IBM Launches Cloud Computing Initiative

A new portfolio of open standards-based services will provide an opportunity for VARs to provide integration and support to business customers.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) plans to bring cloud computing down to earth with its new cloud services initiative ,a portfolio of open-standards-based services and resources that it hopes will spur businesses to mix and match on-premise applications with cloud computing ones.

To help it achieve that ambition, Big Blue will rely on the in-the-trenches expertise of channel partners to sell the ‘cloud’ idea, as well as to integrate and support the new mixed IT environment.

“We see good opportunities for the channel to provide integration and support to companies that embrace the new hybrid computing environments of on-premise applications and applications that exist in the cloud,” said Dave Mitchell, director of strategy, cloud services, IBM. VARs will also be able to make money by selling Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, he said.

IBM has a four-pronged strategy to capture cloud computing opportunities: deliver its own cloud services portfolio; help ISVs with their cloud services; enable IBM clients to integrate cloud services into their businesses; and provide cloud computing environments to businesses.

Mitchell said IBM’s cloud services are designed to help businesses of all sizes more easily adopt cloud computing models to better manage data, lower operational costs and make collaboration across the enterprise easier.

The vendor’s cloud-enabled services include new Lotus, Rational and Telelogic software, and Bluehouse, the first online social networking and collaboration service designed for business.

Besides working with VARs, IBM is offering independent software vendors (ISVs) new technical and marketing resources to help them build and sell their applications in a cloud-enabled service model. 

IBM has also released a technical roadmap, based on open standards and Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), to help application developers build interoperable, cloud-based applications and services within a company’s existing IT infrastructure.

In 2008 and 2009, IBM plans to add cloud-enabled services specialists to its 13 cloud computing centers and 40 IBM innovation centers around the world to help clients and partners test applications via cloud computing models.

Mitchell said IBM is on track to double its SaaS partner ecosystem in 2008, bringing the total number of partners to about 200. This August, the vendor said it would spend $360 million to create a data center in Research Triangle Park, N.C. to support its cloud computing capabilities.

TAGS: cloud computing,IBM,social networking,SaaS

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