February 06, 2008, 1:12 PM — IBM and the EU have launched
a joint research initiative to develop new virtualization and grid technologies
for cloud computing, which will enable the sharing of IT services.
Known as RESERVOIR (Resources and Services Virtualization without Barriers),
the initiative has been funded to the tune of €17 million (US$25 million)
"to explore the deployment and management of IT services across different
administrative domains, IT platforms and geographies."
Last year, IBM began a company-wide cloud computing initiative across its server,
software, services, and R&D units. Then in November, IBM unveiled plans
for "Blue Cloud," a series of cloud computing products that would
allow organizations to make wider and more efficient use of the computing resources
in their data centers.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, cloud computing is an emerging approach
to shared infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together
to provide IT services. Essentially, it is where computing is moved away from
a particular computer or server, to a "cloud" of computers.
The theory is that users of cloud computing only need to worry about the computer
service being requested, because the back-end resources are distributed and
therefore hidden. This pool of computer resources is managed by software.
The RESERVOIR initiative aims to develop technologies to support a service-based
online economy, where resources and services are transparently provisioned and
managed. The IBM Haifa
Research Lab will lead this computing project, but other members of the
initiative include SAP
Research, Sun Microsystems,
Thales, and the University
College of London.
Any resulting technology or services will be built on open standards, and would
be used to "serve IBM, partners and customers in the development of modern
data centers with quantified and significant improvements in service delivery
productivity, quality, availability and cost."
A typical use of RESERVOIR could be to simplify the delivery of online entertainment.