IBM has opened cloud computing centres in four countries to allow organisations test web-based services and applications.

The new cloud centres are in Bangalore, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Seoul, South Korea. The company now has 13 cloud computing centres worldwide.

Cloud computing is a relatively new technology, and issues such as usage models need to be studied, said Ponani Gopalakrishnan, vice president of IBM's India Software Lab.

The cloud computing model allows businesses and consumers to remotely access computers over the Internet to access services, IBM said. Using shared infrastructure like a cloud computing center allows businesses to manage and provision IT infrastructure dynamically depending on the requirements of business, Gopalakrishnan said.

The new center in India is positioned as an experimental platform for businesses and academic institutions to deploy and test applications, Gopalakrishnan said. While the platform would be offered free to academic institutions that IBM partners with, businesses will be charged, he added.

There are a number of production-scale applications using cloud computing available, Gopalakrishnan said. Academic institutions in India are expected to work on using cloud computing for e-government applications and researching deployment models for cloud computing, he added.

Cloud computing will help his organisation provide IT services to its branches around the world without setting up additional infrastructure, said Deepak Bhosale, chief manager for IT at Asian Paints, an Indian vendor of paints.

The Society for the Promotion of Excellence in Brazilian Software (SOFTEX) and Vietnam Technology and Telecommunications (VNTT) are some of the early customers for the new cloud computing centers, IBM said.

Inadequate communications bandwidth in emerging economies like India will not be a bottleneck for the adoption of cloud computing, Gopalakrishnan said. There are a lot of mobile applications built around cloud computing, for example, that run on less than broadband-grade connectivity, he added.