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5/16/2012
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IBM SmartCloud: As Much Cloud As You Want

IBM expands private, public, and hybrid cloud options for customers with its SmartCloud offerings, including IaaS in IBM data centers with dedicated servers.

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IBM is expanding options for its SmartCloud customers that wish to move more work into a private or public cloud setting, it announced Wednesday.

IBM doesn't advocate one form of cloud over another. On the contrary, it will assist a customer in establishing a private cloud and then help it move more workloads into the public cloud, if that is the way the customer wishes to evolve.

IBM offers SmartCloud Enterprise in its data centers as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). It also offers SmartCloud Enterprise Plus in North America and Europe, with plans to make it available in Asia in the third quarter. Enterprise Plus is also IaaS, with options to establish a more of a private cloud setting within the IBM SmartCloud, including use of dedicated, instead of multi-tenant, servers.

"Think of a continuum of infrastructure-as-a-service," said Tim Kounadis, program director for IBM Cloud Services, in an interview before Wednesday's announcement. Customers uncomfortable with any form of off-premises computing can build out private cloud infrastructure in their own data centers, with IBM help. If they want to move into an IBM SmartCloud data center, but remain wary of multi-tenant computing, they can use dedicated servers, or even hosting services managed by IBM. And if they've identified some workloads as less risky and more prone to fluctuations in traffic, they can pull them out of hosted services and put as many as they wish in the public portion of the SmartCloud, Kounadis said.

[ Learn more about IBM's multi-pronged approach to cloud computing and its emphasis on private cloud services. See 7 Ways IBM Will Make $7 Billion In The Cloud. ]

SmartCloud runs Windows and Linux on standard x86 servers--both Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 or the more virtualization-friendly 6.2 version are now both available.

Unlike other cloud infrastructures, an IBM customer can designate part of its Enterprise Plus operation as reserved for IBM Power servers, the P-Series, running AIX applications. That allows the mixed IBM shop to run its legacy Unix applications in the cloud without being forced to migrate them to an x86 architecture.

IBM also offers platform-as-a-service, SmartCloud Application Services, to give customers the option of using a collaborative lifecycle management service for developing and deploying applications. The service has been available in beta. IBM is moving its PaaS from beta to pilot status, meaning select customers may adopt it and test drive it as a finished product ahead of general availability. GA comes in the third quarter, said Craig Sowell, IBM VP of cloud marketing, in an interview.

Advertising and public relations agency Ogilvy & Mather is migrating its hosted SAP applications into the SmartCloud for SAP Applications in IBM's state-of-the-art data center in Raleigh, N.C. The unit is part of the larger SmartCloud Enterprise Plus set of services.

The IBM migration team is in the process of providing Ogilvy with pre-built, pre-configured SAP applications running on reliable infrastructure requiring minimal client resources. "It's easy to be overwhelmed with comparisons and multiple options. When it comes to critical applications like SAP, we were looking for a mature model that could scale and cater to our unique prerequisites," said Yuri Aguiar, Ogilvy senior partner and CIO, in the announcement. The SAP applications will operate as software-as-a-service for Ogilvy from the data center.

Otrum, a provider of interactive TV solutions and content to hotels and restaurants, uses IBM's Cognos analytics tool for marketing campaigns and to find repeat behavior patterns on guest visits. Otrum leverages Cognos on SmartCloud Enterprise to deliver custom analytics to more than 500 hotels. Digital content is supplied to screens in the hotels from SmartCloud Enterprise servers, Sowell said.

IBM has also moved TopCoder off Amazon IaaS to its SmartCloud IaaS. TopCoder supports a community of 400,000 digital content creators and sponsors competitions and forums for them.

IBM claims it now has one million enterprise application users working in the IBM cloud and is conducting $100 billion in commerce transactions a year on it. About 4.5 million daily client transactions are executed in the SmartCloud, Sowell said.

Security concerns give many companies pause as they consider migrating portions of their IT operations to cloud-based services. But you can stay safe in the cloud. In our Cloud Security report, we explain the risks and guide you in setting appropriate cloud security policies, processes, and controls. (Free registration required.)

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