IBM Offers New Cloud Computing Lab Specifically for Channel Partners

Facility to help resellers develop and test new cloud services, build cloud skills, learn technology and craft go-to-market plans.

October 27, 2010

D.H. Kass

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IBM Corp. said it has opened a new cloud computing lab in the United Kingdom to help channel partners nab sales opportunities by advancing their cloud-related technical, marketing and sales skills and knowledge.

The cloud lab, located in IBM’s Innovation Center in Hursley, U.K., offers channel partners the opportunity to examine the vendor’s cloud technologies, develop and test new cloud services and huddle with specialists to craft cloud go-to-market strategies and tactics, officials said.

Remote access to the lab can be gained from any of the vendor’s 38 Innovation Centers, officials said.

Although IBM opened its first European cloud computing lab in Dublin, Ireland, about two and one-half years ago, and has since followed with eight others around the world, this is the first such effort directed specifically at channel partners.

IBM is particularly homed in on prepping its channel partners for the expected onslaught of cloud computing opportunities, said Jim Corgel, IBM general manager, ISV and Developer Relations.

As evidence of the timely importance of the new lab, IBM pointed to a recent global study conducted by its developerWorks unit of 2,000 IT professionals, in which more than 90 percent of participants expect that within the next five years cloud computing will surpass on-premise computing as the dominant method for organizations to acquire technology.

"Our business partners are ready to cash in on cloud computing, and they are looking to IBM for hands-on assistance to drive new business opportunities," said Corgel.

"The new Cloud Computing Lab will help our partners gain the skills they need to build next generation business applications and services for the cloud using IBM technologies," he said.

IBM said that in the lab channel partners will be able to investigate an array of cloud computing models and acquire skills and knowledge to alter their business framework to that of a cloud builder, application provider, technology and infrastructure provider, or cloud reseller or aggregator.

The vendor said that development team members from Cast Iron Systems—a recent IBM acquisition and specialist in the integration of cloud and on-premise applications--will be available in the lab to help channel partners with customers in the finance, health care, telecommunications and energy and utilities industries learn about integration-as-a-service.

Maxima leverages lab for cloud services

As an example of the lab’s benefits, the vendor pointed to Maxima Holdings plc, an $80 million, Gloucestershire, U.K.-based IT business systems and managed service provider, that recently worked with IBM to craft a go-to-market plan to deliver cloud-based services to its 1,400 mid-market customers in the U.K., Ireland and the U.S., including 500 of its own channel partners.

Under terms of its working agreement with IBM, Maxima will deliver business applications hosted on an IBM cloud to its construction, manufacturing and distribution, financial services, telecommunications and public sector customers. Channel partners and clients will be able to use and market cloud services through a designated portal.

“Businesses are looking for reliable performance and security in cloud services," said Graham Kingsmill, Maxima chief executive.

Lab adds to earlier cloud moves for channel partners

IBM’s cloud computing lab is the most recent in a series of moves the vendor has made designed to shore up its channel to accommodate the new technology.

Earlier this month, the vendor launched the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform, a collection of a hardware, software and services to help communication services providers deliver cloud computing on their own.

The vendor also expanded its Smart Business Development & Test on the IBM Cloud to add Windows support and developer enhancements. IBM initiated the program this past April to enable enterprise clients to expand internal development and test processes using IBM's cloud.

In January, the company unwrapped a cloud computing architecture certification to sanction partners that have learned to design public and private cloud-based solutions framed on IBM software. The certifications became available in early May.

Dave Mitchell, IBM director, strategy and emerging business, discusses the vendor’s cloud ecosystem for business partners in this video.

TAGS: cloud computing,IBM,partner,channel,Maxima

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