The Right Cloud for the Job

When IBM announced its first commercial cloud offerings last month, New York Times business and technology writer Steve Lohr hailed the release as the endorsement cloud computing needed to earn the trust of government and big business. Lohr wrote that IBM, which has been researching, building and testing cloud-computing environments for almost two years, can bring the cloud into the mainstream as it did with Linux and the PC.

IDC Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst Frank Gens went further, predicting on the research firm’s blog that cloud computing will become downright ubiquitous in the next few years as security and integration obstacles disintegrate and developers increasingly choose the cloud as the platform for new solutions. “It’s easy to see that the public cloud will be the No. 1 deployment target for a large majority of solutions,” Gens wrote.

A Cloud for Every Task

IBM is preparing for a more nuanced adoption, with some business tasks crying out for highly scalable, public-cloud deployment and others calling for the cloud model to be brought behind the corporate firewall. IBM’s cloud offerings stress specialization; initial solutions are optimized for testing and development or desktop virtualization.

Testing and development cloud solutions can be deployed three different ways: on IBM’s Smart Business public cloud, in which scalable, secure off-premises computing resources are delivered as a service; on a custom-built cloud behind the client’s firewall, also under the Smart Business moniker; or on a pre-integrated, on-premises cloud infrastructure, IBM CloudBurst, which contains hardware, storage, virtualization, networking and a service-management system and gives clients a private testing and development cloud out of the box. According to IBM’s research, the average enterprise devotes 30 percent to 50 percent of its technology infrastructure to development and testing, and developers lose considerable time waiting to access resources. IBM’s testing and development cloud offerings aim to reduce labor costs, provision cycle times and software defects.

Morgon Mae Schultz is a copy editor for MSP TechMedia

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