IBM launched a series of new initiatives to bolster its SoftLayer cloud computing effort, including providing new resources to support SoftLayer ecosystem members as well as adding new disaster recovery and security services to the SoftLayer cloud platform.
With an eye on beefing up its channel for cloud computing services, among the moves IBM announced are improved margin opportunities with richer earned-volume discounts for SoftLayer business partners without requiring a prior commitment.
IBM also said it is creating a new SoftLayer Services & Solution Provider program, which streamlines the SoftLayer hosting reseller and strategic partners program to improve clarity of eligibility requirement and benefits of the program.
“Cloud computing is transforming the relationship between business partners and their clients, creating unprecedented opportunities to enter new markets and sell new services,” said Tom Blair, senior vice president of global sales for SoftLayer, in a statement. “SoftLayer recognizes that our business partners are evolving to meet the needs of their customers and we are committed to building a world-class support program for them to tap into as they transition to this new era of computing.”
IBM also announced it is launching a co-marketing initiative as part of IBM PartnerWorld to help SoftLayer business partners that join the program build their brands, generate demand for their services and grow their marketing skills. Partners who join PartnerWorld and existing IBM business partners who join the SoftLayer partner program will have access to campaign design and creation tools as well as customizable campaign templates to minimize upfront work and deliver consistent messaging.
In addition, IBM is expanding the technical training courses for both SoftLayer and IBM business partners to build skills that meet clients’ plans to use outside resources for delivering cloud solutions.
Cloud computing is transforming the way that IT services are consumed and delivered and will account for the bulk of new IT spending by 2016, IBM officials said. For business partners who specialize in streamlining integration and delivering value-added solutions, cloud presents a major opportunity to capture new revenue and enter new markets. In fact, business partners who have transitioned to cloud computing are experiencing more than twice as much revenue growth as business partners who have not, IBM said.
With the new sales incentives, marketing programs and training courses it is announcing today, IBM is building on its support for SoftLayer and IBM Business Partners to help them capture the growing cloud market opportunity. It is also combining best practices from the SoftLayer partner program and IBM PartnerWorld to enable business partners to improve margins, build skills and drive demand.
“Supporting our partners as they transition from selling traditional on-premise cloud solutions to hybrid and off-premise cloud solutions is a priority for Avnet Technology Solutions,” said Fred Cuen, senior vice president and general manager of the IBM Solutions Group at Avnet and our partner base.”
SoftLayer provides a high performance, enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure that can expand to accommodate large workloads and offers a network architecture that optimizes global performance using a high-speed private network. Offering services on SoftLayer’s cloud enables business partners to leverage IBM’s investments in building out its cloud portfolio, including a recent $1.2 billion investment to expand its global cloud footprint and its $1 billion investment to develop a Platform-as-a-Service offering, codenamed BlueMix.
ClipCard is a SoftLayer partner that provides a big data discovery platform built on SoftLayer’s cloud infrastructure. ClipCard renders big data discoverable for end users by driving new insights and context to support business decisions.
“As a lean company selling to large enterprise customers, we really appreciate what SoftLayer has to offer,” said Ryan Cunningham, product vice president at ClipCard, in a statement. “Our customers like the security, reliability, and control that comes from a cloud provider who really ‘gets’ enterprise. We love that we have a real partner in the SoftLayer team, not just a Website to go to when we need a hand.”
IBM Bolsters SoftLayer Ecosystem, Adds Disaster Recovery, Security
The new business partner offerings build on IBM PartnerWorld’s existing cloud-related resources, including: cloud services mark, an IBM ingredient brand mark for cloud solutions and service to allow eligible PartnerWorld members to promote cloud services that run on IBM technologies, including SoftLayer; PartnerWorld Cloud Benefit Guide, a catalog of resources connecting PartnerWorld members with benefits for building, selling and deploying cloud solutions; PartnerWorld SatScor, a free client satisfaction survey for promoting referral marketing; cloud-based Program Criteria to make it easier for cloud-based PartnerWorld members to achieve advance participation levels in the PartnerWorld program.
Meanwhile, IBM also recently announced it is delivering new cloud capabilities and services that accelerate cloud adoption by securing company assets and maintaining continuous business operations, even in the event of a disaster. The new services enable users to guarantee continuous businesses operations, prevent outages and quick recovery from disaster, and do so applying all the analytics and threat protection of IBM security services.
The overall market opportunity for business continuity and disaster recovery is expected to grow to almost $32 billion by 2015, IBM said. With its cloud resilience portfolio, IBM is providing SoftLayer customers with increased resiliency in case of potential outages caused by issues such as human errors and cyber-attacks.
SoftLayer customers will initially have access to IBM’s Cloud Virtualized Server Recovery (VSR) managed service, which offers low-cost automation that helps enterprises recover applications, servers and cloud-based data in the event of an outage or disaster. With VSR, SoftLayer businesses will be able to replicate entire systems in real-time including system files, databases, applications and user data in a way that is independent of the make and model of the underlying hardware. The ability to respond quickly is essential with analysts estimating that every hour of downtime can cost a business upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, IBM said.
IBM’s Resiliency Consulting Services will also be extended to SoftLayer clients. These services, which integrate legacy IT environments with a private cloud and the SoftLayer public cloud, will help with resiliency assessment, planning and design, implementation and testing and more. These include Resiliency Consulting for Cloud, Cloud Managed Backup, Cloud Data Virtualization, Cloud Application Resiliency and Cloud Virtualized Server Recovery.
IBM will also be opening two new cloud-based resiliency centers in Raleigh, N.C., and Mumbai, India. These new facilities, which will join the 15 other global centers planned by SoftLayer and the 150 Business Continuity and Resiliency Services (BCRS) Resiliency Centers, will speed up recovery times by virtually eliminating network latency while allowing businesses to manage federal and local data residency compliance regulations.
In addition to these new services on SoftLayer, IBM also announced enhancements to its BCRS cloud-based resiliency offerings designed to help customers ensure their businesses, applications and IT infrastructures are stable and running around the clock. These include Cloud Managed Backup, Cloud Data Virtualization, Cloud Application Resiliency and Cloud Virtualized Server Recovery.
Moreover, according to IBM’s 2013 Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) study, 70 percent of CISOs are concerned about cloud and mobile security and with good reason—sophisticated and targeted attacks are on the rise and according to reports, less than 2 percent of breaches are detected in the first 24 hours and less than 46 percent in the first 30 days.
IBM new managed security services complement SoftLayer’s secure facilities and security infrastructure and processes. These new services deliver firewall, unified threat management for firewall and intrusion detection, and prevention management and monitoring services for SoftLayer customers. Customers also can benefit from IBM’s security operations and intelligence analysts who will help identify threats, track incidents and collect data, and pinpoint potential vulnerabilities. In addition to the cloud, these services capabilities can be integrated with on premise security equipment.
Later this year, IBM will offer additional security services for SoftLayer customers including enhanced distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, Web and email protection, managed endpoint protection and more, the company said.