How IBM Is Retooling Itself for Future Cloud Business

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-03-30 Print this article Print

IBM is expanding SoftLayer's cloud offerings to include OpenStack capabilities, consistent with its entire SmartCloud portfolio and longtime commitment to open standards such as Linux. Given that most companies will mix public and private cloud services, clouds need to interoperate. In this way, firms can better leverage the cloud to run their social, mobile and big data applications.

IBM will also support and enrich the SoftLayer cloud-centric partners and ecosystem as well as its performance capabilities for big data and analytics. IBM will provide go-to-market and customizable resources for its expanding cloud ecosystem.

Comfort offered eWEEK a progress report on IBM's cloud computing business and the sector in general, citing the following data points and trends he's seeing:

--In 2013, IBM delivered $4.4 billion of revenue for cloud-based solutions. That’s up 69
percent year to year. Within that, $1.7 billion was delivered as a service.

--IBM has more than 40,000 cloud experts with deep industry knowledge and skills helping clients transform with cloud and drive growth; 1,560 cloud patents tied to inventions; and will have a total of 40 data centers worldwide up and running by the end of 2014.

--Some of the trends that defined cloud computing in 2013 are accelerating, such as the push for highly complex interoperable clouds, built on open standards; the evolution of delivery models and the adoption of industry-specific clouds. At the same time, we're starting to see new developments take shape, such as increased demand for globally dispersed, decentralized cloud networks that offer users greater control over governance, risk and compliance.

--Cloud Foundry is emerging as the de facto standard for platform-as-a-service in the same way OpenStack did for infrastructure-as-a-service in 2013. The OpenStack foundation launched in September 2012, and by the end of last year, OpenStack had emerged as the de facto industry standard for IaaS, with more than 1,200 individual code contributors supporting the project.

--As PaaS offerings mature and more developers look to build and launch applications in the cloud, the push for similarly ubiquitous open standards is intensifying at the platform level. Thanks in part to endorsements from industry leaders, Cloud Foundry is emerging as the de facto open standard. With open-standards-based PaaS platforms, developers are able to take control away from the vendor by improving their ability to migrate data and applications easier and more efficiently.

--The role of the CIO is going through a fundamental transformation, changing from managing traditional IT systems into brokering cloud infrastructure, applications and information services. As the cloud becomes more pervasive in various lines of business, IT is starting to assume ownership of integration, service levels and governance around cloud services.   

--Industry-specific clouds are driving cloud adoption in finance, health care, telecommunications, retail, energy and utilities, and more. Until recently, most clouds fell into the one-size-fits-all category, with basic cloud features and benefits applied to every organization, regardless of industry. But organizations aren't basic; rather, they belong to an industry with unique needs, challenges and advantages.

--Hybrid cloud deployments are driving cloud adoption by allowing organizations to integrate their public and private cloud services with each other and with their legacy IT environment.


Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz


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