February 10, 2009
No one ever got fired for buying IBM. And with today's cloud push from IBM, making the move to cloud computing got safer for business owners and IT managers.The latest announcement from IBM's Blue Cloud initiative includes myriad products, services, clients, and partnerships under the banner of "integrated cloud solutions for businesses." As you'd expect with IBM, the target market for is large enterprises, but don't overlook the trickle-down effect for the mid-market.
That IBM offers cloud computing services isn't new. The "portfolio" includes on-demand server capacity, online data protection, e-mail (albeit Lotus), and collaboration. Today's Blue Could announcement includes SaaS data protection, cloud-base application testing, management and security for cloud computing, Tivoli Storage as a service, and a global "overflow cloud" through IBM's partnership with Juniper Networks; as dedicated networking partner, Juniper will handle cloud interconnectivity. Until now, IBM's could offering have been embedded in the thicket of IBM Global Services, requiring customers to wade into the traditional software and services channel and eroding much of the appeal of cloud computing. A unified cloud computing approach simplifies the process and a dedicated executive at the company underscores the importance of cloud to IBM. As Erich Clementi, general manager, enterprise initiatives, said, "Enterprise clients need economically compelling solutions that help them run their businesses in smarter ways, while never taking their eyes off of security, resiliency, and compliance. Cloud computing leverages many of IBM's core strengths -- such as open standards, service management, scalable systems, and excellence in data center operations -- and gives clients the opportunity to leverage cloud computing's considerable cost advantages, while maintaining the highest levels of integrity, responsibility, and control." And the lucre that IBM is chasing is significant. According to IDC, cloud computing will represent a $42 billion market by 2012. IBM wants a piece of that pie and if the five client included in the announcement are any indication, the slice will be significant. So the imprimatur of Big Blue may assuage doubts that business owners and IT managers have about cloud computing -- making it easier or more acceptable for businesses to move to the cloud and enjoy the cost and service benefits. What you won't see is small and midsize businesses flocking to IBM for their cloud needs. As InformationWeek's John Foley points out, "Big Blue's cloud strategy remains focused on the enterprise; customers can't pay by the minute with credit cards, as they can with Amazon Web Services and other general purpose cloud offerings." Don't Miss: Salesforce Debuts The "Sales Cloud"
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