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IBM names head of networks drive

Big Blue appoints Linda Sanford of its storage group to lead its new On-Demand initiative to create more powerful and responsive computer networks.

IBM has appointed a veteran executive to run its new On-Demand initiative to create more powerful and responsive computer networks.

The company tapped Linda Sanford, senior vice president of its storage group, to lead the initiative, a company representative said Thursday.

Sanford, known as a leader inside the ranks of IBM, will oversee the effort to percolate On-Demand technology through the company's various internal groups, including those dealing with research, software, services, servers and desktop PCs.

IBM, which announced the new strategy last week in a speech by CEO Sam Palmisano, said that future networks will use advances such as grid computing and autonomic controls to boost the availability, power and flexibility of computers. Ultimately, IBM asserts, the initiative will make it easy for businesses to buy computing power on demand, similar to the way they buy electricity or other services.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, who is currently vice president of technology and strategy for IBM's server group, will provide a more public face for the initiative. He will be in charge of working with customers to help mold them into On-Demand businesses, the representative said.

IBM will not find a replacement to fill Sanford's current role. Instead, the company will merge the storage and server groups under the leadership of Bill Zeitler, senior vice president for the server group, the representative said. The two groups had started off as a single unit, and IBM is putting them back together to ensure closer ties between the product lines.

Most customers now expect to buy bundles that include both server hardware and storage systems, instead of purchasing them separately as they had been doing, the representative said.