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IBM’s Linux-Based ‘Cloud-in-a-Box’ Makes its First Sale

Dongying is IBM's first announced implementation of a CloudBurst cloud

Taking a page out of Cisco’s book – from the chapter on so-called smart cities – IBM late Thursday announced that the city of Dongying near China’s second-largest oil field in the midst of the Yellow River Delta is going to build a cloud to promote e-government and support its transition from a manufacturing center to a more eco-friendly services-based economy.

Dongying, which can turn the widgetry into a revenue generator, means to use the cloud to jumpstart new economic development in the region.

Its petroleum supply chain is expanding rapidly and it figures its prospective Yellow River Delta Cloud Computing Center will eventually help its petroleum industry develop more innovative application services.

Immediately, however, it means to open the thing to some 200 software start-ups for development and testing via the web through an IBM-provided self-service user interface.

Besides being an R&D platform for what the city claims will be eco-friendly oil cultivation, the city sees its cloud expanding into an e-government services platform for the Dongying economic development zone.

IBM has sold the Dongying government on its scalable, redundant, pre-packaged CloudBurst 1.1 solution – effectively an instant “cloud-in-a-box” – that IBM is peddling as the basis of its Smart City blueprint around China and elsewhere.

Dongying is IBM’s first announced implementation of a CloudBurst cloud.

The technology that Wusi, the first and only other Chinese city to go with an IBM cloud, is using is based on IBM’s Blue Cloud, which is more of a Chinese menu-style collection of widgetry. Initially Wusi wanted the cloud for a software development park and is now reportedly branching out.

CloudBurst, which has only been available since mid-June, is based on IBM’s BladeCenter platform with pre-installed and integrated Tivoli management for the hardware, WebSphere middleware and applications. VMware is built in and used for virtualization and the deal includes all the storage and networking necessary for a cloud besides the hardware, virtualization and service management software. Blessedly, it promises no software installation.

CloudBurst is based on Linux.

According to IBM VP, cloud labs & high-performance on-demand solutions Willy Chiu, it takes no more than a month and a half to be up and running with CloudBurst. The Yellow River Delta Cloud Computing Center should be functional before the end of the year.

CloudBurst is priced to start at $220,000. Dongying is starting with two racks.

Chiu mentioned that IBM started offering what it calls Smart Business cloud solutions as an Amazon-style test and dev environment – a so-called IBM Public Developer Cloud – to select IBM accounts back in June. So far it’s had no takers, a fact he ascribed to the comfort level and the cultural dislocation involved. He seems confident they’ll come around.

He said IBM itself has established an internal Innovation Cloud and that it’s had trouble with developers’ proprietary attitudes to the virtual images, treating them as though they were physical boxes and hanging on to 20 or 30 virtual servers for dear life, not having the sense to shut them down when they weren’t needed. It’s tried putting time limits on the things but it’s still trying to work out a modus vivendi.

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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