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11/25/2008
08:23 AM
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IBM Launches Cloud Computing Services

Big Blue is introducing new products aimed at helping customers move apps to the Web.

IBM has rolled out a range of new services designed to help businesses implement cloud-based computing -- a new wave IT architecture in which applications and services are delivered over the Web rather than stored on locally maintained servers.

Under the plan, IBM will offer economic modeling, design and implementation services, and security assessments relating to cloud computing, the company announced Thursday.

"Cloud strategies need to be in line with business strategies," Willy Chiu, VP for high performance and on-demand solutions at IBM, said in a statement.

IBM maintains that cloud computing, if implemented properly, can save businesses up to 60% on cooling and energy costs because it reduces the amount of pricey hardware they need to maintain in-house. It can also reduce server footprints by as much as 60%, according to the company.

As a result, the approach is gaining popularity in a variety of enterprise environments. Houston's Neighborhood Centers social services agency is using IBM's cloud to tap applications used to manage economic development, citizenship, and immigration services for more than 200,000 residents of southwest Texas.

Applications and data may be stored off-site in cloud computing environments, a fact that helped Neighborhood Centers weather Hurricane Ike in September. "As second responders in emergencies we simply cannot afford to be shut down, or slowed down, by a data loss," said Tom Comella, the group's CIO.

IBM is also looking to deploy cloud computing for international customers. It's working with authorities in China on Project Yun, under which businesses in the country will be able to tap applications from the Web to make them more productive. Yun is Chinese for cloud.

IBM maintains 13 cloud computing delivery centers worldwide.

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