EDS introduces prepackaged web hosting service

Traditional high-end outsourcing company EDS is moving into a new market with the introduction of packaged web hosting, network and security services.

Known as the Web Computing Suite of Services, the offering was first launched in the US in February. Medium-to-large organisations, government agencies and internet services providers are expected to adopt the prepackaged solutions which offer core internet-enabling services in addition to specialised add-ons.

Virginia Walker, director of marketing and portfolio management, EDS E.Solutions Asia-Pacific, said the new initiative is a "re-packaging" of services already offered by EDS. According to Walker, six Australian customers including Caltex, Holden and the Department of Education have already signed up for the web hosting services.

Bill LeBlanc, service line manager, EDS marketing and portfolio management, Asia-Pacific, said: "We are applying something we've already been doing for over 30 years and directing it to a new market.

"We have custom-built everything in the past."

Despite the new emphasis on preconfigured solutions, LeBlanc said EDS has no plans to diminish its commitment to delivering customised services. "The high-end customised services are still an important market. We see this as a new market."

According to LeBlanc, the services will be offered in four predefined service packages: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum +, which is a customised service designed for special online events.

Additionally, a wholesale version is available aimed at ISPs and application service providers that use the service under their own brand name.

LeBlanc said that while each package is supported by similar infrastructure -- Windows NT and Unix technology and dedicated servers located at EDS's Burwood data centre -- it is expected each package will attract a different market segment.

Companies seeking an entry-level service are likely to choose the Silver package, e-tailers are the likely customers for Gold, and established B2B players will be attracted to the Platinum service, he said.

In addition to the preconfigured solutions, customers will also be able to choose specific add-ons such as chat room services, streaming media or search engines.

LeBlanc and Walker were unable to forecast revenue expectations for the service, which will initially be offered to the Australian marketplace, before possibly moving to New Zealand and Asia.

They said, however, that the global web hosting market was estimated to reach $US5.5 billion by the end of 2000 and $US26 billion by 2003. Walker also said EDS's E.Solution had contributed $US1 billion in revenue to the company's $US18.5 billion report card for 1999.

"(The service) has been highly successful in the US, with a 400 per cent increase in customers in the area," Walker said.

"We anticipate no reason why that success should not be the same here. There is a high level of involvement in the e-world in Australia," she said.

Pricing for the packages will not be released until the official launch at Internet World on June 6.

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