LAS VEGAS—IBM has announced that its cloud services and software will be based on an open cloud architecture—OpenStack—as the systems giant introduced new open software to help enterprises unlock the promise of the cloud.
IBM officials said this move will ensure innovation in cloud computing is not hampered by locking businesses into proprietary islands of unsecured and difficult-to-manage offerings. Without industry-wide open standards for cloud computing, businesses will not be able to fully take advantage of the opportunities associated with interconnected data, such as mobile computing and big data, IBM said.
As the first step, the company today unveiled a new cloud offering based on open cloud standards, including OpenStack, that significantly speeds and simplifies managing an enterprise-grade cloud. This gives enterprises a core set of open-source-based technologies to build enterprise-class cloud services that can be ported across hybrid cloud environments. The new software is known as IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator. IBM made the announcement at its IBM Pulse 2013 conference here. The event runs March 3 to March 8.
"History has shown that standards and open source are hugely beneficial to end customers and are a major catalyst for innovation," Robert LeBlanc, IBM senior vice president of software, said in a statement. "Just as standards and open source revolutionized the Web and Linux, they will also have a tremendous impact on cloud computing. IBM has been at the forefront of championing standards and open source for years, and we are doing it again for cloud computing. The winner here will be customers, who will not find themselves locked into any one vendor—but be free to choose the best platform based on the best set of capabilities that meet their needs."
Based on customer-driven requirements, the new IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator gives clients greater flexibility by removing the need to develop specific interfaces for different cloud services. With the new software, companies can quickly combine and deploy various cloud services onto the cloud infrastructure by lining up the compute, storage and network resources with an easy-to-use graphical interface.
"This is one of the ways to do true innovation," said Deepak Advani, vice president of business analytics products at IBM, during a keynote address at IBM Pulse 2013.
The new IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator enables users to build new cloud services in minutes by combining the power of pattern-based cloud delivery, with a graphical orchestrator for simple composition of cloud automation.
The new software also helps to reduce operational costs by automating application deployment and lifecycle management in the cloud: compute, storage and network configuration, human task automation, integration with third-party tools, all delivered by an integrated cloud management platform. In addition, the IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator simplifies the end-user consumption of cloud services, via an intuitive self-service portal, including the ability to measure the cost of cloud services with metering and charge-back capabilities.
IBM said the development of open industry standards has proven a critical turning point in the success of many technologies, such as the Internet and operating systems. For cloud computing to grow and mature similar to its predecessors, vendors must stop creating new cloud services that are incompatible. A recent report by Booz & Company warned that without a more concerted effort to agree on such standards, and leadership on the part of major companies, the promise of cloud computing may never be reached.
IBM has had a history of crafting and supporting open standards, and the company is applying its experience in supporting and validating open standards from Linux, Eclipse and Apache to cloud computing. Working with the IT community, IBM is helping drive the open cloud world by creating a 400-member-strong Cloud Standards Customer Council that grew from about 50 members at launch and sponsoring OpenStack Foundation as a platinum and founding member, and as one of the top code and design contributors to all OpenStack projects.
IBM also has been driving related cloud standards, such as Open Service for Lifecycle Collaboration, Linked Data in the W3C and the Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) in OASIS, to enhance cloud application portability. IBM also is dedicating more than 500 developers on open cloud projects and working closely with the OpenStack Foundation, along with its 8,200 members from 109 countries and 1,000 organizations, the company said.
IBM is a major private cloud vendor with more than 5,000 private cloud customers in 2012, which increased 100 percent year-over-year. IBM's cloud portfolio, called SmartCloud, is based on a common code of interoperability, allowing clients to move between IBM's private, hybrid and public cloud services.
IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator is now available through a beta program and is expected to be generally available later this year.