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Merit Network to Present Five New Services for 2011 at Annual Member Conference

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today that it will present five new service offerings at its annual Member Conference. The services are optimized to leverage Merit’s high-performance network and deliver significant value.

The new services, Merit Cloud Storage, Merit VirtualDataCenters, Merit VirtualDesktops, Merit WebConnect, and MeritTransport, will be presented during the Merit Services Track at the Merit Member Conference, to be held Wednesday and Thursday, May 18-19, 2011, at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ann Arbor.

“Merit is committed to expanding our service offerings to better meet the needs of our Membership in the 21st century,” said Merit Network President and CEO, Don Welch.

“All of the five new service offerings that will go into production this summer are enterprise-level, and will create a number of ways for our Members to leverage their Membership and Merit’s leading-edge network in support of their ongoing operations and accomplish more with less.”

The new services have been developed in response to Merit Members’ requests for more “nearsourced” solutions. When Members “nearsource,” they elect to have Merit Network deliver service solutions over its secure network rather than support the service in-house which can strain IT staff and budgets.

Because Merit is a local provider, Members receive the benefits of hosted services with an organization they are familiar with. And by utilizing the same organization they have trusted to provide networking and connectivity for years, they can leverage economies of scale and consolidate billing and support.

One example of how Merit Members can take advantage of nearsourcing is through Merit Cloud Storage, a cost-effective solution that offers bulk storage on an enterprise-level array. It is ideal for disaster recovery and offers fixed pricing and flexible storage options.

Merit never performs data mining or similar invasive practices on Member data stored using the Merit Cloud Storage service.

“Merit Cloud Storage and the suite of Merit Cloud Services provide the foundation for a Merit Community-based cloud,” explained Welch. “As more Members see the value in nearsourcing with Merit, economies of scale and efficiency are created, and those benefits are shared throughout Merit’s Membership.”

Merit Cloud Storage is one of a suite of Merit Cloud Services, which also includes Merit VirtualDataCenters and Merit VirtualDesktops.

Through virtualization, Merit VirtualDataCenters (VDCs) make resources resistant to adverse circumstances and enable the consolidation of existing servers to reduce costs. Members can expand infrastructure resources and reduce power requirements without additional capital expenses.

“As IT budgets continue to tighten, organizations are searching for ways to get more computing power without investing in additional physical hardware or expanding server rooms,” said Leslie Williamson, director of services and product development for Merit Network. “Merit has developed the Merit VDC service to provide our Members with a solution that tackles this problem and leverages their trusted, secure connection to Merit’s network.”

Williamson went on to comment on the Merit VirtualDesktops service: “we are also developing a service that relieves one of the most common workloads for IT staff: the desktop environment,” she said. “Merit VirtualDesktops will provide Member organizations with sustainable desktop environments and lower management costs.”

Merit Cloud Storage and Merit VirtualDataCenters are currently in production. Merit VirtualDesktops is in the pilot stage of development and will enter pilot production mode Summer 2011. Rounding out Merit Network’s new service offerings are Merit WebConnect, which goes into production May 30, 2011 and MeritTransport, which is also targeted for production Summer 2011.

Merit WebConnect is a web conferencing collaboration tool that offers low-cost, usage-based pricing for video, audio and web conferencing via a single online interface. The service provides a shared whiteboard and chat window for conference participants and enables the sharing of desktops and applications. There is no host subscription required to use this service.

MeritTransport provides dedicated, point-to-point, optical transport service for organizations that require a private circuit over Merit’s backbone. Since the service is not based on metered usage or mileage, it can offer significant cost savings and higher connection speeds between sites.

Merit has added a Service Road Map to the Merit Member Portal, providing Merit Members with the opportunity to follow the service development process. Individuals may view details on a service’s development, offer suggestions and provide valuable input on current and future services, and request participation in pilot programs for new services.

To learn more, be sure to attend the Merit Services Track Presentations at the 2011 Merit Member Conference.

Those interested in Merit’s new service offerings or for more information should contact Merit at [email protected] or call 734-527-5785.