IBM has introduced new services that provide remote access to server computing resources and are priced based on usage.
Aimed at companies that don't want to incur in the expense of buying, managing and maintaining their own servers, IBM's Virtual Server Services lets companies buy server computing power from Big Blue. Customers then pay for what they use in the way utilities such as water and electricity are billed.
IBM refers to this model as on-demand computing. Other vendors such as Hewlett-Packard have also embraced this approach.
The servers in question are owned and managed by IBM and kept at the vendor's data centers. Computing power is delivered remotely to clients. After charging customers a one-time set up fee, IBM bills them according to usage every month.
Customers can buy computing capacity on IBM's eServer xSeries machines based on Windows operating systems; eServer iSeries running OS/400; and eServer pSeries AIX-based Unix servers. In July 2002 IBM had already introduced a similar service for IBM zSeries mainframes running Linux.
IBM also makes available on a similar on-demand basis network capacity and complementary managed server services, such as Internet connectivity, storage, backup and firewall.