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Reminding people of how its backing was the making of Linux, IBM, to no one's surprise, has thrown its support behind cloud computing, that delicious nexus of every chi-chi buzzword technology currently in vogue: Web 2.0, rich Internet applications, software-as-a-service, SOA, grid computing, Web Services, virtualization and utility computing.

IBM calls its initiative Blue Cloud - like it could have another name - and claims it's a "game-changing model for Internet-scale computing," providing customer with just the right size computer power while at one and the same time being "green" as well as "self-healing and self-managing" based on open standards and Linux.

Lordy, if this thing was a cute guy with money, it would be every mother's dream.

Anyway, IBM says it's got 200 researchers around the world developing Blue Cloud technology and it's collaborating with some companies, universities and government agencies like - brace yourself - the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology.

Blue Cloud, when realized, is supposed to break businesses out of the old-fashioned "single server mind set," silly old local machines and remote server farms, IBM says, and transport them to the delights of a large pool of globally accessible systems where the Cloud breaks up data-intensive requests for videos, 3D images and online commerce and parcels the data into little chunks to be processed simultaneously by many computers linked to run without human intervention.

At this point IBM figures to have fully preloaded x86 and Power Clouds - BladeCenters and then dense rack clusters, it appears - bundled with software that can be grown on-demand available by the spring. There'll be a zSeries mainframe cloud available sometime next year too armed with a very large number of virtual machines.

IBM says its "secret sauce" is the virtualization software that automates, self-manages and -heals the cloud, to wit, open source Xen and PowerVM as well as its Hadoop parallel workload scheduling. Naturally IBM is using Tivoli to manage the things and is guaranteeing instant provisioning across multiple servers.

The promise is the possibly of reducing the cost and complexity of the huge scale-out infrastructures required by the growing legions of connected devices and real-time data streams, search, social networking and mobile commerce.

IBM and Google are already busily establishing cloud computing in the academe.

Blue Cloud grew out of an internal IBM portal called the Technology Adoption Program used by IBM programmers for testing.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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