Services) offering. The automated service monitors data network performance and generally initiates resolution of problems before they get out of hand.
IBM also contributes its Unified Communications Services solution -- also managed by ERMIS -- to the partnership. The UC solution supports and monitors configurations of less than 100 phones, enabling customers to upgrade to simple IP communications systems. "Through this partnership," said Richard Stomp, VP and managing director for Qwest at IBM, "clients will have access to a powerful, yet simplified ecosystem for unified communications, data protection, and communications infrastructure management."
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