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IBM's utility computing push

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Utility computing is on the way, says IBM, which today opened a pay-as-you-go service offering software resources over the Net.

Linux Virtual Services connects customers with Linux-based applications to IBM e-business hosting centres that provide managed server processing, storage and networking capacity on an on-demand basis.

Customers tap into "virtual servers" on IBM zSeries mainframes running Linux in a secure hosting environment, paying only for the computing power and capacity they require.

It sounds awfully like a return to 70s-style bureau computing.

What's goes around comes around

IBM, like Hewlett-Packard, is advancing the idea of utility computing which, in fairness, has come a long way since the 80s.

At the core of Virtual Linux Services is an IBM technology which creates "virtual servers" from the computing capacity of IBM zSeries mainframes running Linux. By partitioning the processing, storage and network capacity for each customer, IBM isolates individual demand on the system and maps resources to that demand, while providing the equivalent separation between customers that a physical server would supply.

IBM positions the service as a way for larger enterprises to consolidate workloads from multiple servers and as a mechanism for smaller companies to easily develop and roll-out Web-based applications.

Businesses have a choice of server platforms, including an Apache-based Linux Web server, DB2 database software and WebSphere, along with an option to deploy a managed Linux environment for their own applications.

For customers on non-Linux platforms, IBM will provide application porting services to a Linux environment.

IBM has signed partnerships with a number of telecommunications providers to provide multiple sources of on-demand network capacity. ®

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