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IBM Goes After Enterprise Apps With Its Public SmartCloud

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The enterprise giants continue to wake to the potential of cloud. IBM today announced a global expansion of its enterprise-grade cloud. IBM’s infrastructure-as-a-service cloud, SmartCloud Enterprise+ (SCE+), is now live in Japan, Brazil, Canada, France and Australia as well the U.S. and Germany. IBM is also announcing a SAP based service unique to Big Blue, called IBM SmartCloud for SAP Applications.

IBM is placing a stake in the ground for its public cloud play here. It believes cloud computing is creating the next wave of IT services sourcing, and that cloud is the natural evolution of its services business. It is also ensuring that its traditional outsourcing models blend seamlessly with newer cloud delivery models, and believes cloud computing is a net add, not a cannibalization of traditional business lines.

This continues Big Blue’s momentum in cloud computing. The company announced last week that cloud revenue grew 80 percent in 2012. IBM says it now has more than 9,000 enterprise cloud clients and expects cloud computing to account for $7 billion in revenue by 2015.

The SCE+ service combines the best features of sourcing– high service level agreements, security and reliability– with the best features of cloud – elasticity and subscription-based pricing. SCE+ offers the same level of assurance normally associated with a hosted service to make sure clients can always access their core applications for ERP, CRM, analytics, social business and mobile computing from the cloud.

Decidedly Enterprise Positioning

This is a public cloud service, but the company is distancing itself from other public cloud plays by touting a decidedly enterprise customer base. The company is differentiating its new cloud from “one size fits all” services you can buy with the swipe of a credit card, as well as hoping to distance itself from recent cloud outages from some of the public cloud platforms. For this reason, it’s touting some of its more outage-sensitive clients such as financial institutions, telecoms, and other big businesses. Clients listed include the Philips Smart TV platform for internet services; Summit Health, a healthcare management company, and The Generalitat de Cataluña, a regional government in Spain, which is planning on using SCE+ in a new IBM cloud data center in Spain to improve its healthcare system and share resources among its universities and town halls. These are all heavy-duty enterprise level customers that can’t afford instability in their infrastructure, and highlights how IBM is positioning its SCE+ cloud to the upper end of the market.

SCE+ is offered from IBM’s cloud centers in Japan, Brazil, Canada, France, Australia, the U.S. and Germany, giving clients broad geographic choice of where their data resides. IBM announced today the opening of its first cloud center in Spain, located in Barcelona, to service clients worldwide, which will be operative by mid-2013. The SCE+ environment can have service levels that guarantee availability for each single OS-instance from 98.5 percent up to 99.9 percent.

New also is IBM Migration Services for SmartCloud Enterprise+, which helps clients migrate to cloud more quickly and cost effectively by determining which workloads are best suited to the SmartCloud Enterprise+ environment. Standardized and automation-assisted, IBM Migration Services are economically priced, aim to deliver ROI in 6 to18 months.

IBM is also bumping up the security, by managing patch updates and identity management. SCE+ is strictly touting enterprise apps, whereas cloud plays like AWS has always relied on a vibrant startup customer business.

“This is a logical evolution of IBM’s sourcing business that gives us an advantage both in our services relationships and the cloud market as we define a new enterprise-grade cloud today,” said Jim Comfort, general manager of IBM SmartCloud Services. “Our clients want sophisticated, economical cloud-based services that provide the same quality and service level as a private, hosted IT environment. With that assurance, they can focus more on driving business value from their data and operations, and less on managing their IT.”

SmartCloud for SAP Applications available

SAP Applications are decidedly enterprise, and the company concurrently revealed SmartCloud for SAP applications, an enterprise service unique to IBM. The service is available globally.

Operating and managing IT environments running SAP solutions requires an advanced infrastructure and strong SAP operational skills. SmartCloud for SAP applications automates and standardizes provisioning of IT environments, backed by expert certified staff.

One interesting feature of SmartCloud for SAP applications is the ability for clients to develop and test operations on IBM’s public cloud service. This lets customers “try before you buy” complicated SAP enterprise applications. If they like what they see, clients can transition applications to the SCE+ platform for production.

This service is available for SAP Business Suite software and the SAP BusinessObjects solution portfolio as an enterprise-class, fully managed Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering for running SAP solutions in a production environment.

“IBM’s new cloud service for SAP applications exemplifies our two companies’ work together in the last 40 years in delivering enterprise value to thousands of clients,” said Dr. Vishal Sikka, member of the SAP Executive Board, Technology and Innovation. “Cloud computing is helping our clients transform their IT infrastructures and businesses. We are confident that our partnership with IBM — using their SmartCloud platform and our business applications – will help drive differentiated value to clients around the globe.”

IBM is also marrying its Global Business Services deep expertise, tools and processes with SmartCloud for SAP applications to deliver LifeCycle as a Service. This handles implementations of SAP applications end to end—from sandbox to production. IBM takes responsibility and control of the SAP applications and provides management, including software patching of SAP solutions as well as support for the underlying operating system, database and middleware.

In the last few weeks, the company also announced an IBM private cloud with new predictive cloud provisioning running the web and mobile access for the Australian Open; its 20th year of patent leadership including cloud breakthroughs; and its cloud based “smarter home” project at CES showing the business and technical value of appliances connected to the cloud.

About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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