IBM jumped into the cloud bandwagon with their IBM Smart Business Services Cloud.
Unlike Amazon Web Services, which is a general purpose cloud, IBM took
the approach of tasks based clouds built around a workload, targeting
enterprise customers vary of Amazon public clouds. They positioned
their cloud solutions as something which IBM can deploy quickly and
securely either inside the enterprise firewall or on IBM Cloud. They are optimized for workloads as diverse as software development and
virtual desktops, as smarter traffic management and smarter retail.
IBM Smart Business cloud portfolio, developed based on the
conversations IBM has had with their enterprise customers, is meant to
help clients turn complex business processes into simple services. To
accomplish this, Smart Business clouds brings sophisticated automation
technology and self-service to specific digital tasks as diverse as
software development and testing; desktop and device management; and
To justify their strategy, IBM gives the following statistics
- Developers are driving so much business value that the
average enterprise devotes 30 to 50 percent of its entire technology
infrastructure to development and test, but typically up to 90 percent
of it remains idle.
- IBM has seen that enabling developers to serve
themselves can help reduce IT labor costs by 50 percent, reduce
provision cycle times from weeks to minutes and improve quality,
eliminating software defects by up to 30 percent.
- Using up to 73 percent less power than traditional
desktops and laptops, server-enabled virtualized desktops deliver a
better end-user experience and can be more efficiently managed.
When I asked IBM folks about the typical cost savings they envision for their cloud customers, they told me that they could deliver
- Upto 80 percent savings on floor space
- Upto 60 percent savings on power and cooling costs
- Triple asset utilization
IBM has broadly classified their Cloud offerings as
- Development and Test Workload Offerings – IBM takes a two
pronged approach here offering the so called internal clouds inside of
the enterprise firewall and IBM public cloud. They position these
offerings as a smarter way to do testing and development.
- Desktop Workload Offerings – These virtualized desktop
offerings help users to use a thin client or a PC, Java and a browser
to access virtual desktops from a centralized server. The advantages
are better security, easy patch management and scalability. It offers
both Windows and Linux based (virtual) desktops.
- Collaboration Workload Offerings – As previously mentioned in this blog, their Lotus Live hosted suite combined the social networking services with collaboration features to offer a feature rich browser based enterprise collaboration tools.
- Business Services Workload Offerings – The validation
services offered by IBM when they were still reluctant to jump into
Cloud Computing bandwagon.
Yesterday, Gigaom released an exclusive story
about IBM’s plan to open up their Smart Business Development and Test
on the IBM Cloud to public for beta testing. Even though IBM announced
their plans for public development and test cloud in June 2009, it is
still in the technology preview stage. The Smart Business Development
and Test on the IBM Cloud will open to public at at 2 p.m. PDT on
public beta after serving about 600 customers in a private beta. Some
in the cloud community were disappointed when Big Blue announced plans
for the test and development cloud in June but provided no time table
for the public beta and the general availability of the product. But
now we know that the public beta of IBM’s Smart Business Develop and
Test Cloud, which uses tools from its Rational software, will open
Thursday at 2 p.m. PDT, allowing anyone to take those virtual machines
for a spin for free. The general availability will be sometime early
- IBM is planning to offer private clouds in the near
future. Unlike Amazon’s public clouds, private clouds service just a
single tenant from either within the enterprise firewall or from a
managed service provider’s datacenter. Since IBM has been in the
infrastructure business for such a long time, they could offer the
private clouds with a little bit of repositioning of their existing
- So far, IBM has been offering a web form based support for their public IBM cloud. With today’s launch of public beta, they are going to offer telephone support. Well, this is no-brainer.
If they want to convince enterprise customers to try their public
clouds, they have to offer telephone support. This is a much needed
strategy to get customers on board.
IBM is making some solid moves to capture the enterprise cloud
computing marketplace. Compared to Amazon’s my way or highway approach
(only public clouds strategy), IBM’s flexible approach will make
enterprise customers comfortable even though the economics is different
from what Amazon offers.It will be interesting to see how this market landscape is going to emerge in the coming years.
Check out fellow Cloud Ave commentator Ben Kepes’ take on IBM’s Cloud plans.