.NET Developers May Be IBM's Big Prize in New Cloud Deal With Microsoft

IBM and Microsoft announced a major cloud computing partnership featuring Microsoft Azure and the IBM Cloud, but the biggest deal for Big Blue could be access to .NET developers on Bluemix.

IBM Microsoft Azure

With a newly announced partnership with Microsoft, IBM has struck another milestone cloud deal with an industry leader as the company continues to build out its cloud infrastructure and make its mark in the competitive cloud space.

IBM and Microsoft announced that they are working together to provide their respective enterprise software on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. The two IT giants said as adoption of hybrid cloud computing accelerates, this relationship will give clients, partners and developers more choice in the cloud.

Specifically for developers this Microsoft announcement opens the door for millions of .NET developers to join IBM Bluemix -- IBM's Platform as a Service (PaaS) that Big Blue has invested $1 billion. Bluemix is designed to help developers connect enterprise applications and data to the cloud. Under the new agreement, IBM and Microsoft are working together to deliver a Microsoft .NET runtime for IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform.

Gaining access to the millions of .NET developers could be huge for IBM and its emerging Bluemix platform. The companies will begin with a limited preview offering of .NET operating within Bluemix.

Today approximately 18 percent of developers create cloud-based applications, and that number is expected to rise to 67 percent or 12 million by 2019, according to Evans Research.

Other features of the deal include that IBM and Microsoft will make key IBM middleware such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ and DB2 available on Microsoft Azure; and Windows Server and SQL Server will be offered on IBM Cloud. And to support hybrid cloud deployments, IBM will expand support of its software running on Windows Server Hyper-V, and the companies plan to make IBM Pure Application Service available on Azure.

“Together we are creating new opportunities to drive innovation in hybrid cloud,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of the Software and Cloud Solutions Group at IBM, in a statement. “This agreement reinforces IBM’s strategy in providing open cloud technology for the enterprise. Clients will now gain unprecedented access to IBM’s leading middleware and will have an even greater level of choice over the tools that they use to build and deploy their cloud environments.”

IBM and Microsoft will make key products within IBM’s enterprise-proven middleware software portfolio, including WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ and DB2 database software, available in the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines service for development and production deployment.
“Microsoft is committed to helping enterprise customers realize the tremendous benefits of cloud computing across their own systems, partner clouds and Microsoft Azure,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, in a statement. “With this agreement more customers will be able to take advantage of the hyper-scale, enterprise performance and hybrid capabilities of Azure.”

The companies will enable customers to bring their own software licenses to the IBM and Microsoft clouds, helping customers avoid extra cost. Microsoft will also offer IBM middleware software licenses, such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ and DB2, to Azure customers with pay-per-use pricing.

The companies also plan to make IBM Pure Application Service available on both Microsoft Azure and IBM SoftLayer for automated deployment, configuration and license management in a hybrid cloud environment. IBM’s SoftLayer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform currently provides and supports a wide range of Microsoft software, including Windows Server, Hyper-V, WebMatrix, Windows Firewall, SQL Server and others.