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IBM airs out cloud computing portfolio

Big Blue has followed on from the manifesto controversy with the launch of a large range of cloud computing services

IBM claims that today's announcement is the industry's first set of commercial 'cloud' services.
IBM claims that today's announcement is the industry's first set of commercial 'cloud' services.

Big Blue has followed on from the manifesto controversy with the launch of a large range of cloud computing services.

IBM has taken the wrappings off its Smart Business cloud portfolio, which Big Blue claims will help with the colossal burdens facing the data centre.

Cloud computing is a broad term used to define products and services that are accessed via virtualised IT resources – like the internet – as opposed to traditional data delivery models. Smart Business looks to bring IBM’s enterprise offerings, such as virtualised desktops, to a cloud-based model that can operate behind a firewall. The portfolio includes IBM CloudBurst, which is a family of pre-integrated hardware, storage, virtualisation and networking solutions, with the service management system built in.

“Cloud is an important new consumption and delivery model for IT and business services. Large enterprises want our help to capitalize on what this model offers in a way that is safe, reliable and efficient for business,” said Erich Clementi, general manager of enterprise initiatives at IBM.

The New York-based technology goliath is also including a preview version of Smart Business, for what the company calls the ‘development and test’ of IBM’s software delivery services for the cloud. The preview version is available now, with CloudBurst scheduled to begin shipping on 19th June.

Today’s announcement follows on from IBM’s push for the creation of the Open Cloud Manifesto in March, which sought to set clear guidelines for those operating in the cloud computing space. The agreement was signed by 72 companies, but became a cause for controversy when industry titans such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon refused to participate.

Cloud computing has been a turbulent topic in the IT industry for many years, with critics including Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, who denounced the term at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in September 2008.

“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we've redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can't think of anything that isn't cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women's fashion. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It's complete gibberish. It's insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?” said Ellison, as reported in The Wall Street Journal.

The terminology has also drawn fire from Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, who told The Guardian that cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time.