IBM: New Technology Means The Cloud's The Limit

The IBM Smart Business cloud portfolio is meant to help clients take complex business processes and turn them into simple services and to provide all the benefits of software as a service, which include lower total cost of ownership, instant scalability, faster deployment and increased productivity.

IBM will offer clients three choices to deploy development and test services: IBM Smart Business Test Cloud, a private cloud behind the client's firewall, built by IBM; smart business development and test on the IBM Cloud, which features Rational "software delivery services;" and IBM CloudBurst, a line of preintegrated hardware, storage, virtualization and networking solutions with a built-in service management system.

Cloud computing has become the hot topic in tech circles recently, as customers look to solution providers and vendors to offer cost-effective, energy-efficient solutions. Every day, 15 petabytes of new information is created, which is more than eight times the information stored in all the libraries in the U.S. While consumers generate 70 percent of that figure, enterprises will be responsible for maintaining 85 percent of it.

IBM is looking to cash in on the trend, but it is not new to "the cloud." For example, Blue Cloud, in which IBM adapted its servers for cloud technology, began in 2008. And it has been a leader in grid technology, which spreads computing among different high-power computers. Competitors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems are all in the cloud space.

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While some herald cloud computing as shepherding in a new era of computing, some wonder if it is mainly a lot of hype and the marketing of services that are not new at all.

"It's an emerging technology," said Bill Peldzus, vice president and competency lead for data center services at Glasshouse. "There are different levels of cloud, and you have to determine what's real and what's not. There are real cloud services: is an example of software as a service. And Amazon is an example of infrastructure as a service."

By moving to cloud computing, companies can reduce the size of data centers. However, despite that potential to increase efficiencies and cut costs, some large enterprises have been hesitant to use cloud services because of security concerns. Solution providers such as Glasshouse and vendors including IBM are hoping to convince skeptics.

Noted Peldzus: "You can offer a private, rather than a public, cloud," which is part of Glasshouse's as well as IBM's offerings. "You'll reduce costs, eliminate performance issues and increase security."