IBM Embraces Cloud Computing, Offers System Validation Services

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-11-24

IBM Embraces Cloud Computing, Offers System Validation Services

IBM has revealed a new approach to cloud computing, a clear enterprise trend that has been building for at least two years but that really hasn't been recognized in the same terminology by the world's largest IT company.

Describing it as the "nascent computing model known as 'cloud,' " IBM on Nov. 24 introduced a new strategy using its IBM Global Services group to help other companies determine whether their internal cloud computing systems are airtight and fully functional-even though IBM itself has no centralized, clearly marketed cloud computing strategy of its own as a reference.

True to its longstanding approach to any type of new IT trend, IBM has generally avoided acknowledging the Web 2.0 cloud trend as such, that is, by a term that did not originate in its own labs. Until now, IBM has simply referred to cloud computing techniques as SAAS (software as a service), on-demand computing or advanced customer solutions.

Fair enough-those terms all mean fundamentally the same thing. Most of the industry, however, has long since grouped the delivery of software services over the Internet under the umbrella term "cloud computing," a quicker to use, easily recognizable moniker.

IBM is calling its services Resilient Cloud Validation Services. However, it seems as if various parts of IBM are unsure as to whether the company is actually going to start using "cloud" as a regular part of its vocabulary.

IBM executive Jayashree Subrahmonia, introduced to eWEEK as IBM's director of Cloud Computing Solutions, described herself as Director of Advanced Customer Solutions during an interview.

"What we're bringing in here is our experience in resiliency, high availability-things we've been working on with customers for the last 40 years," Subrahmonia told me.

Three IBM Cloud-Related Services

The new program aims to validate the "resiliency" of any company data center delivering applications or services to clients in the cloud environment, Subrahmonia said. It is designed not only to validate a particular data center to determine its own integrity but also to enable users to identify their own partners and customers as "trustworthy" in IBM's view.

These bundled services-which really aren't new because IBM Global Services has made many of them available for years-are designed for heterogeneous systems, those with various types of hardware and software that are entwined and already working together to process workloads.

IBM said Allscripts, now Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions, a provider of software and services for physicians and other health care providers, is the first company to begin the validation process.  The services will enable sensitive patient information and medical documents to be encrypted and easily recovered at a moment's notice.

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

Specifically, the three cloud-related validation services announced Nov. 24 are:

-Industry-Specific Business Consulting Services for Cloud Computing-Uses an economic model for assessing the total cost of ownership for building private clouds or moving data and applications off-site in a public or hybrid cloud model.

-Technology Consulting, Design and Implementation Services-Helps clients install, configure and deliver cloud computing inside the data center.

-Cloud Security-Using IBM systems, software and services and IBM's Research and X-Force arms, this is an effort to redesign technologies and processes to make them more secure and to shield against threats and vulnerabilities in the cloud.

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