IBM Develops Cloud-Based Data Storage Services

But while the public service would be similar to cloud storage services offered by Amazon, Google and others, an IBM executive said IBM has no plans to compete head-to-head with those vendors in the commodity online data storage market.

The company debuted the IBM Smart Business Storage Cloud service Tuesday at its Information Infrastructure Analyst Summit in Boston. The company also is developing new consulting services around the offering, including helping businesses develop a cloud computing strategy and adapt business processes for cloud computing.

The cloud data storage service is the latest in a stream of cloud computing announcements IBM has made in the past week. The company released a public beta of its cloud-based Smart Business Development and Test system on Oct. 1. And Monday the company debuted LotusLive iNotes, a hosted, lightweight e-mail and collaboration system.

Smart Business Storage Cloud is a private-cloud service that IBM said can support multiple petabytes of data and billions of files. It will incorporate a number of IBM technologies including BladeCenter servers, XIV storage technology and General Parallel File System software. Smart Business Storage Cloud will operate behind a company's firewall and utilize the business' own security and authentication infrastructure.

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Businesses have the option of implementing the Smart Business Storage Cloud on-site to provide cloud services to their users, allowing IBM to run the system on-premise, or have IBM run the system for the customer in one of its data centers, said Jeannie Cotter, vice president of system services within IBM Global Technology Services.

While IBM is now offering the service direct to customers, Cotter said the company is evaluating the role IBM channel partners can play in selling the service.

IBM executives at the analyst summit said the exploding growth of data volumes being created by businesses is driving demand for more efficient ways of storing and managing data. "Information grows like rabbits, reproducing over and over again," said Al Zollar, general manager of IBM's Tivoli management software.

IBM said Smart Business Storage is the first in a portfolio of cloud-based data storage and analysis systems. The company plans to develop a "business-grade public cloud for storage." But Cotter said it's not IBM's intention to compete with other online storage service providers such as Amazon and Google, although she conceded IBM's public cloud storage service would be similar in concept.

IBM also debuted IBM Information Archive, a data repository appliance that uses disk and tape technology to archive structured and unstructured information. The system, which can be accessed in a private cloud computing environment, includes IBM's General Parallel File System and Tivoli Storage Manager software and incorporates data deduplication and compression techniques.

IBM is also close to shipping a new version of its IBM SAN Volume Controller system that incorporates solid-state drive technology. First shown last year as a prototype called "Quicksilver," the new system is slated to ship by the end of this year, said Barry Rudolph, vice president of IBM system storage, at the analyst event.