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And for Its Next Trick, IBM Targets Amazon’s S3, Others

It has also added three new cloud consulting offerings to its portfolio

Having just gone into competition with Google's Gmail Monday, IBM said Tuesday that it's going to take on Amazon's S3 storage cloud and anybody else in the storage cloud business by launching its own Smart Business Storage Cloud along with a so-called Information Archive.

As with its day-old iNotes e-mail solution, which also targets Microsoft, IBM is sticking to its knitting. It's not trolling for the great unwashed with this particular venture. It wants business for a customer.

However, this private storage cloud is only the first of the cloud-based storage and analytics solutions IBM has up its sleeve.

It's also promising - and this is where Amazon has to sit up and pay attention - a business-grade public storage cloud that will be offered with flexible consumption models and a self-service user interface to fully abstract the technology from the end user.

Sounds pretty much like S3.

Anyway, IBM figures people are interested in storage clouds because of their low price points but it dismisses what's out there as "sandboxes" used for secondary or tertiary copies of data, or for development and test environments where data isn't accessed that often and isn't large-scale.

IBM's Smart Business Storage Cloud is supposed to change all that.

The widgetry is configured out of low-cost components in what IBM says is a "true scale-out clustered model not offered by its competition."

And like iNotes it can be implemented either on the client's premises or as part of an outsourcing arrangement.

It'll support multiple petabytes of capacity, billions of files, and scale-out performance that IBM says has been limited up till now to the largest HPC systems.

It's also supposed to be fully compliant with the file access methods available on all major platforms "for seamless transition to a cloud storage implementation."

IBM says its General Parallel File System has been combined with storage and server technologies like XIV and BladeCenter to house billions of files under one globally addressable namespace.

It claims the solution is highly secure and built to make use of a client's existing security and authentication infrastructure.

IBM will also offer services to help with implementation and an optional ongoing lightweight managed service to help clients manage their cloud environment on an ongoing basis.

IBM claims to be sensitive to user concerns of vendor lock-in with cloud solutions, "especially for data storage where migration costs into and out of the cloud can be costly" and says it will support standard file access protocols so moving data into and out of its storage cloud is "as simple as a file copy operation."

It didn't say what it would cost.

For clients looking for a single unified platform for information retention, IBM's got an Information Archive that it says realizes a key promise of cloud computing: seamless access to information, including archived data, no matter where it is.

The Information Archive is an integrated hardware and software solution that's supposed to answer a company's complete data retention needs, including business, legal and regulatory, by leveraging different tiers of storage, including disk and tape, with policy-based management that automatically moves less active information to more cost-effective storage systems.

IBM says the widgetry uses a customizable "collections-based" approach so the archived data can be accessed in a private cloud environment, even if it's stored on tape media. It claims this capability is critical given the increasing amount of data that's expected to exist in archived formats.

IBM has also added three new cloud consulting offerings to its portfolio for clients who want an end-to-end cloud business-based IT strategy or help in selecting the right cloud delivery model.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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