TORONTO - 23 Feb 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence today launched a pilot project that gives university students, professors, and other researchers anytime, anywhere access to some of IBM's leading business software via cloud computing.
Cloud computing is an emerging compute model for delivering and consuming IT capabilities as a service. This Tools as a Service (TaaS) technology showcase, which enables researchers to have 24/7 access to IBM's WebSphere Integration Developer and Rational Software Architect over the Internet, is a major milestone for the IBM Canada Centre for Advanced Studies and its partners in the Centre of Excellence for Research in Adaptive Systems (CERAS).
Early adopters of this pilot include the University of Waterloo, York University, Queen's University, University of Toronto, Carleton University, the Ontario Cancer Institute, and developers from the IBM Canada software lab.
This Tools as a Service initiative will provide the participating research institutions with tremendous productivity increases, along with cost, and energy savings. The researchers will have access to some of the latest enterprise software securely without needing to upgrade their own hardware systems or expand their data centers, and without the need for on-site expertise to install and get the tools running. TaaS provides the end user with sufficient computing resources to use the software, regardless of the capability of their own hardware. TaaS is able to preserve users' data from their last session and restore it so they can continue from where they left off with the software tools.
"Traditionally, software development tools were installed and run on workstations and students had access to them only during the Lab hours," says Dr. Marin Litoiu, Computer Science Professor, York University. "Tools as a Service allows the students and researchers to access IBM software tools anytime and from anywhere, using minimal web infrastructure. Besides being very convenient for the end users, Tools as a Service enables better use of university resources, as the same cloud infrastructure can be used for teaching and research, and by many users."
The software is deployed on the CERAS cloud computing infrastructure which is an expandable collection of IBM BladeCenter servers physically located on the campuses of some of the participating universities and virtualized by a virtual machine monitor. All of the students and other researchers participating in this pilot can access the tools on the CERAS cloud through a single web portal.
"Organizations of all kinds need smarter ways to manage their IT infrastructure," says Martin Wildberger, Vice President, IBM Sensor Solutions and Director, IBM Canada Software Lab. "This cloud computing pilot enables the participating research institutions to more efficiently manage their own IT resources, while providing their researchers with easy and much needed access to industry-leading business software tools."
CERAS is a research partnership established between IBM Canada's Centre for Advanced Studies, the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and eight leading universities to advance the development of next-generation software services and applications, including software as a service. The fruitful research results from this collaborative research body were applied in this commercialized solution of TaaS, whose software engineering implementation was done by the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies' Technology Incubation Lab and a post-doctoral fellow and graduate students of the participating universities.
Other university related cloud deployments include the October 2008 IBM and NC State University announcement of the availability of the Virtual Computing Lab, made available to all educational institutions via the Apache open source community.
In addition to this initiative, in October 2007, IBM partnered with Google to launch the Cloud Computing University Initiative -- an effort to promote new software development methods and help students and researchers address the challenges of internet-scale applications in the future. Dozens of universities in the United States now have access to this joint cloud computing cluster.
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. OCE's five Centres work in communications and information technology, earth and environmental technologies, energy, materials and manufacturing and photonics.
For more information on this Tools as a Service initiative, please visit: www.ibm.com/ibm/cas/taas/. For more information on IBM's leadership in cloud computing, please visit: www.ibm.com/cloud, and more information about IBM's Global University Programs is available at www.ibm.com/press/university.
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