IBM has taken its hosting business to the next level. It has been offering Linux application hosting for a year, and is now adding it on Windows, AIX and AS400 architectures, as its iSeries, pSeries and xSeries.
IBM refers to all these hosting offerings as its Virtual Server Service, promising hosting in isolated environments and only charge each customer for the cycles they use, with a set up fee and monthly "on demand" charges.
These virtual servers are deployed at an IBM Service Delivery Center and managed by IBM Global Services and offer additional services, connection to the net, caching, storage and backup services, firewalls and load balancing, this latter through a partnership with Inkra Networks.
IBM says it is the first vendor to offer businesses a choice of Windows-based, Unix-based, or Linux-based server processing and network capacity delivered on demand. IBM launched its first hosting service on Linux running on zSeries mainframes last July and IBM predicts savings of between 15-30 per cent using its virtual server service versus owning the machines outright. Prices were not given.