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Just-In-Time Storage Delivery?

Gambling with storage capacity is a high-stakes game. E-commerce can boom or it can screech to a halt, leaving CIOs with white-knuckle levels of storage or budget-swamping excess capacity.

Enter IBM's pay-as-you-go Step Ahead program through which customers with certain IBM storage devices can grab extra storage when they need it. They can get more capacity than they need when they buy the devices. When they access the extra capacity, the hardware itself contacts IBM, which bills customers later. Step Ahead capacities are chunks of 210, 420, 490, or 980 Gbytes.

Step Ahead prices for the Enterprise Storage Server, for example,starts with an up-front service charge equal to 25% of the list price for the amount of storage being bought. When extra capacity is turned on, customers will pay between $16,500 for 210 Gbytes and $41,000 for 980 Gbytes.

Industry analyst Mike Kahn at the Clipper Group says this could mean just-in-time delivery of storage for CIOs. "When they have too much, they pay a premium as prices are lower later on," says Kahn and, of course, they have to justify the higher cost. "When they have too little, it takes a lot of manual administration to move capacity around and that's a waste of human resources."

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