IBM Launches Enterprise Cloud Services

IBM today unveiled cloud-based services for enterprises that can be hosted or run on a customer's premises, or a hybrid of the two.

Big Blue, which in recent months has talked up its strategy to offer so-called private cloud services, said it will offer its Smart Business platform through three basic models. Two of them fall under Smart Business Services, delivered either through a pure hosted cloud service or as a managed private cloud offering behind an enterprise firewall.

The third, a turnkey platform called CloudBurst v1.1 that consists of an integrated hardware and software solution for private clouds, will be offered through IBM's Smart Business Systems. With a starting price of $207,000, CloudBurst will comprise a pre-configured package of x86-based blade servers; networking, storage and virtualization hardware and software; and Tivoli Service Automation Manager (TSAM), its platform to provision cloud services, according to James Comfort, IBM's vice president of integrated delivery platforms, in an interview.

"You can think of it as an OS for the cloud, but in reality, whether it's internal to your business or external or a combination, what is constant is the simplification on the user side of service consumption and on the delivery side of service automation or service delivery," Comfort said. "We don't think of it as cloud computing as much as service management and service delivery."

Under CloudBurst, IBM is offering two specific offerings, which will be augmented by others in the future, Comfort said. One is a hosted client to provide managed desktop deployment through the cloud, and the other is a platform for developers to test applications using IBM's Rational tool suite as well as Eclipse-based IDEs.

The latter offering, called Smart Business Test Cloud, is intended for development shops looking for an alternative to deploying hardware for testing, according to Comfort. "In the past, this process could take weeks or months," he said. "What we are offering can take this down to minutes." It joins the recently released WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance.

The new offering consists of a self-service portal and catalog that offers a pre-determined list of tools that developers can choose from, Comfort said. It also supports automatic provisioning and de-provisioning of capacity.

RedMonk analyst Michael Cote said in an interview that there is pent-up demand for services that allow developers to configure capacity on the fly, particularly for configuration and testing. "When you're developing software, you don't want to spend a lot of time managing the tools you are using to build software," Cote said. "The hope is that it removes the need to administer those tools and a lot of the hassle that comes with managing the tools you use on large software development projects."

The other service is called Smart Business Desktop Cloud and provides a centralized image for Windows or Linux client systems. The thin client offering is based on software and hardware from Citrix, Desktone, Quest, VMware and Wyse, IBM said.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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