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IBM Brings Its 'Blue Cloud' to The Enterprise

IBM on Thursday announced "Blue Cloud," a combination of software and hardware components that will let enterprise customers experiment with the "cloud" computing model that's largely responsible for the growth and popularity of Web 2.0 heavyweights Google and Amazon.com.

Dennis Quan, CTO of High Performance on Demand Solutions for IBM's software group, said Blue Cloud will be based on open standards and open-source software supported by IBM virtualization and datacenter management software.

"I think this initiative gets to the point that we're solving our customers' pain points," Quan said in an interview with InternetNews.com. "The proliferation of content, particularly rich media like video, is contributing to the need for more compute power. Datacenters are running into roadblocks of power, space and cooling. They're looking for alternative ways to sustain all these next-generation applications."

IBM said the first Blue Cloud offering will be available in spring 2008 and will run on IBM BladeCenters with Power and x86 processors. It includes Xen and PowerVM virtualized Linux operating system images, Hadoop parallel workload scheduling and IBM's Tivoli server-management software for managing and monitoring workflows in the datacenter.

Last month, IBM and Google announced the creation of joint academic cluster computing initiative to provide datacenters for remote computer programming to students at several U.S. universities.

Blue Cloud essentially takes this same cloud computing model to the enterprise, giving companies the ability to establish their own cloud computing architecture to handle the enormous data-processing power required for video, social-networking and other Web 2.0 technologies.

"What it is today is the commercialization of the initiative IBM announced with Google," Gartner analyst David Cearley said in an interview with InternetNews.com. "If companies want to experiment with a distributing computing similar to what Google and other Web 2.0 companies are doing, they can now start doing that with IBM."

IBM is collaborating on cloud-computing initiatives with a handful of large companies, universities and government agencies. On Tuesday, the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology announced a pilot program that will be run on a cloud-computing infrastructure.

IBM plans to offer a System z mainframe cloud environment at some point next year.

Gartner's Cearley said it's too early to make sweeping conclusions about how this commercialized cloud computing offering will impact IBM's hardware and software strategy going forward.

"For now, this is very much an isolated incident that in the future may have a broader impact," he said. "I think there will be a lot of experimentation to see what kind of workloads would be appropriate for this type of architecture."