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IBM claims new Cloud patent, improves performance, saves money

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December 10, 2014

IBM has claimed a new Cloud patent for “Routing Service Requests Based on Lowest Actual Cost within a Federated Virtual Service Cloud”.

Big Blue says that it “automatically pools cloud computing resources from disparate cloud centers, enabling enterprise clients to significantly improve performance and save money by reducing the amount of manual intervention needed to allocate hardware, software and services.”

As the patent explains, what IBM has in mind is setting up a system that conducts constant inventory of available clouds, their capabilities and the prices on offer.

Automation tools are also described, so that users of software wielding the patent can set up rules that seek out clouds that meet their requirements for price or available resources, then send workloads or data in that direction.

Yes, this is just another patent, and one that looks to have some potential for a few challenges, not least because cloud-brokerages existed before the patent's 2011 filing date.

On the upside, IBM sees this as the kind of element that managed service providers or system resellers could use to help out their clients.

Throw in the fact that in these containerised times people are looking for resources on which to spin up sometimes short-lived services and the patent looks to have some potential.

If IBM merely licences the patent, that wouldn't be out of the ordinary-- Big Blue gathers more patents than hot dinners in most years.

If IBM keeps the patent to itself and enforces it aggressively, it could make itself an irritant to lots of other cloud operators and to quite a few cloud brokerages and startups offering similar analysis and recommendation services.

So the question is, will IBM's new patent be as useful as Big Blue says it will? AWS already offers spot pricing that fluctuates hourly and allows its customers to bid for upcoming instances at the price they want to pay, a facility some of its users appreciate.

Building on IBM's patent might make it easier to take advantage of spot instances. Just how many organizations are ready to do so, comfortable with the notion that their workloads could bounce around the world and operate under different T&Cs still remains to be seen.

Source: IBM.

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