Loudcloud offers "pick and choose" managed services

The Internet infrastructure management provider Loudcloud has announced that it is offering companies a modular outsourcing...

The Internet infrastructure management provider Loudcloud has announced that it is offering companies a modular outsourcing service.

"Where there used to be a one-size-fits-all service, we are making these services modular, where the customer can pick and choose," said Angela Rizzo, Loudcloud's director of product management.

Enterprise customers can now select from several application management service offerings, including monitoring and reporting, risk management, application and database support, she said.

The cost of using Loudcloud's entire system - about $100,000 (£70,281) a month - will be reduced if fewer network management needs are outsourced, Loudcloud officials said.

One analyst said that the approach of offering services as components makes sense by allowing enterprise customers to see how well outsourcing works, and how much can be achieved in cost savings.

"Loudcloud is offering them [enterprises] exactly what they want," said Jeanne Schaaf, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. "Not every customer wants to outsource their whole Web site.

Ed Godycki, chief technical officer of US-based online movie ticket vendor Fandango, said his company is content to have Loudcloud manage the company's network. Still, the full Loudcloud service, "shoehorns you into their model of how managed services should work," Godycki said.

But Godycki said that he plans to continue to use the full service. "They are managing my networks 100% and I sleep well knowing that," he said.

Loudcloud, started in October 1999 by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, is jockeying for position in an extremely competitive managed services provider market, said Bill Martorelli, vice-president of the research firm, the Hurwitz Group. The competition includes Totality, Digex and Intira, as well as the service arms of IBM and Intel.

"What Loudcloud is doing is eliminating some sources of potential customer objections, because the perception of being high-priced has dogged them," Martorelli said. "They are taking good steps to make themselves viable and attractive.

Loudcloud raised $140m in a public stock offering in February, and reported a $63m net loss in June.

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