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IBM offers cloudy blue datacentre vision

Look, that one's shaped just like a rack server

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IBM is offering its customers the tools to operate their own data centres as if they were hosted distributed computing services.

The vendor has dubbed the strategy Blue Cloud, and at first glance the plan is as diffuse as the name suggests.

IBM describes it as “as series of cloud computing offerings” which will allow data centres to behave “more like the internet by enabling computing across a distributed, globally accessible fabric of resources”.

Put slightly more prosaically, it seems the vendor is tying together its management and virtualisation tools to allow workloads to be dynamically allocated and provisioned across its various hardware platforms, and not necessarily all in the same place. IBM’s Tivoli management software is at the heart of the strategy.

The approach will be debuted on an IBM BladeCenter chassis using Power and x86 chips next spring. The Linux-based server will be combined grid computing software, Xen virtualization tools, Apache's Hadoop parallel workload scheduling and IBM's Tivoli data center management software. IBM said they weren't ready to give out any prices for the offering.

It's the brainchild of IBM's own distributed computing projects — such as its partnership with Google announced last month to let students use their hardware to study large-scale cluster computing.

"We realized that there is a much larger space of customers that can take advantage of the technology," said Dennis Quan, CTO of high performance on demand solutions at IBM. "It's a way to tackle data centers running into operational difficulties because of energy costs, running out of space, management of servers and utilization rates."

The Blue Cloud will then drift onto its System z mainframe platform and onto highly dense rack servers.

IBM promised that the cloud computing will be able to integrate with customers’ existing IT via SOA services.

According to Reuters, IBM hardware boss Bill Zeitler described the launch of Blue Cloud as as important as IBM’s conversion to Linux or its effort to get business onto the internet in the 1990s.

Anything that makes its hardware more attractive will be a good thing for IBM. Its most recent results showed systems and technology revenues down 10.3 per cent to $5.1bn. IBM put the drop down to customers holding off buys until the vendor updated its processor ranges. ®

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