What does the "Blue Cloud" look like? There have been times when IBM's vision for cloud computing seemed diffuse, largely because Big Blue has so many points of entry. IBM sells servers and software, builds data centers, and provides consulting services. IBM also had to consider the issue of whether it might wind up competing with its customers. As a result, IBM's early efforts in the cloud didn't align neatly with the most visible examples of the genre, such as Amazon Web Services or Salesforce.com.
After a year of development and client collaboration, IBM has hired a cloud computing czar and today is rolling out new offerings providing better definition for the Blue Cloud. IBM recently named Erich Clementi, a veteran of its Systems & Technologies Group, to coordinate the company's cloud initiatives. At today's Pulse 2009 event, IBM outlined four new service offerings:
- A secure platform to allow clients to test cloud applications before deploying them on production systems. IBM Implementation Systems for Cloud Computing will initially be available running behind a firewall at a customer site, but will soon be delivered as a hosted service, or as a hybrid of both.
- A cloud-based managed backup service for desktops and laptops, which offers continuous data protection (CDP). IBM is offering Tivoli Storage Manager CDP for Files as a fully hosted service through IBM's Business Continuity & Resiliency Services cloud.
- A consulting service to help IBM customers build and manage "private clouds" within their own data centers. IBM Infrastructure Strategy & Planning for Cloud Computing will include a suite of services to help clients plan, design and implement a cloud delivery model.
- IBM is also announcing a hybrid "overflow cloud" solution that uses Juniper Networks gear to seamlessly offload computing capacity from a client's private cloud to remote servers in a secure public cloud. IBM and Juniper are installing this in IBM's nine global Cloud Labs for customer use.
"Enterprise clients need economically compelling solutions that help them run their businesses in smarter ways, while never taking their eyes off of security, resiliency and compliance," said Clementi. "Cloud computing leverages many of IBM’s core strengths - such as open standards, service management, scalable systems and excellence in data center operations – and gives clients the opportunity to leverage cloud computing's considerable cost advantages, while maintaining the highest levels of integrity, responsibility and control."
IBM also announced Elizabeth Arden, Nexxera, The United States Golf Association, and Indigo Bio Systems sign on as new IBM cloud computing clients, while TOTVS has expanded an existing cloud project with IBM.