Openness central to IBM's vision of one-stop cloud marketplace

As part of new consortium, Big Blue aims to develop pick-and-mix option for cloud services

Like Microsoft and Google, IBM would love to be the go-to company for cloud computing services. To compete, Big Blue is embracing openness as a key differentiator in its cloud vision -- hence its collaboration with academic, business and political groups in the European Union on the newly formed Artifact-Centric Service Interoperation (ACSI) consortium, which aims to build a central buffet table from which organization could choose from and blend to taste a smorgasbord of disparate cloud services -- such as data storage, task execution, and service integration -- delivered by an array of providers. 

Openness is key to ASCI's envisioned cloud-computing framework, through which organizations could easily grab and blend separately managed cloud-based services to meet their respective business needs, all on a pay-per-use basis, according to the new consortium. That openness could prove a key differentiator to, say, Microsoft's emerging cloud-computing vision.

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The ACSI framework will be composed of interoperation hubs -- virtual rendezvous for multiple services -- which work well in the context of open-service networks, according to ACSI. "These hubs are primarily reactive, serving as a kind of structured white board that participating services can refer to, that can be updated with information relevant to the group, that can assist the services by carrying out selected tasks, and that can notify services of key events," according to the consortium's website.

The interoperation hubs will be structured around dynamic artifacts, which "provide a holistic marriage of data and process, both treated as first-class citizens, as the basic building block for modeling, specifying, and implementing services and business processes. ... Artifacts can give an end-to-end view of how key conceptual business entities evolve as they move through the business operations, in many cases across two or more silos."

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