Big Blue has partnered with the e-commerce giant to launch a next-generation Internet service.
IBM said Wednesday that it plans to use Amazon.com's Web services infrastructure to deliver software to customers via the Internet.
Under the so-called cloud computing arrangement, IBM will offer a number of products through Amazon Web Services, including DB2, Informix Dynamic Server, WebSphere Portal, Lotus Web Content Management, WebSphere sMash, and Novell's SUSE Linux operating system.
"This relationship with Amazon Web Services provides our customers with a new way to use IBM software and broadens our distribution channels," said Dave Mitchell, director of strategy and emerging business for IBM's software unit, in a statement.
IBM also has made available, at no charge, Amazon Machine Images -- a test environment that businesses can use to assess whether their applications are suitable for Amazon's cloud environment.
"Extending IBM software to the cloud via Amazon EC2 will help even more businesses take advantage of the benefits of the reliable, scalable, and cost efficient infrastructure in the cloud," said Terry Wise, director of business development for Amazon Web Services.
Cloud computing represents a growing trend in which computer users tap the Internet to access software that is remotely stored on centralized servers, rather than on their own hard drives. In addition to IBM, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and many other software vendors have released cloud-based offerings in recent months.
Advocates of the architecture say it's more cost-effective and efficient than traditional client-server setups, and that it requires less maintenance. The city of Washington, D.C., recently moved the bulk of its software applications to Google's Web-based Google Apps service in an effort to realize such benefits.
Skeptics, however, caution that cloud computing presents security and uptime challenges, and note that an Internet outage could cause a business to lose access to mission-critical applications.
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