IBM rolls out new corporate cloud services plan

IBM rolled out a plan for providing cloud computing services to enterprises. The strategy aims to tie cloud services to specific IT tasks.

The company's first two services, also announced today, focus on application development and testing and virtual desktop management.

The three varieties of development-related cloud services include the IBM Smart Business Test Cloud, which is a behind-the-firewall cloud built by IBM on a client's infrastructure.

IBM is also previewing the Smart Business Development & Test service, which employs its Rational application development software and will run on IBM's public cloud.

In addition, the company is offering development and test capabilities through its IBM Cloudburst appliances, which combine hardware, storage, networking, virtualization and service management capabilities.

IBM said that the overall idea of the strategy is to drive efficiencies into the development and testing process. The company noted that great amounts of corporate IT infrastructure dedicated to development often sits idle. The IBM plan would allow development teams to use self-service clouds to get the resources they need on demand.

Meanwhile, IBM will also offer virtual desktop management services on private clouds as well as its own.

Down the road, depending on market reaction, IBM could release services for specific enterprise applications, said Kristof Kloeckner, CTO of cloud computing.

IBM's goals are fairly obvious, said Redmonk analyst James Governor, via e-mail. “As far as the enterprise is concerned, cloud [computing] is the new VMware, and IBM wants a fat slice this time,” he added.

IBM's decision to focus first on software testing first makes sense, Governor said.

“Dedicated test and development servers are a real drain on enterprise computing resources, and IBM is telling customers it can reduce the expense,” he said. “Those with long memories will know that IBM has put forward similar propositions before, but there is nothing new in IT, and reimplementation can be a step forward.”

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