The new product line, dubbed IBM Smart Business, focuses on delivering hosted tools and services for two tasks: virtual desktop management, and application development and testing, according to IBM.
Services for both are available via IBM's network of cloud computing centers around the world or through cloud infrastructures built by IBM behind a customer's firewall.
In addition, IBM is offering CloudBurst appliances that are built to accommodate development and testing tasks.
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 wrote.
For IT managers, a cloud-based application development service could significantly cut development costs, according to Governor. “Dedicated test and development servers are a real drain on enterprise computing resources,” he wrote. “IBM is telling customers it can reduce the expense.”
Kristof Kloeckner, vice president of strategy and technology in IBM's software group, said that the dedicated cloud products could be extended to enterprise applications if demand warrants it.