Inside IBM's only European Cloud Centre

Inside IBM's only European Cloud Centre

Summary: A visit inside IBM's cloud-computing facility in Dublin, where the lack of hardware belies the efforts to experiment with crunching data in the cloud


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  • There is nothing very high-tech-looking about the Cloud Centre. In the main, it looks like any other place for holding seminars.

    IBM said a number of times during our visit that it sees the cloud in every part of everything that it does as a company, and that it is looking for any application that can have a useful role in it.

    For example, IBM is looking at using the cloud to handle data tasks for large-scale, complex graphics, such as those used in modern animated movies. The company explained there are two parts to producing high-quality animation: the main processing and the rendering of the images. Of the two, the rendering is the heavier task, and this can routinely take a lot of time to complete, even when done by modern supercomputers.

    IBM is working on the theory that the cloud could allow this work to be spread around many systems. Large numbers of small computers gathered in its cloud could produce the next animated blockbuster at less cost than a supercomputer.

  • One image dominated the presentation screen for most of the day at the IBM Cloud Centre: one outlining Blue Cloud, its infrastructure cloud computing. It can be noted that while IBM has its own virtualisation software for Unix and PC systems, and it also supports Xen Server.

    "There are only three companies that are leading cloud computing: IBM, Google and Amazon", according to Joe Clabby of analyst firm Clabby Analytics.

Topic: Cloud


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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