A group of companies, including SAP, Seimens, Telefonica, Telenor and lead by IBM, has been handed an EU-funded project to develop the next generation of cloud storage platforms.
The initiative, cubbed VISION Cloud for Virtualised Storage Services for the Future Internet, aims to develop a new approach to data storage in the cloud by representing information as 'smart objects.'
The technology that the companies, in partnership with the National Technical University of Athens, Umea University, the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, and the University of Messina, will be working on is designed to give these 'smart objects' rich information on the content of the data along with how it should be dealt with by the storage system in terms of preservation, replication, and handling.
By gifting stored data with this kind of metadata, IBM believes that it can develop a profitable business model for cloud data storage. Kristof Kloekner, IBM Cloud's chief technology officer, claimed in a statement that "by optimizing delivery of data-intensive storage services, VISION Cloud will usher in a new era of more flexible, scalable, and secure cloud storage that can be delivered in a pay-per-use model."
The project will draw on IBM's cloud research projects of the last three years, while the other companies and academic institutions involved will also offer their expertise to the project.
The funding, however, comes from the European Union, which has agreed to set aside €15.7 million - that's around £13.3 million - to pay for the project.
Neither the EU nor IBM has offered an idea of when the research is likely to bear fruit.