Big Blue deploys cloud computing internally while also offering the service to customers.
IBM on Monday announced plans to deploy an internal cloud computing environment that will make more than a petabyte of information—the equivalent of 100 times the content of the Library of Congress--instantly available to employees under a project called Blue Insight.
IBM said it also plans to make the service's architecture, dubbed IBM Smart Analytics Cloud—available to customers.
IBM said Blue Insight will help more than 200,000 employees around the world make better decisions by providing them with real-time information about customers, suppliers, and other business contacts, whether in their offices, in the field, or on the road.
"This new model of cloud computing will provide our employees with a single place to access real business insights, improve standards compliance, and create a repository of best practices throughout the company," said IBM CIO Pat Toole, in a statement.
"In addition to the business requirement, there were critical technology elements to underpinning this solution that will be supported by System z and Cognos," said Toole, referring to IBM's mainframe systems and business intelligence software acquired through the company's buyout of Canadian developer Cognos last year.
"I expect this first of its kind approach will help drive both new growth opportunities as well as have a significant impact in cost savings, which is exactly what businesses are asking today of their cutting edge IT organizations," said Toole.
IBM said Blue Insight will give employees access to a variety of crucial business information, such as customer relationships, regional sales, demand trends, and shipping times. The service will run on a 48-processor IBM System Z10 mainframe, which can handle up to 10,000 secure transactions per second.
IBM will market the Blue Insight cloud computing architecture externally under the name IBM Smart Analytics Cloud. The commercial offering will also run on a System z mainframe, and will include business intelligence tools from IBM Cognos 8 BI.
IBM said 83% of respondents to its recent Global CIO study identified business intelligence and analytics as the primary tools for boosting their organizations' competitiveness.
Advocates of cloud computing, where applications and other IT services are tapped from remote servers hosted internally or by a third party, say the architecture is more efficient and secure than traditional client-server setups. Beyond IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are also developing cloud offerings.
IBM said the Smart Analytics Cloud offering is currently available.
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