Microsoft already partnered with SAP and Oracle on its cloud-computing platform. Why not toss in the fourth player in the Big Four?

IBM is the latest partner in Microsoft's enterprise software layer, a deal that includes:

  • IBM and Microsoft making IBM middleware such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ, and DB2 available on Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Server and SQL Server being offered on IBM Cloud
  • IBM and Microsoft working together to deliver a Microsoft .NET runtime for IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform

Microsoft Azure welcomes the business.

The news announced yesterday comes five months after Microsoft officials said SAP will certify a number of its business applications to run on Microsoft Azure, including SAP Business Suite software, SAP Business All-In-One solution, SAP Mobile Platform, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE) and the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform.

And about a year and a half ago, Oracle jumped into the Microsoft Azure cloud. 

Redmond the Common Thread

The common denominator in all four partnerships is Microsoft's Azure platform.

Just this week, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft boasted about having the lone cloud platform for enterprises that run in private, public and hybrid. It also has the Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS) that enterprises can deploy in their own data centers and is designed specifically to handle big data workloads.

Through this week's partnership, IBM is expanding support of its software running on Windows Server Hyper-V, and the companies plan to make IBM Pure Application Service available on Azure.

Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of the IBM Software and Cloud Solutions Group, said in a statement the partnership reinforces IBM’s strategy in providing open cloud technology for the enterprise.

"Clients," he added, "will now gain unprecedented access to IBM’s leading middleware and will have an even greater level of choice over the tools that they use to build and deploy their cloud environments.”

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise division, said customers will be able to take advantage of the hyper-scale, enterprise performance and hybrid capabilities of Azure.”

IBM Needs Help

Partnerships keep creeping up for IBM. Coincidence with this week's poor financials? Maybe.

Last week, SAP announced its HANA Enterprise Cloud service is now available through IBM’s cloud in a move officials from each company claim expands major markets with the addition of the IBM cloud data centers. 

Sandwiched between its partnership news with SAP and Microsoft, though, IBM posted disappointing third-quarter results Monday. The transition to the cloud is not happening fast enough for slow-moving IBM, which reported revenue of $22.4 billion declined 4 percent year over year and fell short of the Wall Street consensus estimate of $23.37 billion, while per-share earnings of $3.68 missed the consensus by 64 cents. Its stock that day of reporting financials was down 7 percent, earlier hitting a new 52-week low at $166.71.  

Title image by Pepe´ Cam Photography  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.