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IBM to announce cloud-computing 'czar'

OK, it's the computing world's biggest buzzword, so maybe that's why the world's biggest tech company is putting all its cloud-computing initiatives under one person's authority.

With so much buzz in the corporate computing world around the (sometimes ambiguous) concept of "cloud computing," it was only a matter of time before one large company or another appointed a cyber computing czar.

Erich Clementi IBM

On Tuesday, IBM put Erich Clementi in charge of all its cloud-computing work. His appointment was part of a multitime zone announcement that also featured the company's latest cloud-computing clients--Elizabeth Arden, Nexxera, and the United States Golf Association--who intend to test Big Blue's cloud applications in their own businesses.

Clementi's official title is general manager of Enterprise Initiatives. But GM or czar, he is being catapulted into a high-profile position where he'll be making the case to customers why they should sign with IBM instead of one of its rivals. In the last 18 months, IBM has built more than a dozen cloud centers around the world. But Clementi's job now is to speed that effort with an eye toward "making cloud technology work for and with corporations and governments."

With IT budgets under pressure because of the economy, cloud computing has emerged as a favorite concept among the digerati because of the potential savings it offers clients. (It doesn't hurt that IDC is projecting that cloud computing will evolve into a $42 billion market within the next three years.)

Clementi will take his official bow at IBM's annual CIO conference, which this year is being held this week in China. Among the other announcements at the conference to note, IBM will announce Tivoli Storage as a Service. The idea here will be to allow customers to pay for metered use of the product's data protection technologies via a cloud.