IBM Taps Lucrative Big Data, Cloud Market in China

IBM has set its sights on the vast market for big data and cloud technologies in China, closing deals with Inspur and China Telecom.

IBM big data

IBM announced a series of recent moves that indicate the company is intent on making further inroads into the growing market for big data and cloud computing technology in China.

On August 25, IBM and Inspur announced a commitment to make big data, analytics and transaction processing solutions available to customers and independent software vendors (ISVs) in China to enable them to access and analyze large volumes of information in real time.

The two companies have collaborated and enabled IBM DB2 and IBM WebSphere Application Server software to operate on Inspur TS K1 Systems. In addition, Inspur will leverage an OpenPOWER Foundation reference design and capabilities to create innovative system solutions.

"Inspur looks forward to teaming with IBM to drive business innovation for local clients using the latest IBM technologies, business expertise and superior client support," said Sun Pishu, chairman and CEO of Inspur, in a statement. "Inspur's growing partnership with IBM and our collaboration in the OpenPOWER Foundation demonstrates our joint commitment to fuel innovation in China."

IBM DB2 and Websphere Application Server software are now available on Inspur TS K1 Systems. Inspur will recommend IBM's DB2 with BLU Acceleration and WebSphere Application Server software as the preferred middleware platform for new projects using Inspur's TS K1 Systems platform. The Inspur K1 TS Systems server was autonomously developed by China. The K-UX operating system on the server is the fifth Unix operating system that has been certified by Unix03.

IBM's DB2 with BLU Acceleration provides in-memory computing analytics with high performance transaction processing in one database. WebSphere Application Server enables rapid development and deployment of web, mobile, social and analytic applications. The IBM software platform, combined with Inspur's TS K1 Systems, can help create a competitive edge for customers in China by making it simpler, faster and more economical when compared to alternative software platforms, IBM said.

In addition, Inspur will recruit a strategic ecosystem of partners to adopt the DB2 and WebSphere platform. Some of Inspur's strategic software partners have already started porting to IBM middleware. IBM and Inspur also will jointly develop a Center of Excellence to support the ISVs and customers for this new platform.

IBM also will support Inspur's development of OpenPOWER Foundation-based system solutions. IBM will make its new POWER8 processors available, as well as support chips, and technical assistance and support services to help Inspur design its systems. In addition, Inspur will use system reference design materials provided through the OpenPOWER Foundation, and open source firmware and software available through open source communities.

This news follows an announcement made in Beijing this spring that Inspur had joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community dedicated to accelerating data center innovation and transforming system designs based on the POWER8 architecture. The OpenPOWER Foundation makes POWER hardware and software available for open development, as well as licensable POWER intellectual property. It now has 53 members—10 of which, including Inspur, are from China.

"IBM is working with Inspur to develop an ecosystem of innovation, to create more value for our joint customers," said D.C. Chien, chairman and CEO of the IBM Greater China Group, in a statement. "We look forward to continuing this important collaboration. These new initiatives, including our work as members of the OpenPOWER Foundation, clearly demonstrate how our customers can benefit from our optimized platforms for the most demanding computing needs."

According to industry analysts, China will be one of the leading countries in big data technology adoption. IDC expects the big data technology and services market in China to grow at 38.7 percent compound annual growth rate from $165.5 million to $850 million by 2017.

Meanwhile in another key deal for Big Blue in China, China Telecom and IBM recently announced that they have entered into a three-year agreement to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) implement cloud-based SAP applications.

The cloud-based SAP applications will better enable China Telecom SMB customers that have or are planning to implement SAP applications, to reduce operating and application management costs with enterprise-ready applications, IBM said.

China Telecom will manage clients' infrastructure that includes cloud platform resources, networking and mobile devices. IBM will integrate the software, hardware and end-to-end service capabilities to create a complete environment that supports SAP applications on the cloud. Working with China Telecom, IBM will provide management across all SAP architectures and delivery models. Users can migrate and integrate new applications on the cloud, while maintaining current applications.

Under the agreement signed on August 22, China Telecom and IBM will first focus on clients in the Guangdong province and then extend the project to such key areas as Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Beijing and Tianjin.

"This announcement represents an important step in the Chinese cloud computing market that will provide one of the fastest growing segments within China greater access to cloud resources," said IBM’s Chien in a statement. "Our work with China Telecom will provide small-to-medium sized businesses in China with the means to more quickly deploy enterprise-grade cloud capabilities and assist them in driving innovation via the cloud."