IBM latest to unveil cloud machine

IBM has this week unveiled a service-oriented architecture (SOA) appliance that it says will help customers to build private cloud infrastructures.

The company argues that this will save businesses money by allowing them to provision just enough computing resources for their requirements.

The WebSphere CloudBurst appliance, which the company unveiled at its Impact conference in Las Vegas yesterday, allows users to provision and manage virtual instances of application servers. This means that if there is a peak in demand for an application, new instances can be quickly provisioned and decommissioned.

“Cloud [computing] has to be built on a virtualised infrastructure so it can stretch to meet demand,” said Walter Falk, an IBM SOA executive, at Information Age’s Business Applications and Infrastructure 2009 conference last week.

The announcement of WebSphere CloudBurst continues a trend among large IT companies offering hardware products supposedly built for cloud computing.

First of these was Cisco, which made a surprise entry into the server market in March 2009 with the announcement of its Universal Computing System (UCS), a combined server, networking and storage platform built for scalable, virtualised environments, otherwise known as ‘clouds’.

Last month, Hewlett-Packard echoed Cisco’s announcement with the unveiling of BladeSystem Matrix, a prebuilt system also including server, storage and networking systems. However, unlike Cisco’s new product, which represents a radical departure, some observers questioned whether BladeSystem Matrix contained anything genuinely new.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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