IBM research aims to automate virtual, cloud computing

IBM teams with US universities to develop self-managing technologies for virtual data centers in cloud computing environments

IBM on Wednesday launched a collaborative research initiative with two US universities Big Blue said could ultimately deliver software applications that enable self-managing virtual datacentres and automation in cloud computing environments.

IBM partnered with Georgia Institute of Technology and Ohio State University to conduct the research aimed at developing self-managing technologies within IBM's autonomic computing division, created in 2001. Big Blue officials say the increased complexity virtualization and cloud computing bring to environments require technologies that can keep up with an increased rate and frequency of change. The company expects the research to produce capabilities that would be integrated across IBM products, in particular its Tivoli management software portfolio.

"IBM is very active in autonomic computing and more recently with cloud computing. This research brings two areas together to address customer challenges," said Matt Ellis, IBM's vice president of Autonomic Computing. "More adaptive and flexible computing environments promise benefits, but they increase the complexity of management. This research will bring automation to support these dynamic environments."

The project, slated to be launched at a ribbon-cutting ceremony today in Atlanta, combines Georgia Tech's expertise in creating technologies for managing diverse distributed service-oriented systems and applications with Ohio State's focus on IT process and management issues. The two universities will work closely with IBM Watson and Austin Research Labs and Raleigh development teams to test applications and processes on infrastructure awarded by IBM. The project is one among many in IBM's Shared University Research and Academia Initiative programs, in which researchers at colleges and universities propose research projects to Big Blue.

Being selected by IBM means the universities can conduct their work using IBM BladeCenter H chassis running HS21 servers, IBM System Storage DS34000, network equipment and software that includes IBM Tivoli, WebSphere and Information Management. Along with VMware virtualization and other infrastructure technologies, the initiative will create a prototype computing cloud that links datacentres from the two educational institutions, called the Critical Enterprise Cloud Computing Services (CECCS) facility.

Cloud computing, often used in software-as-a-service delivery models, can also be adopted in-house among IBM clients, Ellis said, and Big Blue plans to be prepared to manage change and complexity in both environments for its customers.

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