IBM also announced Tivoli Storage as a Service, aimed at business continuity and recovery, not general-purpose storage. IBM already offers business continuity as a service; what's new is the Tivoli interface, making the service more appealing to IT departments that use the Tivoli platform.
In addition, IBM and Juniper Networks are teaming to demonstrate hybrid clouds, where private clouds overflow to secure public clouds when extra compute capacity is required. For now, the demo is limited to IBM's nine cloud labs.
What these and other IBM cloud developments, including new strategy and planning services and an organizational team focused on cloud computing, show is that IBM is methodically expanding its cloud platform capabilities. But let's be clear -- it's doing so with a focus on enterprise-class products and services, not on the broader market targeted by Amazon, Google, and others.
In fact, several of IBM's just-announced products and services aren't here yet. Tivoli Storage as a Service won't be available until sometime later this year, and the IBM-Juniper cloud bursting demo is just that, a demo, not a generally available service. (For more on cloud storage, see InformationWeek's downloadable report, "Cloud Storage's Top Uses.")
Ric Telford, IBM VP of cloud services, points out that IBM has been offering on-demand computing to enterprise customers for nearly five years, and he says the company has "several hundred" customer engagements involving its cloud services. New examples include Elizabeth Arden, Nexxera, the U.S. Golf Association, and Indigo Bio Systems.
Telford hints that IBM could offer a broader range of cloud services to a wider range of customers. "Other scenarios and use cases are certainly on the table," he says. As IBM plods along, however, other cloud service providers are forging ahead with cheap-and-easy services that appeal to individual developers, small businesses, and others outside the scope of enterprise IT. It will be interesting to see if IBM is able to catch up or, indeed, if it even tries.