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HolidayBuyer's Guide

IBM muddying the Cloud?

With its recent cloud computing initiatives, is Big Blue really offering anything beyond hosting? Hard to say so far.

One key missing piece from all of the press around IBM's Cloud building initiatives is what exactly they are going to offer. So far, it just seems like new data centers being built around the world. There have been few mentions of what will be available--for example, will there be VMs, on-demand deployment, Java environments, databases or is just hosting?

And while the data center physical infrastructure is obviously the first step, vendors seem to be confusing the physical with the meta-physical in the Cloud discussion. Ipointed this out in the past when IBM announced a Cloud initiative that was really just blade servers and hosting.

I would suspect that whatever IBM comes up with in terms of offerings will be first geared toward their existing hosting customers--which could be considered a "safe cloud" with appropriate security, backups etc. versus an "open cloud" that would offer less control. Like Sun, IBM owns all the necessary pieces to create a high-quality offering, and to date has been very good about open standards. It would be great to see IBM take the lead on defining what Cloud computing looks like.

So the big question is whether or not this is just good marketing, making hosting look like something much sexier?