C&W to host apps

Cable & Wireless has launched its first application-hosting services, which promise users an affordable and easy way to support enterprise software.

Seen for the first time at NetWorld+Interop 2000 in Atlanta, the company's a-services offering includes desktop appliances, firewall routers, dedicated Internet connectivity and a suite of applications starting at $US169 per user per month for the entire package. Cable & Wireless has been developing this service offering since last November, when it announced plans to work with Compaq Computer, Oracle and Microsoft to develop application hosting services.

Launches a-services

The service provider plans to launch a number of a-services' bundles. The first, dubbed a-Workplace, offers users Microsoft Office 2000 and Exchange 2000 application hosting. The service includes a Compaq iPAQ desktop Internet appliance for each user, a fire-wall from Nokia and a dedicated T-1 connection to the Internet that is monitored 24/7.

Boston Corporate Art has been testing a-Workplace with 10 employees, using Office applications and Exchange e-mail, says Woody Rawlins, president of the Boston firm that acquires fine art for businesses.

"The biggest benefit for a small business like mine is that we now have this technology right on our desktop and we don't need an in-house IT person to worry about it," he said.

Rawlins is happy with the service but says he won't make a final decision until he hears more about the additional applications Cable & Wireless will support.

The service provider plans to launch salesforce automation, and marketing and accounting application-hosting bundles before year-end, says Jeremy Thompson, president of the Cable & Wireless ASP group. Although Cable & Wireless would not comment on which software they will support, it seems that Oracle applications will be on the list based on the company's previous announcement.

While Cable & Wireless' application-hosting services are directed toward small and midsize businesses, the offering will have a global reach. The service provider's data centre in Reston supports a-services today, and plans exist to bring a second data centre online in the UK in the next few months.

By mid-2001, the company will have a-services support in data centres in Japan, and other parts of Asia and Europe, Thompson says.