IBM Builds a Bluehouse in the Cloud

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted October 10, 2008

Quick, everyone to the cloud.

IBM recently unveiled a services lineup to help businesses of all stripes, even small ones, adopt cloud computing as a way to reach workforces and business partners outside the bounds of the traditional office.

One of the most prominent themes is controlling costs -- a very touchy topic in this economy -- by going the software as a service (SaaS) route. Another is a shortage of IT personnel and resources, especially in smaller enterprises.

It is against this backdrop that the company today announced the free open beta of Bluehouse.

The workforce collaboration service is imbued with social networking features and is a place (figuratively speaking) where workers can store and share documents; create visualizations from raw sets of data; chat; or host or attend online meetings via a Web browser. Taking a cue from popular social networking sites, much of the functionality revolves around contacts or profiles. From there, workforces and business partners can form groups and interact in an environment with the interconnectedness and real-time messaging of social networks but in a business setting.

Along the same lines, IBM is also offering the web meeting platform Lotus Sametime Unyte. On the project management side of the coin is Telelogic Focal Point.

Apart from the collaboration aspect, IBM is targeting other areas like Web site privacy and compliance in the form of services like IBM Rational Policy Tester OnDemand and Web application security via IBM Rational AppScan OnDemand. Secure online backup is a natural, and the company is putting its Arsenal Digital Solutions acquisition to work with Onsite Data Protection and Remote Data Protection.

A robust lineup to be sure, but will businesses bite?

IBM is betting they will by seeding its efforts with programs to get independent software vendors (ISVs) on board. One is the establishment the SaaS Enablement Network with members like Terremark, Rackforce, and iTricity in tow and with the goal of driving interoperability and open standards.

Tivoli also plays a role by providing a technological foundation for web services providers. According to the company, these include Request-Driven Provisioning, Dynamic Workload Management, Usage and Accounting and Security features in IBM's systems and infrastructure management software.

Also in cards are online resources, which include code and whitepapers, filled with IBM technical know-how on building and maintaining web services. Lastly, IBM is sweetening the deal by giving business partners free access to Lotus Sametime Unyte in addition to marketing assistance.

Adapted from Enterpriseitplanet.com.

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