Tuesday, June 16, 2009

IBM’s “Cloud for Business”

IBM today introduced the industry’s first set of commercial “cloud” services and integrated products for the enterprise, claiming “this will give clients a reliable way to standardize IT functions that are rapidly becoming too costly or difficult to use.”

IBM endorses the prospect of a billion connected people and a trillion connected devices. This estimate originates with IDC, predicting that by 2011, there will be one trillion Internet-connected devices, up from 500 million in 2006.

An early analysis of the announcement, “I.B.M. to Help Clients Fight Cost and Complexity,” appeared in the NY Times yesterday.

This announcement is complex, we’ll all need time to evaluate it, so I’ll just include a few selections from the IBM Press Release, which you can find right here in its entirety, and which contains links to additional material:

Based on nearly two years of research and hundreds of client engagements, the IBM Smart Business cloud portfolio is meant to help clients turn complex business processes into simple services. To accomplish this, Smart Business brings sophisticated automation technology and self-service to specific digital tasks as diverse as software development and testing; desktop and device management; and collaboration.

From utility grids to roadways, water systems and financial instruments, the world’s physical infrastructure is rapidly becoming more instrumented and IT-enabled, and corporate data centers will have to deal with a new flood of transactions and data coming from a billion connected people and a trillion connected devices. These offerings are aimed at helping clients deal with entirely new kinds of tasks and the colossal data burdens facing the data center.

“Cloud is an important new consumption and delivery model for IT and business services. Large enterprises want our help to capitalize on what this model offers in a way that is safe, reliable and efficient for business,” said Erich Clementi, General Manager, Enterprise Initiatives, IBM. “Today’s Smart Business announcement demonstrates that we take this responsibility seriously with cloud investment and solutions targeting the early opportunity. We are responding today as we did assisting enterprises with the shift to e-business and in the embrace of open source and Linux.”

The IBM Smart Business portfolio includes three “on-ramps,” or ways to quickly deploy the cloud model:
· IBM Smart Business standardized services on the IBM Cloud;
· Smart Business private cloud services behind the firewall built by IBM (run by IBM or the client);
· and IBM CloudBurst workload optimized systems, for clients who want to build to their own cloud with pre-integrated hardware and software.

All three offerings include IBM’s service management system – a kind of air traffic control system for IT – that automates self-service, provisioning, monitoring as well as managing access and security for the cloud. This reflects IBM’s leadership and more than $10 billion in investments over the last five years in control and automation technologies, which become critical as the digital and physical infrastructure converge.

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