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IBM, AT&T Dive Deeper Into Cloud

Updated with information on ATT.net outage

ARMONK, N.Y. (TheStreet) - Big tech and telecom names AT&T (T), VMware (VMW),Sun (JAVA) and IBM (IBM) are ramping up their cloud computing strategies today.

Tech bellwether IBM claims to be breaking new ground in this space with the launch of its Smart Analytics Cloud, a set of technologies for firms that want to compile information across their organization. This could be, for example, a corporate sales team that needs to draw reports from multiple databases in different global divisions.

"We can set up their private cloud for them, or we can offer it as a [hosted] service," Linda Sanford, senior vice president of enterprise transformation, told TheStreet. "There are certain industries that will jump on it faster than others -- retail tends to be very aggressive on this and I think that the finance industry can benefit."

AT&T, VMware Meet In The Cloud

Cloud services, which typically offer computing power or data storage via the Internet, have been gaining momentum recently, with companies such as Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Verizon (VZ) all pushing the technology. AT&T, for example, already offers its Webmail service, although its att.net Web site was temporarily inaccessible early Monday following a 'fiber cut'.

IBM's Smart Analytics Cloud is a set of hardware, software and services that customers use to collate information across their organization, which is then accessed through a secure Web portal. Consisting of a System z mainframe computer, the cloud package also includes IBM's Cognos business intelligence and DB2 database software.

The tech giant has already predicted that business analytics software will be one of 2010's hottest technologies. During the conference call to discuss the company's third-quarter results, IBM CFO Mark Loughridge vowed to pump profits into business analytics, which he described as a primary investment area. Since 2005, IBM has spent $9 billion on acquisitions to build its business analytics capabilities, and the technology looks set to account for a large chunk of the firm's $6 billion annual R&D budget.

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