IBM will ramp up its cloud computing efforts in the messaging and collaboration market in 2010, focusing on extending the security of on-premises solutions to its LotusLive SAAS offerings. From January through October, IBM launched LotusLive Engage, a broad social networking and collaboration platform; LotusLive Connections, a SAAS version of its social networking suite; and its LotusLive iNotes hosted mail solution. IBM will have more to say on its future cloud computing direction in January at Lotusphere 2010.
Customers and industry watchers can expect IBM
to accelerate its cloud computing efforts into 2010 and beyond, investing at a
rate that is commensurate to a $120 billion cloud computing market, an IBM
executive told eWEEK.
"Cloud computing" is a broad term that encompasses many things in
the IT sector, but it's most commonly understood as computing resources that a
provider hosts and provisions to customers over an Internet connection. IBM
in 2009 rolled out several cloud-oriented initiative covering servers and
However, collaboration is the major battle front for the cloud. Google got
things rolling in February 2007 by rolling out a premier edition of its
Google Apps hosted collaboration software. IBM's
Lotus group pointed in this direction at Lotusphere 2008 with talk of
Bluehouse, a SAAS (software-as-a-service) initiative for SMBs.
IBM first began treating cloud computing
as a major platform opportunity in its Lotus collaboration software group at
Lotusphere 2009, when the company renamed Bluehouse LotusLive.
From January through October, IBM launched LotusLive Engage, a broad social networking and
collaboration platform; LotusLive Connections, a SAAS version of its
social networking suite; and LotusLive iNotes, a hosted e-mail platform that boasts
18 million seats, many of which came with the platform when IBM acquired Outblaze.
Taken together, these tools make IBM a
viable enterprise collaboration provider. While Google, Microsoft and others
offer similar SAAS collaboration suites, IBM
also offers hosted social networking tools, something that Google and Microsoft
While IBM's size has often slowed its
entrance to new markets, the company's adoption of the cloud is well-timed,
Sean Poulley, vice president of online collaboration for Lotus Software, told
Looking forward, Poulley said IBM will
ramp up its investments in cloud computing in 2010 and beyond, including
acquisitions, new research and development, and product delivery. Moreover,
much like Microsoft's software-plus-services strategy of mixing SAAS with
on-premises solutions, IBM also believes in
a hybrid world.
"There are trillions of dollars in invested capital in applications and
infrastructure, and companies aren't going to throw all of that stuff
away," Poulley said. "One of the big things that's going to happen in
the next year is this whole idea of hybrid, on-premises and cloud integration.
I think of it in terms of extending the enterprise perimeter to the
In 2010, IBM will use the cloud to create
simple business processes across company firewalls. Though Poulley declined to
provide specific details about this effort, he said people will hear more
beginning one month from today at IBM's
Lotusphere 2010. "That is going to unlock the enterprise's hesitancy to
move to the cloud at a much greater pace."
The hybrid SAAS meets on-premises model is one way IBM
and Microsoft differ from Google, which is banking on a vastly improved HTML5
markup language to push collaboration to a Web-only world. Don Dodge, one of
the many former Microsoft employees who joined Google, claims Google Apps will take off in 2010.
To wit, 2010 is shaping up to be quite the cloud arms race between not only
Google, IBM and Microsoft, but also newcomers
such as Cisco Systems and smaller startups such as Zoho.