By Kevin Komiega
-- Cloud computing can be confusing, and in an effort to make sense of it all IBM has kicked off a new set of consulting services and the "Resilient Cloud Validation" program, designed to help users take advantage of cloud computing and validate the resiliency of any company delivering applications or services to clients in the cloud environment.
In a nutshell, cloud computing is a model under which users see only services and not the underlying implementation or infrastructure. According to IBM's director of business continuity and resiliency services, Brian Reagan, unpredictable performance and some high-profile downtime and recovery events with newer cloud services have created a challenge for customers evaluating the move to cloud-based services.
"It's a buyer beware market out there when it comes to enterprise cloud computing," says Reagan. "Not everything belongs in a cloud and our services help customers sort through it and make decisions about what to put in the cloud."
The IBM Resilient Cloud Validation program, according to Reagan, will verify to businesses that a cloud infrastructure has been designed, implemented and is being managed by the resiliency standards set forth by IBM.
The program will allow businesses that collaborate with IBM through benchmarking, design validation, infrastructure hardening and redundancy, and ongoing monitoring and management to use the IBM "Resilient Cloud Proven" logo when marketing their services.
"There is no one-size-fits-all model for resilience, but there needs to be a framework for service providers to measure and validate their cloud infrastructures against," says Reagan. "Ultimately, cloud service providers are in the business of helping other businesses run. Our program assures a level of resilience and comfort that can be given to their customers."
IBM has also launched business and technology consulting services, including industry-specific Business Consulting Services for Cloud Computing and Technology Consulting, Design and Implementation Services.
Offered by IBM Global Business Services, the Business Consulting Services offering uses an economic model to assess the total cost of ownership for building private clouds, or moving data and applications off-site in a public or hybrid cloud model.
The Technology Consulting, Design and Implementation Services, delivered via IBM Global Technology Services, help customers install, configure and deliver cloud computing inside the data center.
In addition, cloud technology consulting from IBM's Information Technology Strategy and Architecture team can now evaluate how cloud computing resources, processes and investments can support business objectives. IBM consultants can assist customers in creating roadmaps for re-constructing their IT environments with an eye toward cloud computing models to streamline operations.
IBM is also expanding its research in the cloud computing market by working directly with clients to create replicable, cloud-delivered, industry-specific services such as Lender Business Process Services or Healthcare Process Services, as well as horizontal business services such as CRM and supply chain management.