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Summary:

IBM wants to corner the market on cloud computing, from providing the physical servers that make up a cloud to offering services for those unwilling to build out their own. Today it announced plans to move further into the fog by creating a kind of Good […]

ibmIBM wants to corner the market on cloud computing, from providing the physical servers that make up a cloud to offering services for those unwilling to build out their own. Today it announced plans to move further into the fog by creating a kind of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for cloud computing. IBM calls it the Resilient Cloud Validation program. Big Blue hopes to work with cloud providers to offer a program that reassures businesses that a cloud doesn’t go down often as well as helping answer other questions that keep businesses from trusting in the cloud model.

Coincidentally (yeah, right) companies hoping to gain that seal of approval will need to work with IBM’s cloud consulting practice. IBM is also announcing as part of that practice that it can help answer a question I’ve long bothered cloud providers with — When is it most cost effective to outsource your application to a cloud and when should you build your own, or at least buy your own, servers?

IBM has been pretty quiet about its cloud efforts. In part because it didn’t want to hack off large customers buying a ton of IBM servers by competing with them. The computing giant hasn’t been pushing its own cloud business until a half-hearted announcement at the end of July, about a month and half after a company exec had told me IBM didn’t really want to advertise its cloud services.

While I may have doubted if IBM really “got” cloud computing in the past, a project it detailed in a press release today about a research project in China has me convinced that IBM knows exactly what the cloud is, and plans to capitalize on its name and experience to compete with Amazon for enterprise business. Check it out:

IBM’s China Research Lab is piloting a newly developed cloud computing platform, codenamed Project Yun which is Chinese for “cloud,” for companies to access business services, designed to make the selection and implementation of new cloud services as easy as selecting an item from a drop-down menu. With no need for back-end provisioning, the IBM platform stands to cut the time required to deliver new services dramatically. The Yun platform allocates storage, server and network resources for the customer application with zero human input, achieving top performance, availability and power utilization.

Instant provisioning with no human intervention. Right now it sounds like vaporware, but if IBM pulls it off, its cloud offerings will move from so much vapor to a competitive business.

  1. “[The Yun platform allocates storage, server and network resources for the customer application with zero human input, achieving top performance, availability and power utilization.] Instant provisioning with no human intervention. Right now it sounds like vaporware…”

    Stacey, are you serious? This sounds like how Google App Engine allocates resources. Automatic, instant, no human intervention. Or Amazon S3+EC2. Or do you think somebody at Amazon watches every API request to power up an AMI and then runs over and flips a big red switch somewhere? This has been reality for years and yet you claim instant provisioning sounds like vaporware?

  2. I did a presentation on Cloud Computing two weeks ago at PubCon in Las Vegas on this topic. I did a 15 minute session to help identify truth from fiction in the “sale pitch promises” made by Cloud Computing advocates. Boy did I ear back. So much so that I felt compelled to follow up with an article that addressed on point in finer detail:
    http://www.smartertools.com/blog/archive/2008/11/20/cloud-computing-challenges-benefits-and-the-future.aspx

    As Cloud Computing gains steam, it is vital that we remember what Cloud Computing is and–perhaps more importantly–what it is not.

    Be well,
    Jeffrey J. Hardy
    http://www.smartertools.com

  3. It looks to me just another web hosting business: there is a new “hot concept” out there and here’s my solution, no difference than SUN selling JAVA in 90s, Microsoft pushing .NET etc. They need a new channel to sell their servers and software and this time cloud computing is the one.

  4. Stacey Higginbotham Monday, November 24, 2008

    Nick, I’m looking at instant provisioning from the user perspective rather than from an IT manager perspective. It may merely be a question of UI, but making an API request and selecting something from a drop-down menu are different in the eyes of the person trying to get access to those resources. For cloud computing to really be a utility, it has to be as simple for people to use turning up a thermostat. That really changes things, and we’re not there yet.

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