The most common use cases include storing large digital libraries, integration of online storage into devices or applications, and backup and archival, Harr said. "We're seeing a lot of excitement in the archival and backup space," he said.
IBM executives also spoke about the cloud Monday, saying cloud storage should provide both an infinitely scalable pool of storage and a simple way for users to access it. If built effectively, the incremental cost of managing newly added resources should be close to zero, said Stephen Edel, IBM's storage portfolio management program director.
Rather than offer its own cloud storage service, IBM is focusing on delivering the hardware and guidance necessary for service providers to build externally available clouds, as well as helping enterprise IT shops build internal clouds behind their firewalls.
Virtualization, dynamic allocation of resources, and speed and reliability achieved through standardization and automation are all necessary components of building clouds, IBM said.
While the cloud concept is similar to utility computing, which has been talked about for years, IBM said the newer cloud model will work better because of more efficient delivery methods and technical models making it easier to scale resources up and down.
"Cloud computing will transform the data center," Edel said.
While companies such as IBM have pushed the notion of enterprises building internal clouds for their own employees, Harr contends that that approach is simply a continuation of what he calls the "box model."
"From my perspective, cloud is a service," Harr said. "It is something you should be able to use both externally and internally, but it shouldn't lock you to internal environments."