IBM is putting major muscle behind its Cloud Computing initiative. In June, IBM announced a new Cloud Computing offering for enterprise developers called IBM Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud. Rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it.

At this point in time this service is in Technology Preview stage. This is both good and bad. Let’s get the bad part out of the way first; Technology Preview means it is not yet available  for wide use and adoption. As a matter of fact, at this time Technology preview program is open to customers in the United States. The good part is two fold:

  1. while it is in the technology preview stage it is free, and
  2. the latest version of DB2 i.e. v9.7 is now available

What exactly does this mean? Well, it means that you can apply to participate and if you qualify in about 10 minutes you will get your very own DB2 v9.7 server running on the IBM hardware in the cloud and you don’t have to pay a penny for either the hardware or the software. I think most people will agree that it is a pretty good deal.What can you do with this server? I think at this time as this service is just getting rolled out most people will likely use it just to get acquainted with the idea of using Cloud Computing and DB2 in the cloud. I think it is also a great opportunity to try out the new IBM Data Studio v2.2 also free of charge.

If you are interested in trying out DB2 on the IBM test and development cloud, you need to sign up for the Technology preview.

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