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IBM readies cloud 'validation' program

Stamps in the sky

Application security programs and practises

IBM wants to use the power of its stamp to lull businesses into cloud computing complacency.

Big Blue is today launching a "Resilient Cloud Validation" program, where third-party cloud services undergo a certification gauntlet to use IBM's seal of approval in their marketing material.

The business of leasing applications and hardware via remote servers has left no shortage of "cloud" providers out there — but pressing issues about reliability, untrustworthy services, and such remain rather apparent. That's where the IBM bump supposedly will come in.

Meanwhile, IBM's massive services business is rolling out a handful of consulting offerings for cloud business models.

Among the new services is a program to access the total cost of ownership for building so-called "private cloud" data centers as well as moving certain applications off-site for a hybrid design.

"Over the last year in our 13 cloud computing centers worldwide, we've worked with clients to understand how to help them take advantage of both public and private clouds to get the best economics," said IBM's Willy Chiu in a statement.

(Yes, that appears to be a one-year-in-business boast).

Also, a new design and implementation service will guide clients through the installation, configuration, and delivery of a shiny new cloud business model.

Finally, IBM said its begun a company-wide project to develop a comprehensive security architecture for cloud computing environments. This one (oddly/frighteningly enough) is somewhat novel in the market. The company said the project focuses on developing trusted virtual domains, authentication, isolation management, policy and integrity management and access control technologies designed specifically for cloud computing.

IBM's "Resilient Cloud" program is expected to launch sometime in early 2009. The company doesn't have details on how cloud architectures will be judged — so keep a skeptical eye out for bonus points tied to IBM hardware and software just in case. ®

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