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Cloud Computing - overview


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Cloud computing describes the technologies involved in making a large number of machines behave like a single machine. It also refers to the task of centralizing infrastructure-related applications so they can be upgraded or modified in a way that does not break any part of the cloud computing network.

IBM has been pursuing the vision of cloud since the 1970s. Indeed, cloud computing research acknowledges that existing technologies, especially in the areas of distributed and parallel computing, can be used to solve increasingly complex -- and ever more urgent -- problems. Cloud computing depends on putting disparate technologies together in an artful way.

In consumer terms, cloud computing typically refers to the transfer of data from individual PCs and other computing devices to a central "cloud," or set of corporate servers. Once stored, individuals or organizations can share access to that data.

But cloud is not simply a data repository. It also addresses active computing systems and software that interact with other active computing systems and software -- all of which are managed by a third party; i.e., the cloud. At IBM, we want the software to reflect changing demands from our customers and stakeholders. The only way that can happen is to enable rapid communication between developers and operational staff.

At IBM Research, the cloud is about much more than storing and accessing concrete pieces of data. It is about centralizing computing systems, software and applications; managing them; modifying them without disrupting part or all of the compute cloud, and generally making these services available on a pay-per-use basis.

Organizations that have profited from IBM's research into cloud technologies include:

  • A private equity firm worked with IBM to aggregate three different data management systems into a single data-back-up operation. This project became urgent in an era of new mandates from the federal government, which requires financial services companies to store bigger volumes of business-critical data. The firm too recognized the need to protect critical data in the event of a major disaster. The managed backup cloud solution included on-site turnkey tape and disk backup service with disk replication and tape vaulting, a remote data protection service that automatically backed up server and PC data to one of the firm’s regional data centers, and on-site storage appliances for rapid backup and restoration of the most critical data. The results: The firm experienced a 50 percent decrease in data storage expenses, exceeded its 99 percent data backup accuracy goal and adheres to regulatory requirements. See Investment firm shrinks storage costs with an IBM Cloud solution
  • TestPro, an IBM Business Partner and Australia-based software quality and testing services company, wanted to create a testing platform to help its customers easily automate the testing process. TestPro built a testing platform and then used an IBM cloud enterprise offering to deploy the solution to customers and host the internal development environment. The cloud solution helped TestPro significantly cut costs and rapidly deliver its testing platform. The results: TestPro reduced the amount of time required for testing by 99 percent.

At IBM, these professional interest communities (PICs) comprise Cloud Computing:

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 Last updated on July 1, 2014




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