IBM Gives Cloud Computing a Seal of Approval

ibmIBM wants to corner the market on cloud computing, from providing the physical servers that make up a cloud to offering services for those unwilling to build out their own. Today it announced plans to move further into the fog by creating a kind of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for cloud computing. IBM calls it the Resilient Cloud Validation program. Big Blue hopes to work with cloud providers to offer a program that reassures businesses that a cloud doesn’t go down often as well as helping answer other questions that keep businesses from trusting in the cloud model.
Coincidentally (yeah, right) companies hoping to gain that seal of approval will need to work with IBM’s cloud consulting practice. IBM is also announcing as part of that practice that it can help answer a question I’ve long bothered cloud providers with — When is it most cost effective to outsource your application to a cloud and when should you build your own, or at least buy your own, servers?
IBM has been pretty quiet about its cloud efforts. In part because it didn’t want to hack off large customers buying a ton of IBM servers by competing with them. The computing giant hasn’t been pushing its own cloud business until a half-hearted announcement at the end of July, about a month and half after a company exec had told me IBM didn’t really want to advertise its cloud services.
While I may have doubted if IBM really “got” cloud computing in the past, a project it detailed in a press release today about a research project in China has me convinced that IBM knows exactly what the cloud is, and plans to capitalize on its name and experience to compete with Amazon (s AMZN) for enterprise business. Check it out:

IBM’s China Research Lab is piloting a newly developed cloud computing platform, codenamed Project Yun which is Chinese for “cloud,” for companies to access business services, designed to make the selection and implementation of new cloud services as easy as selecting an item from a drop-down menu. With no need for back-end provisioning, the IBM platform stands to cut the time required to deliver new services dramatically. The Yun platform allocates storage, server and network resources for the customer application with zero human input, achieving top performance, availability and power utilization.

Instant provisioning with no human intervention. Right now it sounds like vaporware, but if IBM pulls it off, its cloud offerings will move from so much vapor to a competitive business.