Looking to allay corporate IT misgivings about hosted computing services, IBM and Dell earlier this month unveiled tools that focus on helping companies build and use more secure and reliable private and public clouds.

The IBM and Dell announcements came just weeks after Hewlett-Packard announced a so-called infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud offering for both consumers and businesses.

IBM introduced two tiers of cloud services under the name SmartCloud, while Dell announced plans to spend $1 billion this year to build data centers that support cloud services for corporate customers. Dell also said it's building preconfigured, pretested and pre-validated systems to help customers create in-house private clouds .

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