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IBM expands data centers, on-demand service

Big Blue enhances its "on demand" offering for companies through its data centers.

IBM announced on Friday that it is expanding on-demand data management centers in North America, Europe and Asia and is offering a new set of utility services.

Eleven centers spread over the United States, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Singapore will be expanded, IBM said.

Universal Management Infrastructure, IBM's software, architecture and "best practices" program, is designed to let customers integrate business processes and related applications on a virtual infrastructure, the company said. It supports multiplatform server environments. Rivals such as Hewlett-Packard also offer utility computing services.

IBM has announced three services enabled by UMI. A service has been created to help companies design, build and run their utility computing environment. Another offering, Flexible Demand Option, is designed to let companies share physical assets while operating in security-enhanced partitions, and to pay for service based on capacity utilization. Both of these services are available immediately to customers worldwide, the company said.

Another service to be introduced later this year is a hosted customer relationship management product designed for the financial services, high-tech, life sciences and automotive industries.

Big Blue did not announce pricing on the new offers.

"Clients today face increasingly complex and costly data center management," Mark Morin, general manager for IBM Global Services, said in a statement. "The capabilities we are announcing give clients an on-demand infrastructure that eases data center management, which ultimately can help clients drive better business results."