IBM, like its rivals, has also thrown its weight behind cloud computing, both within its own business, and as an external revenue stream.

Sanford explained that the Smart Analytics Cloud was born out of an internal IBM project dubbed "Blue Insight," which aims to gather information from more than 100 information warehouses and data stores. Some 60,000 IBM employees will have access to Blue Insight by the end of the year, she told TheStreet, a figure which will rise to 200,000 in the next 12 to 18 months.

AT&T is another company touting new cloud technology this week, unveiling its Synaptic Compute as a Service offering. Built on hardware from Sun and software from virtualization giant VMware, the telecom firm is extending its current storage cloud into the computing arena.

Hinting that cloud is fast becoming an arms race, AT&T has made much of VMware's involvement in its new service, and is clearly looking to tap into the ongoing buzz surrounding the virtualization trailblazer.

VMware, for its part, is attempting to establish itself up as a major piece in the cloud infrastructure jigsaw. The software maker's AT&T deal comes hot on the heels of its recent partnership with Cisco ( CSCO) and EMC ( EMC).

Despite plenty of vendor hyperbole, however, cloud is still in its relative adolescence, and users are still skeptical about aspects of the technology.

A survey by the IT Industry Council (ITIC) earlier this year, for example, found that 85% of companies will not implement a cloud in 2009 because of fears that service providers may not be able to adequately secure sensitive data.

Other hurdles in the path of cloud computing include lack of standards for the technology, which has already prompted some acerbic vendor infighting and general wariness of new concepts.

Now see Top Rated Wireless Stocks.>>

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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