Cloud computing has silver lining for Ireland


19 Mar 2008

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Europe’s first Cloud Computing Centre is coming to Dublin, IBM has announced.

The new facility will serve as a hub delivering Cloud Computing research and services to a number of satellite facilities due to be built in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. IBM experts from these centres will work directly with clients in the region, helping them to adopt cloud computing solutions that spur technology research and business development.

The Dublin centre is supported by IDA Ireland. It is expected that 21 people will work in the centre, of which nine will be focused on research in the area of cloud computing.

The centre is part of and in addition to IBM’s €46m, three-year investment in Ireland announced in July 2006, which pledged 300 high-value new jobs over that period. Some of the new jobs at the centre will be additional to the 300 promised in the original investment.

“Our investments in cloud computing are a prime example of how IBM is seeking out emerging global market opportunities and new computing models that benefit IBM clients,” said Steve Mills, senior-vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group. “Through this new facility and the cloud computing model, the wealth of talent at IBM’s software lab in Ireland will be accessible to not only the rest of Europe, but Africa and the Middle East as well.”

“Responding to demand in the market, we are moving fast to build an integrated cloud computing operation. We are adding Europe’s first Cloud Computing Centre in Dublin and more facilities into a network of existing centres in China, Vietnam and the US. The centres can bring skills and expertise to serve our clients in building their own new enterprise data centres,” said Dr Willy Chiu, vice-president of high performance on demand solutions, IBM Software Group. “We will also address the need for open interoperability standards.”

IBM high performance on demand solutions lab will work with IDA Ireland to build the new cloud computing centre using IBM’s ‘Blue Cloud’ technologies, a series of cloud computing offerings based on industry open standards and open source software. IBM Tivoli systems management software will manage the cloud computing environment.

The centre will place a focus on innovation and research activities. As part of its ongoing educational initiatives, IBM has also agreed to facilitate cloud computing training for lecturers at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s school of computing. The training will help the school to foster new skills to meet the needs of this emerging computing model.

One of the centre’s first offerings for clients, called IBM Idea Factory for Cloud Computing, is a new service delivered directly to clients over a cloud computing environment. Using Web 2.0 technology, it assembles communities of business professionals into social networks to facilitate the development of new business ideas. IBM Idea Factory for Cloud Computing captures business processes from their beginnings as ideas and follows through to their commercialisation, speeding up brainstorming among employees, partners, software developers and other third-party participants.

Cloud computing is an information technology infrastructure in which dynamically shared computing resources are virtualised and accessed as a service. Cloud computing replaces the traditional data centre model in which companies own and manage their own, stand-alone hardware and software systems.

By Niall Byrne