IBM Provides Universities with Free Cloud Computing Services

Michael Vizard

As part of an effort to ingrain the concepts being promoted under its Smarter Planet campaign in the minds of students, IBM today announced that it will give universities free access to cloud computing resources to be used across a broad range of research projects.

The IBM move follows a similar announcement from Microsoft under which it said it will work with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide free cloud computing services on its Azure cloud computing platform to projects designated as being worthy of such support by the NSF.

Beyond trying to indoctrinate students into their respective computing platforms, Mark Hanny, IBM vice president of strategic partnerships, said IBM is trying to educate both business and technology students about how to think about applying technology to innovate a business process.

Hanny says that IBM routinely hears from its customers that they lack the internal skills to leverage technology to reinvent business processes. To that end, IBM is hoping to advance the careers of a broad range of business process architects that Hanny said should lead to redefining what it means to be an IT professional in the context of business.

Specifically, the issue that IBM is trying to get at is that there are not enough business executives who have an appreciation for what IT can accomplish, while most IT people are still have little understanding of the business processes they are trying to support.

As for universities, these free private cloud computing services basically eliminate all the IT administration required to set up a research project, which in theory should encourage them to launch more research projects.

Down the road, Hanny said it's likely that IBM would extend this new cloud computing services to education institutions of all types, including corporate research projects aimed at advanced business processes in specific vertical industries.

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