Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘virtualization’ Category

Winning In Europe And Oklahoma

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IBM announced a couple of nice wins these past few days.

One, a partnership agreement between IBM and Itella, a leading provider of business services in Europe and Russia.

It’s a seven-year cloud computing agreement to help Itella streamline its business operations and improve its flexibility and time-to-market, and allowing them to focus on their core business and develop new services for their clients.

Itella provides postal, logistics and financial transaction process services in Northern and Central Europe, as well as Russia.

Specifically, IBM will build a private cloud to provide hosting as well as application management and development services to Itella. With the cloud, IBM will automate basic production of technology services as well as improve the quality and management of those services.

“Through this operating model renewal, we can adopt a flexible service delivery to increase automation and introduce best practices, utilizing IBM’s world-class competence,” said Jukka Rosenberg, Senior Vice President, Itella Mail Communications. “Through the partnership, we can make our operations more efficient and cut costs, without compromising our high-quality service.”

And nearly halfway around the globe and just north of here, the great state of Oklahoma is partnering with IBM to save $15 million over the next five years and to help improve services to state residents there.

As governments institute structural changes in the way agencies measure performance and deliver services, data analytics and new delivery models can help lead the way for transformations that realize a measurable return on investment and improved quality of life.

By analyzing business processes and consolidating IT projects, IBM will help the state gain significant savings in software licensing and technology maintenance costs— resulting in an expected IT budget recovery of 30 percent.

“At a time when we all have to learn to do more with less money, IBM has been instrumental in identifying and prioritizing IT consolidation projects for the state of Oklahoma, at the same time allowing us to invest in new services for our residents,” said Alex Pettit, chief information officer, state of Oklahoma.

“IBM brought not only its extensive public sector services experience to help create the initial business case for this project, but also worked with participating agencies to verify that the new technology environment would improve mainframe service and reduce costs.”

IBM helped the state to understand the challenges of providing IT services to various agencies with diverse requirements for data management and federal reporting.

The new IT infrastructure established a model for IT compliance with federal guidelines on program data and processes, using an IBM System z mainframe. IBM also helped the state meet project funding requirements—bridging the financial gap between the initiation of the project and the cost savings.

The agreement helps ensure that the delivery of technology services is more effective and more consistent. In addition, the new infrastructure gives each agency more control over the quality, performance, and support of their technology environment.

Ultimately, the consolidation of five mainframe platforms also yielded significant savings in costs and lower lease costs. The recommended options projected an 18-30 month payback period that would save 25–30 percent of the state’s combined annual IT budget.

IBM worked with the state on a detailed analysis of the IT infrastructure and opportunities to consolidate computing capacity, storage, network, backup and disaster recovery capabilities.

The plan included development of a target architecture, establishment of a high-level roadmap, and development of a services delivery schedule between the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), responsible for operating the consolidated environments, and each state agency.  

You can learn more about other of IBM’s smarter government initiatives here, and about IBM’s cloud computing offerings the likes of which it’s building for Itella here.

New And Smarter Systems

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Among its many features, the new POWER7+ microprocessor offers an expanded 2.5x L3 cache memory, greater security with faster file encryption for the IBM AIX operating system, and memory compression that results in no increased energy usage over previous generation POWER7 chips.

While President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney were out in the desert eating burritos, visiting dams, and doing debate prep, we at Big Blue were preparing for our own significant announcement, one that just by happenstance emerged on the big debate day.

But it’s one to pay attention to, as it bolsters IBM’s smarter computing initiative and paves the way for companies to establish a more aggressive posture in what we call “cognitive computing.”

First, the broad headline: We’ve bolstered our smarter computing initiative by introducing new Power systems, storage, and mainframe technologies.

Specifically, we’ve infused the Power systems family with the new POWER 7+ processor (see the process in the image to the left), which provides greater security and fast business analytics, capacity on demand, and significantly improved performance.

We’ve introduced massive new storage devices through the new high-end DS8870 storage systems that are three times faster than the previous models.

And recognizing the need for organizations to be more “data ready,” we’ve introduced the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator V3, which provides lightning fast analytics capabilities running on the recently introduced IBM zEnterprise EC12 mainframe.

The smarter computing initiative is aimed at solving the varied and intensifying challenges organizations are facing, from security vulnerabilities to managing ballooning data volumes that are expanding through social and mobile technologies.

You can learn more about IBM’s smarter computing initiative and these newly introduced technologies here. 

Chatting To Connect

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I’ve been watching this whole Apple “Mapgate” discussion from the sidelines with some bemusement.

If you’d have told me a few weeks ago the emerging chatter about the iPhone 5 would come down to a map app’s dysfunction, I would have laughed, but such is the state of our technology polity.

On the one hand, the debate may seem filled with frivolity. On the other hand, it speaks to the seriousness with which users take their smartphones and their apps, particularly when it involves one that could be the very thing that comes between they and their next cup of java at Starbucks…assuming they can still find one!

Whether or not Apple will relent and offer a Google Maps app in the Apple App Store, says a story by Reuters and citing Google chairman Eric Schmidt, will be a decision made by Apple.

Me, I’m still trudging along just fine with my LG “dumb phone,” although I am keeping an open eye towards the looming iPad Mini.

I love my original iPad, but I think it needs one of those “Clean My PC” solutions reoriented for original iPads. It’s become more and more lethargic in terms of performance, and sometimes, when I’m in an application the thing will just reset and take me back to the home screen.  Not quite the equivalent of a Microsoft Windows “General Protection Fault” or blue screen of death, but coming close.

Speaking of finding my way, I wanted to remind folks that the IBM InterConnect event is only a short couple of weeks away in Singapore, October 9-11 at the Royal Sentosa Resort.

My airplane tickets have been bought, my hotel booked — now if I could just figure out a way to place myself in a state of somnolence as I board the plane for the longggg journey eastward.

If you’d like to learn more about the InterConnect event, IBM is hosting a Twitter Chat this Thursday, September 27, from 9-10 EST.

If you’ve never attended a Twitter Chat, now’s your chance. Our own social business guru, Sandy Carter, will be moderating the chat, fielding questions and relating details of the coming InterConnect event.

The hashtag for the chat is #IBMInterConnect, so simply log in to your TweetDeck or other Twitter app of choice, enter that hashtag, and be prepared for the discussion this Thursday evening.

If you don’t have a Twitter app, you can also log in to the following URL to follow the action:

http://tweetchat.com/room/ibminterconnect

A little background: IBM InterConnect 2012 is a new and unique event to provide you with opportunities to meet and collaborate with business and IT leaders in your region.

The IBM InterConnect conference will explore topics and key business imperatives, including unleashing innovations, managing the velocity of change and reinventing relationships and uncovering new markets.

IBM’s Scott Hebner and John Dunderdale provide some background on InterConnect in the video below:

The Big Iron Cloud

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It’s Tuesday, August 28, 2012, and I’m having flashbacks to early the week of August 30, 2005.

Gulf Coast, I’ve got my fingers crossed for ya.

Seven years ago this week, I was flying up to NYC to cover IBM’s involvement in providing technology support for the U.S. Open.

When I left that Monday morning, all was well, but by the time I arrived at JFK, the levees had broken.

Here’s hoping NOLA built that $14 billion levee rebuild well!

Back here on the technology front, there’s some big news from Big Blue today, this time in the mainframe world.

IBM’s new zEnterprise EC12 mainframe computer, the result of a three-year, $1 billion R&D investment by IBM that includes new security and analytics technology to boost cloud computing performance, extending the mainframe’s leadership as the enterprise system for critical data.

IBM announced a new mainframe server, the zEnterprise EC12, one built around nearly 50 years of enterprise computing experience and which will help IBM customers take their analytics capabilities to the next level.

The IBM zEC12 offers 25 percent more performance per core, with over 100 configurable cores and 50 percent more total capacity than its predecessor.

This new system is the result of an investment of over $1 billion in IBM research and development by IBM, including in Poughkeepsie, NY and 17 other IBM labs around the world, and in partnership with some of IBM’s top clients.

Secure Transactions

This new mainframe is also one of the most secure enterprise systems ever, including built-in security features designed to meet the security and compliance requirements of a range of industries. It’s the only commercial server to achieve Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ security classification.

The zEC12’s state-of-the-art crytopgraphic co-processor called “Crypto Express4S” that provides privacy for transactions and sensitive data, and can be configured to provide support for high quality digital signatures (used with applications for Smart passports, national ID cards, and online legal proceedings).

Driving Business Insights

The zEC12 also advances performance for analytics, inceasing the performance of analytic workloads by 30 percent compared to its IBM predecessor.

And support for the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator that incorporates the Netezza data warehouse appliance into zEC12 enables clients to run complex business and operational analytics on the same platform.

Big Iron Cloud

The mainframe’s virtualization capabilities also make it well suited to supporting private cloud environments, where clients can consolidate thousands of distributed systems on to Linux on zEC12, lowering their IT operating costs associated with energy use, floor space, and even software licensing.

If you go here, you can learn more about the IBM zEC12 and can also contact an IBM rep or Business Partner to see how this bigger and better iron might be able to bolster your business results.

IBM’s New Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

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I wrote in a post just the other day about the opportunity for companies looking to build their enterprise mobile strategies, mentioning some 75 percent of respondents in our CIO study asserted that mobility is a top priority for their business strategy.

But I also mentioned the challenges, like the continued emergence of new platforms and OSes and devices, concerns about security and privacy of sensitive corporate information, and other related concerns.

Today, IBM made another announcement that will help more companies embrace the opportunity mobility presents, but also enjoy the fruits of IBM’s massive investments in virtualization technology as well.

This new set of flexible workplace solutions are intended to enable clients to create a simple, cost-effective environment that allows employees to use any device to access workplace applications anytime and anyplace.

IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure solutions are designed to help clients get ahead of the rising trend toward employees bringing their own electronic devices to work.  It allows organizations to manage desktops centrally while small or large numbers of users can access desk top applications from any location or device, including personal computers, tablets, smart phones, laptops and thin clients.

The solutions were created to help clients escape the constraints of physical computing — simplifying desktop management, tightening security, and enhancing overall employee productivity.

The IBM offerings support the widest range of industry hardware, software and virtualization platforms across various industries, including health care, education, financial services and retail, as well as the public sector, local, state and federal government agencies.

For example, the 2,000-student Gilmer County, Texas Independent School District is using the offering to provide a more flexible workplace for teachers and administrators.

School District Technology Director Rusty Ivey had this to say about this new virtualization solution: “The IBM virtual desktop solution with Virtual Bridges VERDE on System x allows us to lower desktop management costs, while improving data security and disaster recovery.  VDI improves the productivity of our teachers and administrative staff, as well as lab users by providing instant access to the latest operating systems and applications anytime and anywhere, using their choice of electronic devices.”

The IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure solutions come fully-tested across hardware, software and services to help streamline IT administration and help take the guess workout out of the transition to a virtual desktop environment.  The offerings were created in collaboration with leading solutions providers such as Citrix, Virtual Bridges and VMware.

The IBM System x powered solutions are immediately available worldwide in configurations to match a client’s individual desktop management requirements.  You can learn more about this new solution in the video below.

Flying Through Your Data Center

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After my recent visit to the Bahamas, and my first ever flight in a small aircraft, I decided I was going to take up flying.  Well, virtually, anyhow.

My buddy Steve recommended I buy a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, along with a remote USB yoke and throttle control, to do some initial simulation and learn some of the basic flying requirements on the safety of my computer.

Click to expand image. The IBM Smarter Computing Workload Simulator is designed to give busy chief information officers a fast and easy way to view areas of potential savings and efficiency through the lens of IBM Smarter Computing systems and technologies. I was able to create this simulation in less than a minute!

I’m all about simulating while I learn the basics of flying.  I figure it’s much safer for me on the ground than in the air!

But simulations are no longer limited simply to learning how to fly.

Sometimes, the best way to demonstrate the benefits of new technology is, actually, through more technology.

Like an online simulator for IT data center ROI, for example.

The kind of tool that allows people to punch in information and variables and receive instant feedback on possible alternatives.

So, enter the new IBM Smarter Computing Workload Simulator.

This new online simulation tool is designed to give busy CIOs a fast and easy to way to view areas of potential savings and efficiency through lens of IBM Smarter Computing systems and technologies.

If you’re not familiar with IBM’s Smarter Computing approach to IT earlier this year, IBM introduced it as a way for organizations to realize greater efficiencies, improved reliability, and better performance, and all at lower costs.

The strategy centers around three fundamental aspects:

  • Leveraging analytics to exploit vast amounts of data for business goals
  • Utilizing optimized systems that are designed for specific tasks
  • Managing as much of the IT as possible with cloud-computing technologies.

The new simulator, then, starts by asking the visitor to select either IBM Power Systems or IBM System z to compare to their own IT infrastructure.

It then asks for the type of industry they’re in, the type of workload to be compared, and the number and types of systems to compare – including those based on Intel Itanium, Intel x86, and/or Sun SPARC.

As the systems are identified, graphical images of servers begin to populate a simulated data center floor.

When the visitor finishes and hits the “Next” button, an alternative data center floor immediately pops up and populates with IBM systems and a breakdown of estimated costs and savings.

Visitors can drill down for charts and analysis on operating and strategic costs of their infrastructures, and the potential costs and savings of the IBM alternative.

For even greater analysis, visitors can click on the IBM System Consolidation and Evaluation Tool at the end of the simulation that provides a more comprehensive and detailed comparison.

IBM will expand the tool, which went live in mid-October, to include support for System x in the first half of 2012.

You can check out the IBM Smarter Computing Workload simulator here.

IBM’s Solar Servers

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There is no investment you can make which will pay you so well as the effort to scatter sunshine and good cheer through your establishment. — Orison Swett MardenAccording to the U.S. Department of Energy, data centers can consume up to 100 times more energy than a standard office building.In fact, less than 15% of original source energy is used for the information technology equipment within a data center.

A technician inspects IBM's solar-power array atop the roof of the company's software development lab in Bangalore, India. The technology is designed specifically to run high-voltage data centers, integrating AC- and DC-based servers, water-cooling systems and related electronics. The 6,000-square-foot array is capable of providing a 50-kilowatt supply of electricity for up to 330 days a year, for an average of five hours a day.

A 2008 McKinsey report suggested that demand for data centers was expected to grow at 10% CAGR over the next decade, but because of their enormous energy consumption, they were expected to consume as much energy as 10 new major power plants by last year (.2% of world energy production!)

Enter Big Blue.

IBM said today that is rolling out the first solar-power array designed specifically to run high-voltage data centers, integrating AC- and DC-based servers, water-cooled computing systems and related electronics.

The new array is spread over more than 6,000 square-feet of rooftop covering IBM’s India Software Lab in Bangalore.

The solar array is capable of providing a 50-kilowatt supply of electricity for up to 330 days a year, for an average of five hours a day.

By employing unique high-voltage DC power conditioning methods – and reducing AC-DC conversion losses – the new IBM solution can cut energy consumption of data centers by about 10 percent and tailors solar technology for wider use in industrial IT and electronics installations.

In many emerging markets, electrical grids are undependable or non-existent. Companies are forced to rely on expensive diesel generators.

That makes it difficult and expensive to deploy a lot of computers, especially in the concentrated way they’re used in data centers. Using IBM’s solution, a bank, a telecommunications company or a government agency could contemplate setting up a data center that doesn’t need the grid.

The solution, in effect, creates its own DC mini-grid inside the data center.

High-voltage, DC computer servers and water-cooling systems are beginning to replace traditional, AC-powered servers and air-conditioning units in data centers.

IBM’s Bangalore array is the first move to blend solar-power, water-cooling and power-conditioning into a “snap-together” package suitable to run massive configurations of electronic equipment.

“The technology behind solar power has been around for many years, but until now, no one has engineered it for efficient use in IT,” said Rod Adkins, senior vice president, IBM Systems & Technology Group. “We’ve designed a solar solution to bring a new source of clean, reliable and efficient power to energy-intensive, industrial-scale electronics.”

IBM plans for the Bangalore solar-power system to connect directly into the data center’s water-cooling and high-voltage DC systems. The integrated solution can provide a compute power of 25 to 30 teraflops using an IBM Power Systems server on a 50kW solar power supply.

“This solar deployment, currently powering almost 20 percent of our own data center energy requirements, is the latest in the investments made at the India lab to design an efficient and smarter data center,” said Dr Ponani Gopalakrishnan, VP, IBM India Software Lab. “Ready access to renewable energy in emerging markets presents significant opportunities for IBM to increase efficiencies, improve productivity and drive innovation for businesses around the world.”

Solid State, Solid Storage

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Solid state has evolved way beyond simply replacing vacuum tubes.

IBM today released the findings of a customer survey that demonstrates pent-up demand for solid state disk technology as a successor to flash and hard disk drives.

Customers are embracing high-performance solid-state disks to support growing data storage demands driven by cloud computing and analytics technologies.

More than half of the customer surveyed (57%) responded that their organization needs to develop a new storage approach to manage future growth. The survey of 250 U.S. IT professionals in decision-making positions was conducted by Zogby International in August 2011 on behalf of IBM.

The survey demonstrates a need for a new class of storage that can expand the market for solid-state drives (SSDs) by combining increased data delivery with lower costs and other benefits.

Nearly half (43 percent) of IT decision makers say they have plans to use SSD technology in the future or are already using it. Speeding delivery of data was the motivation behind 75 percent of respondents who plan to use or already use SSD technology. Those survey respondents who are not currently using SSD said cost was the reason (71 percent).

Anticipating these challenges years ago, IBM Research has been exploring storage-class memory, a new category of data storage and memory devices that can access data significantly faster than hard disk drives — at the same low cost.

Racetrack memory, a solid-state breakthrough technology, is a potential replacement for hard drives and successor to flash in handheld devices. A storage device with no moving parts, it uses the spin of electrons to access and move data to atomically precise locations on nanowires 1,000 times finer than a human hair.

This technique combines the high performance and reliability of flash with the low cost and high capacity of the hard-disk drive. It could allow electronic manufacturers to develop devices that store much more information — as much as a factor of 100 times greater — while using less energy than today’s designs. Racetrack memory is featured as one of IBM’s top 100 achievements as the company celebrates its Centennial this year.

These new storage technologies could also alleviate critical budget, power and space limitations facing IT administrators. Today, an average transaction-driven datacenter uses approximately 1,250 racks of storage, taking up 13,996 square feet and 16,343 kilowatts (kw) of power. By 2020, storage-class memory could enable the same amount of data to fit in one rack that takes up 11 square feet and 5.8 kws of power.

Following are further details from the survey:

  • Nearly half (43 percent) say they are concerned about managing Big Data;
  • About a third of all respondents (32 percent) say they either plan to switch to more cloud storage in the future or currently use cloud storage;
  • Nearly half (48 percent) say they plan on increasing storage investments in the area of virtualization, cloud (26 percent) and flash memory/solid state (24 percent) and analytics (22 percent); and
  • More than a third (38 percent) say their organization’s storage needs are growing primarily to drive business value from data. Adhering to government compliance and regulations that require organizations to store more data for longer — sometimes up to a decade — was also a leading factor (29 percent).

You can learn more about IBM Storage technologies here.  Also visit the blog from IBM storage expert and Master Inventor, Tony Pearson, who’s a longtime storage consultant and who writes on storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.

Written by turbotodd

September 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Cloud Expansion In Japan

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Ah, it’s a happy day for me.  Why, you ask??  Golf, of course!

The Open Championship kicked off at Royal St. George’s in Scotland, another of golf’s major tournaments.

In fact, it’s gonna be a very busy weekend, what with our rockin’ U.S. Women’s soccer team having taken out France in the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup yesterday evening.

Nice match again, ladies.  And good luck against Japan on Sunday!

On the topic of Japan, today in Tokyo IBM announced a broad expansion of its cloud computing services for customers there and in the Asia Pacific region.

The new IBM Cloud Data Center, along with a data center for LotusLive, IBM’s cloud collaboration service, will extend IBM’s cloud delivery network of cloud computing centers that serve in over 50 countries around the world.

To date, IBM has centers based in Singapore, Germany, Canada, and the United States; and 13 global cloud labs, of which seven are based in Asia Pacific – China, India, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore.

The new IBM Cloud Data Center located in Makuhari, Japan delivers IBM’s SmartCloud enterprise-class services which include a broad spectrum of secure managed services, to run diverse workloads across multiple delivery methods both public and private.

LotusLive Expansion

In addition, IBM announced it will open a dedicated data center for LotusLive, IBM’s cloud-based collaboration services, in Japan. The data center, which will be available later this year, is designed to allow customers in Japan to more easily move to the cloud.

LotusLive offers integrated social collaboration tools that combine a company’s business social network with capabilities such as file storing and sharing, instant messaging, Web conferencing and activity management.

This secure integration allows users to share and edit information, host online meetings and manage activities easily inside and outside company boundaries.

The Japan data center is designed to help improve network performance and increase business opportunities for LotusLive users. The center will allow clients, who cannot take their data outside the country due to security and regulatory compliance, to work in a security-rich cloud environment.

You can learn more via the IBM Japan cloud computing site (Warning: It’s in Japanese!)

Go here for an English language site on IBM’s SmartCloud initiative.

Written by turbotodd

July 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

New IBM Cloud Centre In Singapore

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I’m back in Texas, and was just this morning chatting with a friend about the state of U.S. infrastructure compared to other parts of the world, and the subject of Singapore came up.

In specific, Singapore’s forward-thinking approach to investing in information technology and high-speed broadband.

And then I saw the following news cross the wire, that IBM today announced a U.S. $38M investment in a new IBM Asia Pacific Cloud Computing Data Centre in Singapore.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The new centre will provide businesses with solutions and service to harness the potential of cloud computing, and is slated to launch in April.

According to Chris Morris Director of Cloud Services & Technologies, IDC Asia/Pacific, “The APEJ market for cloud computing services will grow by an average 40% per annum rate through 2014 to reach US$4.9 billion. A major driver of this growth has been the new regional data centres which are now emerging to provide the necessary infrastructure for growth of the key cloud service areas.

While cloud services have been attractive in the past, concerns about the consistency of the service performance due to the potential impact of network latency and the location of the data have inhibited their uptake for anything that was a critical workload. This increased availability of enterprise-class cloud services will underpin the acceleration of cloud services in APEJ as cloud service shifts from the SMB sector to the large enterprise.”

The first offering to be available at the IBM Asia Pacific Cloud Computing Data Centre will be from IBM’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud portfolio.

Built on an agile cloud infrastructure, the offering is designed to provide rapid access to security-rich, enterprise-class virtual server environments and is well suited for development and test activities and other dynamic workloads.

It will help enterprises fulfill on the promise of cloud by reducing operational costs, eliminating capital outlays, improving cycle times for faster time-to-market, and improving quality with virtually instant, secure access to a standardized infrastructure as a service environment.

Additionally a compelling catalogue of software from the IBM Software Group and 3rd party companies — will be available in a variety of payment models designed for Mid-Size and Large Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

A sampling of ideal workloads includes but is not limited to:

  • Application development
    • New projects or quick deployment of existing projects
    • Transient applications – demos, training, proof of concept, technology migration
    • Multi-site, outsourced development and test, including access from multiple sites, remote locations or separated external and contractor resources
  • Functional and non-functional testing
  • Dynamic workloads requiring variable capacity, such as web hosting, application pilots, statistical modeling or research activities

IBM has helped thousands of clients adopt cloud models and manages millions of cloud based transactions every day. It assists clients in areas as diverse as banking, communications, healthcare and government to build their own clouds or securely tap into IBM cloud-based business and infrastructure services.

IBM is unique in bringing together key cloud technologies, deep process knowledge, a broad portfolio of cloud solutions, and a network of global delivery centres.

For more information about IBM cloud solutions, visit www.ibm.com/cloud

Written by turbotodd

March 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm

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