IBM moves into cloud storage

The Smart Business Storage Cloud pulls together IBM technologies to allow businesses to set up private clouds where they can store and archive petabytes of data
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

IBM has launched a system to help enterprises build private clouds to retain their data, its first cloud-based storage product.

The Smart Business Storage Cloud was unveiled on Tuesday at the company's Information Infrastructure Analyst Summit in Boston, alongside a complementary information archiving product, and consulting services to support both. The product is out now as a test version, with full availability planned in several weeks' time, IBM said.

Cloud computing is designed to provide computing resources that can be scaled as needed, using large numbers of CPUs running as a single compute engine. The best-known cloud providers are public clouds — such as those offered by Amazon or Google — but to date, IBM has focused on private clouds, intended to bring the benefits of cloud computing to a company's own infrastructure.

IBM also signalled in its announcement that it plans to extend its Smart Business line-up to a public storage cloud for enterprises, but did not say when this would be available or how much it would cost.

"The company will continue to build out this area of the portfolio, including a business-grade public cloud for storage, which will be offered with flexible consumption models and a self-service user interface to fully abstract the technology from the end user," IBM said in a statement.

In June, IBM introduced several cloud products aimed primarily at development and testing services, also under its Smart Business brand.

The private Smart Business Storage Cloud launched on Tuesday offers multiple petabytes of capacity for billions of files, according to IBM. It is based on a range of the company's technologies, including its General Parallel File System (GPFS), the XIV storage system and the BladeCenter blade server architecture. The product is offered under a single globally addressable namespace and is designed to work with a client's existing security and authentication infrastructure.

In addition, the product supports standard file-access protocols, in an effort to ensure customers can easily migrate data in and out of the cloud as needed.

A linked announcement outlined the new IBM Information Archive, which also falls under the Smart Business umbrella. The hardware-and-software package combines IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager with GPFS and other technology to provide a single platform for archiving data for business, legal and regulatory reasons. It makes use of both disk and tape in a single pool, and uses policy-based management that automates the migration of less-used data to more cost-effective storage systems, IBM said.

"Using a customisable 'collections-based' approach, the archived data can be accessed in a private cloud-computing environment, even if it's stored on tape media," IBM said in its statement.

On the consulting site, IBM is offering services for implementation support as well as ongoing management services for the storage cloud.

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