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IBM has just announced that all of its cloud services and software will be based on an open cloud architecture, in a move which the company says will ensure that innovation in cloud computing is not “hampered by locking businesses into proprietary islands of insecure and difficult-to-manage offerings.”

In the announcement in New York today, IBM’s senior vice president of software, Robert LeBlanc, claimed that without industry-wide open standards for cloud computing, businesses would not be able to fully take advantage of the opportunities associated with interconnected data, such as mobile computing and business analytics.

LeBlanc said that the development of open industry standards had proven a “critical turning point” in the success of many technologies, such as the Internet and operating systems, and he warned that, for cloud computing to grow and mature similar to its predecessors, “vendors must stop creating new cloud services that are incompatible.”

He cited a recent report by Booz & Company warning that without a more concerted effort to agree on such standards, and leadership on the part of major companies, “the promise of cloud computing may never be reached.”

“History has shown that open source and standards are hugely beneficial to end customers and are a major catalyst for innovation.

“Just as standards and open source revolutionised the Web and Linux, they will also have a tremendous impact on cloud computing.”

“IBM has been at the forefront of championing standards and open source for years and we are doing it again for cloud computing.  The winner here will be customers, who will not find themselves locked into any one vendor -- but be free to choose the best platform based on the best set of capabilities that meet that needs."

As the first step in its new open source/cloud approach, IBM< today unveiled a new private cloud offering based on the open sourced OpenStack software that LeBlanc says significantly speeds and simplifies managing an enterprise-grade cloud.  

“Now, for the first time, businesses have a core set of open source-based technologies to build enterprise-class cloud services that can be ported across hybrid cloud environments, LeBlanc said.

Based on what LeBlanc said were customer-driven requirements, the new software - IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator – has been designed to give clients greater flexibility by removing the need to develop specific interfaces for different cloud services.

LeBlanc said that with the new software, companies could quickly combine and deploy various cloud services onto the cloud infrastructure by lining up the compute, storage and network resources with an easy-to-use graphical interface.  IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator allows users to perform a number of functions, including:

•    Build new cloud services in minutes by combining the power of pattern-based cloud delivery, with a graphical orchestrator for simple composition of cloud automation

•    Reduce operational costs with an orchestrator that can automate application deployment and lifecycle management in the cloud: compute, storage and network configuration, human tasks automation, integration with third party tools, all delivered by a single cloud management platform, and

•    Simplify the end user consumption of cloud services, via an intuitive self service portal, including the ability to measure the cost of cloud services with metering and charge-back capabilities.

In addition, IBM also announced new versions of software that LeBlanc said used open standards to help companies better monitor and control their enterprise cloud deployments.

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Peter Dinham

 

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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