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Big Blue boasts cloud drag-and-drop

Private fluff meets public fluff

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In IBM's world, some clouds are public, and others are private. There's blue sky between them, but high-flying IBM engineers believe they can bring the two together.

Inside its Silicon Valley Lab, an hour south of San Francisco, Big Blue is running a so-called "cloud management console" designed to seamlessly move application workloads between virtualized servers in your own data center and virtualized servers you're renting from someone else. Based on IBM's Tivoli software suite, this cloud tamer lets you drag workloads to and fro like files on a PC desktop.

"I can instantly free up resources in my private cloud by migrating workloads to the public cloud," IBM cloud guru Raul Jain told reporters during a demonstration Monday morning inside the company's San Jose lab.

In other words, if a high-priority application needs more resources inside your own data center, you could shift a low-priority app onto virtual machines running inside the data center of a third-party service provider.

"Our customers typically run private clouds, but they find that there are times when their horsepower runs out," said Jay Subrahmonia, who oversees IBM's cloud research. "These companies want to seamlessly reach out into remote clouds...to access capacity to power these applications."

IBM has yet to demonstrate this cloud drag-and-drop trick outside its own test facilities. But it plans to. And if you're interested, it wants you to know that all resource migration will occur across a secure VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service).

Unlike Amazon, which urges businesses to move entire applications onto its cloud, IBM is sweet-talking outfits who may be wary of moving data onto someone else's servers. With Big Blue's drag-and-drop demo, all data storage remains on the private cloud. The public cloud handles nothing but processing.

But, IBM said, there may come a time when it beefs up Tivoli to handle data migration as well.

While dragging and dropping for reporters in Silicon Valley, IBM was doing much the same in New York, Las Vegas, and Shanghai. Big Blue has just reorganized itself to create a brand new cloud-obsessed division, and it's offering a brand new service where customers can prep their new cloud applications.

"We're allowing customers to tap into an IBM cloud facility and run their test and design operations before launching their apps for real," said Dennis Quan, IBM's director of automatic computing. IBM currently operates 9 of these cloud test facilities across the globe.

The company also wants you to know that it has some new cloud clients, including Elizabeth Arden and The United States Gold Association. And that it's partnering with Juniper Networks on a hybrid public-private cloud infrastructure. And that clouds are the future. But everyone wants you to know that. ®

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