CLOUD COMPUTING

IBM to unveil cloud services and products

IBM plans to unveil products and services to make it more efficient – and safe — for businesses and government agencies to move to cloud computing.

Based on two years of research and client work, IBM is bringing automation and simplicity to specific digital tasks that are easy to deliver and cheap to use through the cloud, company officials said.

Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users do not need to have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the cloud that supports them.

IBM said what is called "cloud computing" is really a re-integration of information technology around types of work, with the most successful clouds being defined by the types of work they do -- for instance a search cloud or a retail transaction cloud.

As a result, the entire IBM Smart Business portfolio will be designed to optimize workloads that are best suited for cloud-style service delivery: such as development and test and virtualized desktops, IBM officials said.

The company initially will offer products and services that make application development and testing more efficient.

Software developers are fast becoming the nucleus of innovation for many organizations as IT becomes critical to all business processes. Developers are driving so much business value that the average enterprise devotes 30 to 50 percent of its entire technology infrastructure to development and test, but usually 90 percent of it remains idle, IBM officials said.

In addition to high costs and low utilization rates, software developers lose a lot of time and productivity getting permissions and access to the systems they need to create and test applications.

As a result, IBM will offer developers three models for delivering and consuming development and test services:

  • IBM Smart Business Test Cloud -- a private cloud behind the client's firewall, built by IBM.
  • Smart Business Development & Test on the IBM Cloud -- IBM Smart Business Application Development & Test featuring Rational "Software Delivery Services" over IBM's secure, scalable cloud.
  • IBM CloudBurst - a family of pre-integrated set of hardware, storage, virtualization and networking, with a sophisticated service management system built in.

Organizations can get a custom private cloud built by IBM or get started immediately with IBM CloudBurst -- or they can chose to receive standardized cloud services from a highly secure, scalable IBM cloud, officials said.

IBM users have also seen success with leveraging cloud computing to virtualize desktops, officials said. IBM will offer two delivery options to help users virtualize desktops:

  • IBM Smart Business Desktop Cloud - Cloud services delivered via the client's own infrastructure and data center.
  • IBM Smart Business Desktop on the IBM Cloud - IBM Smart Business Virtual Desktop is delivered via IBM's secure, scalable public cloud.

IBM users have already seen success with this model, officials said. For instance, the Pike County Schools System in Eastern Kentucky has 10,000 students in 27 schools and 3,000 employees. Like many organizations, the school system’s budget is decreasing while the need for increased access to technology is rising. The school's 10- or 12 -year-old computers now behave as if they were top-of-the line 2009 models because the desktop is only an access point to the private cloud.

"Providing cost-effective technology solutions is an ongoing challenge for today's K-12 schools," said Maritta Horne, Chief Information Officer of the Pike County School District. By using IBM Smart Business Virtual Desktop, more than 10,000 students in Pike County are able to easily and quickly access new courseware through private cloud desktops, and the school system is saving on expenses related to hardware updates, technology support staff and power usage, she said.

As a result, Pike County has achieved a reduction of over 62 percent of end-user support costs while providing equal access to education content across 27 schools and just over 2,000 desktops. The introduction of new courseware used to take over a year, but can now be implemented instantly across all schools, Horne said.

A full portfolio of products and services will be available for all enterprise environments including transaction processing, analytics, high performance computing and Web development, and support a range of enterprise tools. More offerings will be available in 2009, IBM officials said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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