IBM kicks service provider efforts into overdrive

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- IBM showed its enthusiasm for hosted applications Tuesday, unveiling a new set of products and services to help service providers and software developers beef up their network-based computing offerings.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- IBM showed its enthusiasm for hosted applications Tuesday, unveiling a new set of products and services to help service providers and software developers beef up their network-based computing offerings.

The IBM Service Providers for e-Business initiative, announced here at the Fall ISPCON conference, includes a program to help ISVs prepare applications for Web delivery, a testing and certification regimen for ISPs looking to host applications, and a series of ready-to-rent applications from Big Blue subsidiary Lotus Development Corp.

"IBM understands the size and the attractiveness of this opportunity, and we are dead serious about winning," said Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM's Global Internet Service Provider Industry. "We really have mobilized the entire company in support of service providers."

ASP Prime

A key feature of the Service Providers for e-Business program is the new ASP Prime for software developers. For fees yet to be disclosed, IBM will provide education to ISVs, perform an assessment of their applications, help make those apps Web-ready and point the ISV to an appropriate hosting provider.

As part of ASP Prime, IBM is giving participating ISVs access to two new test and development centers -- one in Beaverton, Ore., for Unix and Windows NT, another in Rochester, Minn., for AS/400.

On the hosting front, IBM's new initiative includes Hosting Advantage, which helps an ISP build and test its hosting infrastructure. Those that pass are given IBM PartnerWorld Premier status and are lined up with ASP Prime participants looking for hosts.

Hosting Advantage tests "critical elements that a service provider needs to create a dependable and a robust hosting environment," said Buell Duncan III, general manager of IBM Global Business partners.

Lotus ASP Solution Pack

The Lotus ASP Solution Pack, a third piece of IBM's new offering, features specialized servers and prepackaged business applications ready for hosting and delivery by an ASP. The ASP Solution Pack includes an integrated portal to manage applications such as messaging, scheduling and team collaboration.

"Lotus has provided us with a one-stop shop, which is very powerful," said Jim Lidestri, president of Interliant Inc., an ASP and Web hosting company in Purchase, N.Y. "It allows us to provide solutions faster to the customer more cost-effectively."

The Service Providers for e-Business program also includes a number of a la carte services, including consulting, end-user education, recovery and performance management.

IBM can be reached at www.ibm.com.

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