Figuring that the cloud may be the “most significant shift in technology since the outset of the Internet,” IBM is moving to ensure it gets its piece of what could be a $66 billion business in three years.
It's taking a workload-by-workload approach.
To start, it's targeting the enterprise – meaning big, largely Blue accounts – with offers of a virtual desktop – either a Microsoft desktop or some stand-in – and the widgetry to move test and development to the cloud.
Unlike Amazon, IBM's not interested in the individual developer; it wants all of a major account's test and development, which it argues absorbs 30%-50% of a company's infrastructure though 90% of the time it's idle.
Blue says its widgetry is based on two years of research and hundreds of client engagements. There's no mention of interoperability with other clouds like Google or Salesforce.com; that will have to be left to third parties like Vordel.
IBM will be offering to run these cloud services from inside its own data center or to set up a private cloud using a client's own infrastructure.
And, for those who want to go it alone, it's got CloudBurst 1.1, a pre-integrated cloud-to-go with the hardware, storage, virtualization, networking and management needed to build a private cloud.
Users running their own clouds will be able to access IBM's cloud for short-term additional resources.
CloudBurst will ship at the end of the week at prices starting around $200k. The entry-level configuration includes a 42U rack, a BladeCenter chassis, eight Intel cores on three blades plus an eight-core management blade, attached storage and middleware.
IBM's public cloud will be located at its recently announced production-level “Cloud Delivery Center” in Raleigh, North Carolina, where it's got a bunch of Intel blades, VMware virtualization and its own management widgetry.
The hardware there will come to include mainframes and IBM's own p blades. Over time that will mean its Rationale and Eclipse tools and the Jazz platform as well as Xen and KVM virtualization.
IBM's cloud CTO Kristof Kloeckner (pictured above) has found that large accounts aren't as reluctant to share cloud infrastructure if they know the guys they're sharing it with are, say, fellow Fortune 5000s and not riffraff.
IBM estimates that the cloud can save up to 73% of the energy used to power traditional desktops and laptops and up to 40% of the support costs.
It reckons its Smart Business Test Cloud can save customers 50%-75% on capex and licensing expenses and 30%-50% on operating and labor costs while reducing defects from faulty configurations and poor modeling by 15%-30%.
IBM is also setting up a subscription public cloud version of the Desktop Cloud. It's partnering with Desktone, Quest and Wyse.
More Than 60 Companies Sponsored or Exhibited at Cloud Computing Expo New York April 2009
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Cloud Computing Expo New York April 2009 Sold Out With Record Participation
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