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IBM and EU in Cloud Consortium
The consortium has set itself an Artifact-Centric Service Interoperation (ACSI) project

IBM is setting up a research consortium with the European Union and European schools to flesh out a new computer science model that uses open source software and the cloud to derive a 40% cost reduction in the design, deployment and management of what it calls "e-service blends" - that is, in hooking together various companies' customer services.

The consortium has set itself an Artifact-Centric Service Interoperation (ACSI) project that's supposed to simplify and streamline the usually costly and mostly manual process of blending multiple, separately managed e-services into industry-specific, dynamic, organic wholes.

It says the ACSI framework should be able to automate about 90% of the data transformations needed.

ACSI is based on the fundamentally new notion of an "interoperation hub," which IBM Research introduced last year. Interoperation hubs are supposed to provide intuitive, flexible environments around which e-service blends can form.

They are supposed to provide a generic, yet highly customizable, solution for systematically handing off data and processing from one application or organization to another.

A second pillar of the ACSI framework is the concept of a dynamic artifact or business entity. These artifacts represent business processes and are based on a holistic combination of data and how that data changes as the artifact moves through its lifecycle.

IBM says dynamic artifacts have already been used in dozens of its business transformation projects.

Its consortium partners are supposed to work together to develop rich extensions and applications for these basic concepts.

ACSI interoperation hubs will be provided as software-as-a-service hosted in cloud environments. Businesses large and small will get a pay-per-use model for data storage, task executions and service integration costs.

"We are pushing the frontiers of e-services by providing a highly data-centered approach to combine them, and we are pushing the frontiers of cloud computing by incorporating a semantically rich enabler of e-service blending into the cloud," said IBM Research manager Richard Hull, a key scientist on the project. "We expect the ACSI interoperation hub framework to provide a paradigm shift in the way e-services, and more generally enterprises, can work together."

The consortium includes Sapienza Universita degli Studi di Roma, Italy; Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy; Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, UK; Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Netherlands; University of Tartu, Estonia; Indra Software Labs SLU, Spain; and Collibra NV, Belgium.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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