IBM Targets Cloud Services Market

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IBM is expanding its service offerings for cloud computing, offering a validation program for service providers and consulting services for companies pursuing a range of paths to the cloud. The new services position IBM to benefit from growth of cloud computing on several levels, offering some services on its own infrastructure while providing hardware, construction and consulting to companies building their own “private clouds.”

“No matter how compelling the economics are, cloud strategies can’t run counter to business strategies,” said Willy Chiu, Vice President, High Performance On Demand Solutions, IBM. “Over the last year in our 13 cloud computing centers worldwide, we’ve worked with clients to understand how to help them take advantage of both public and private clouds.”

Among the services announced today is a benchmarking service for cloud computing providers called “Resilient Cloud Validation.” IBM also introduced services to help clients customize and secure their private cloud computing infrastructures.

The benchmarking program offers a Resilient Cloud logo as a confidence booster for enterprise customers who are interested in shifting services to the cloud but concerned about reliability. Allscripts, which provides online services for physicians and other healthcare providers, is the first company to begin the validation process. 

The program is similar in concept to vendor programs offering reliability assessments and certification for traditional data center infrastructure, which are offered by companies including the Uptime Institute, BrunsPak and Syska-Hennessy.

“Every cloud service provider has the same objective: provide an uninterrupted flow of information for their business,” said Philippe Jarre, IBM General Manager of Business Continuity and Resiliency Services. “Since these providers power other businesses, there is a ‘network effect’ of downtime, it’s absolutely critical to build to the highest standards of resiliency.”

IBM is also offering consulting services to companies using public, private and hybrid cloud models. These include:

  • Industry-specific business consulting services for cloud computing, in which IBM Global Business Services will use an economic model for assessing the total cost of ownership for building private clouds, and/or moving data and applications off-site in a public or hybrid cloud model.
  • Design and implementation Services to help clients install, configure and deliver cloud computing inside the data center.
  • Cloud security consulting to help customers address growing cocnerns about the security of cloud infrastructure and design and processes to shield against threats and vulnerabilities in the cloud.

IBM has focused on helping clients build private clouds, offering data center design services as well as IBM servers, storage and software. But IBM is also offering hosted clouds from its own data center infrastructure. 

One of the clients running services on IBM’s cloud platform is Houston’s Neighborhood Centers, which offers a range of community services. The non-profit uses IBM cloud services to back up its server and PC data to off-site locations.

“Neighborhood Centers is dedicated to helping citizens cope with disruption and plan for contingencies in life – as second responders in emergencies we simply cannot afford to be shut down, or slowed down, by a data loss,” said Tom Comella, chief information officer, Neighborhood Centers Inc. “IBM cloud services were critical in our community recovery efforts following Hurricane Ike. Since we experienced no business interruptions in any of our 20 facilities, we were able to focus on bringing the community, our services and our citizens back online.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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