Big Blue Offers Cloud Computing in Emerald Isle

IBM is looking to create one of the first cloud computing centers in Europe, which will be located in Dublin, Ireland.

IBM is breaking ground in Dublin, Ireland, for one of the first cloud computing centers to serve users in Europe and beyond.

The Cloud Computing Center is being developed in conjunction with the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland, a government agency that looks for overseas investment, with the goal of creating a major hub for cloud computing that will serve satellite facilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the past several months, IBM has also established other cloud computing centers in the United States, China and Vietnam.

The center, announced March 19, will use a combination of IBM System x servers and its BladeCenter systems along with IBM middleware products - Lotus Connections, WebSphere Application Server - and the company's Tivoli management software to build out the compute cloud. The center will offer compute services to customers as a low-cost way to tap into a vast pool of compute resources without having to build out a new IT infrastructure.

"They [CIOs] want to adopt the simplified IT management and real-time capacity re-allocation features of Cloud Computing to reduce their overall computing bills," Willy Chiu, IBM's vice president of High Performance On Demand Solutions, wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.

While the concept of cloud computing - the ability to pool a large amount of compute resources and then have users share those resources as a service - remains a relatively new concept, IBM has tried to run ahead of the pack.

In 2007, IBM and Google announced a plan to build out a cloud computing model that will be shared by university students and other academic facilities. A few months later, IBM announced its "Blue Cloud" program that will target commercial users.

The Blue Cloud initiative, according to IBM executives, targets businesses heavily invested in Web 2.0 applications, such as social networking, blogs and other multimedia content. By using cloud computing, theses customers could draw on a pool of resources at peak hours or during an unusually active time. In addition to having extra compute resources on hand, the cloud computing model could save on power and cooling costs by allowing those same resources to power down during off hours.

IBM's Blue Cloud uses the company's own hardware and Tivoli management suite along with other open-source software. Those same technologies can now be found in the Dublin center.

Although IBM has made a large investment in cloud computing, it's not the only vendor looking to offer these types of pooled resources. On March 17, Hewlett-Packard announced that it would give customers access to its data center resources through a new software-as-a-service program.

The Cloud Computing Center in Dublin looks to offer those same types of services and technology for European businesses that IBM described in the Blue Cloud program.

In addition, IBM has developed a social networking application for businesses called Idea Factory for Cloud Computing. The collaborative platform works as a Web portal that will allow businesses that use the center to share ideas and business practices through a combination of blogs, wikis, and audio and video links.