IBM has won a contract to help the Chinese state of Dongying develop a platform for providing cloud-based services.
Computer companies love terms like cloud-based services. Most of the people involved have no clear idea what it means but they know it will be of great benefit to the consumer once they have bought it.
Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe.
Cloud computing is a way of everyone being able to use all of the services of a network, perhaps even of the whole internet. The user does not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the "cloud" that supports them. Nor, of course, do the sales people. They know it is a sexy term and they can rattle of its benefits. But they have no clear idea of how it works.
The concept generally incorporates combinations of the following:
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).Platform as a service (PaaS).Software as a service (SaaS).
That means you do not need to keep everything on your computer. You can access all the information you need without even knowling where it is being kept except somewhere in a cloud of inormation. Possibly somewhere on the internet. Provided, of course, everything is up and running.
In fact, cloud computing services often provide common business applications online (that is on the internet) that are accessed from a web browser, while specialised software and data are stored on servers —- large computers—- owned and run by the organization.
The term cloud is, in fact, a marketing term and is an abstraction for a complex infrastructure which typically will use both the internet and company (or government department) owned major computers.
Under the agreement, IBM, which is the world’s greatest company at selling services people do not clearly understand, will help the Dongying government build a cloud that will provide software development and test resources for software startup companies by way of the web.
Dongying is located in the central area of the Yellow River Delta and boasts rich oil and ecological resources and is home to China’s second largest oil field.
The project, to be financed by Chinese economic stimulus budget, is expected to be duplicated in other cities across the country.
Will it work? Not, perhaps, at the beginning, but eventually it will probably be the way all industry runs its computing.
IBM said the platform, which is likely to be up and running over the coming months, will be built with IBM’s CloudBurst hardware. Note that is "will be built" not is "already built".
When asked to define these differences the head of a company other than IBM said they sold its product in two stages, "present actual" and "future hopeful".
CloudBurst is the name of an IBM large server which can be accessed by individual computers. Or, in marketing speak, it is a HS22 blade appliance designed to allow end users to provision VMware virtual machines, which are managed from a central location.
TMCNet.com reports that Willy Chiu, vice president of IBM Cloud Labs, said, “With advanced information technologies, IBM is helping many Chinese regions build smarter cities." As Mandy Rice-Davies said on another memorable occasion, "Well he would say that, wouldn’t he."