IBM to Unveil Cloud Computing Products, Strategy: Report

IBM will announce a number of new cloud computing products and services June 16, according to The New York Times. In addition, IBM will unveil plans for a new research lab fo-cused on cloud computing. The initial plans will be for a bundle of hardware, software and services aimed at soft-ware developers and testers, and an-other targeting virtual desktop envi-ronments. The moves come at a time when every major IT player, including HP, Cisco, VMware, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, are making deeper in-roads into the cloud.

IBM is preparing to roll out a host of products and services focused on cloud computing, according to a published report.

IBM June 16 will unveil the first of its offerings and offer a road map for its cloud computing plans, The New York Times reported.

The offerings will be delivered through bundled hardware, software and services, and will be aimed at corporate computer workloads that could be run in an internal, private cloud, or a public one hosted by IBM, according to the report.

One set of offerings will be aimed at software developers and testers. A second will target virtual desktop services, the report said. Done right, virtual desktop environments can save businesses 70 percent in power consumption over traditional PC setups.

In addition, IBM also is planning to open a Hybrid Computing Research lab-Big Blue apparently calls its cloud computing approach "hybrid computing"-later this year that will enable scientists from businesses and universities to work on applications aimed at improving system performance by up to 1,000 times.

Cloud computing-the ability to access applications, information and computing processes over the Internet from a wide variety of devices-is gaining traction as a way of saving businesses money and reducing complexity in data centers.

All the major top-tier IT vendors-including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, VMware, Google and Amazon-offer cloud computing technologies and products to one degree or another.

In addition, HP, Intel and Yahoo have led the creation of Open Cirrus, a test bed for cloud computing initiatives that includes six data centers around the world, and has announced that three more institutions-the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in Korea and the research-and-development arm of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Malaysia-have joined the effort.

IT administrators at enterprises understand the promise of cloud computing, but there is concern around such issues as security and reliability. Research firm Ovum says that in these early days of cloud computing, CIOs need to get involved in the debate to ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed.

"Cloud computing has the potential to be a new, more open and interoperable model for meeting enterprise computing needs," Ovum analyst Steve Hodgkinson wrote in a report. "However, it is intrinsically a game played to the rules of economies of scale, and the way to get scale is through first-mover advantage and the practical lock-in effect of de facto standardization. Enterprise CIOs should be on the front foot to shape the evolving cloud computing research agenda to ensure that it creates the building blocks of a more, rather than less, open future."

Other analyst firms see great potential for cloud computing. IDC reported in March that it expects worldwide spending on cloud computing services to grow to $42 billion by 2012, tripling where it is today.