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HP, Intel, Yahoo Join Government, Academia In Cloud Computing Research

Each of the founding members will host a cloud-computing infrastructure largely based on HP computers and Intel processors in six data centers.
The new research effort is only the latest partnership revolving around cloud computing. IBM and Google have been working together with several major universities in building a worldwide network of servers from which consumers and businesses would tap everything from online soccer schedules to advanced engineering applications. The companies announced in May that they planned to roll out the network over the next year. That network's infrastructure runs on Linux-based computers using Xen virtualization and Apache Hadoop, which happens to be an implementation of the Google File System.

The IBM-Google effort has a clear commercial side. IBM believes the cloud model will allow it to reach small and midsize companies around the world, which it says represent a $500 billion IT market that it has trouble serving profitably through the usual sales channels. Google and IBM could conceivably supply computer users -- both business and consumer -- with hosted offerings ranging from basic productivity software like word processing and calendaring to sophisticated management and security tools through IBM's Tivoli brand and Google's Postini unit.

Even though it is launching in concert with government and educational backing, the HP, Intel, and Yahoo collaboration is expected to eventually lead toward commercial markets as well.

Among the best examples today of commercial cloud computing is Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (E2C) and Simple Storage Service (S3). The services open Amazon's infrastructure to third parties that can build, deploy, and run application services on Amazon's platform for a fee.