WorldCom expands options on hosting services

Companies can now upgrade their basic Web-hosting service from WorldCom Inc. with storage, global load balancing and IP VPN (Internet Protocol virtual private network) services at their own pace, the company announced Wednesday.

The "a la carte" offerings are an alternative to a fully managed service for customers that want to outsource more functions to the service provider, said Rebecca Carr, director of global hosting services at WorldCom, in Clinton, Mississippi.

The services give enterprises a new way to move up from a limited relationship in which WorldCom provides essentially collocation space and an Internet connection to one that may include WorldCom staffing, storage hosting and secure remote connectivity. Demand is growing for outsourced hosting services, especially for storage, as companies seek to make their applications and data highly available and secure, Carr said.

"This is where the enterprise is going for storage, because of the complexity of storage and the rate at which it has grown," Carr said.

WorldCom has built what it calls storage POPs (points of presence) in five of its North American Internet data centers -- in Boston; Chicago; San Jose, California; Carteret, New Jersey, and northern Virginia. It plans to expand the offering to all North American data centers by year's end and to other regions of the world next year, Carr said.

At the storage POPs, customers will be able to lease servers, or install their own servers, and link them up to storage arrays provided by WorldCom. Companies may use the service for redundant or primary storage. Storage services on offer include WorldCom Backup and Restore Services, which backs up the data in a company's collocation space to a special storage cage in the facility; WorldCom Storage Area Network (SAN) services, with fully managed storage capacity for database and transaction-oriented applications; and WorldCom Network Attached Storage Services, which is managed primary storage for file-serving applications.

WorldCom Global Server Load Balancing Services extends load balancing among separate servers a customer may have in one data center to servers in multiple locations, providing a degree of failover capability. WorldCom will continuously monitor usage and divert traffic to an available server. The load balancing is available now at WorldCom's 14 North American data centers and will be expanded around the world next year.

The WorldCom IP VPN Remote Services with Colocation lets companies get secure connectivity to their WorldCom-hosted resources from more than 80 countries, including from employees on the road. WorldCom provides the service using a Nortel Networks Corp. Contivity VPN switch at the customer site that is managed by WorldCom.

WorldCom's storage services are priced from US$3,500 per month. Pricing of load-balancing service starts at $600 per month. The IP VPN service is priced based on number of users, starting at $400 per month. A flat-rate VPN pricing plan also is available at $7.95 per month per user. All the services are available immediately.

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