IBM Expands Cloud Scope, Reach With Extended SmartCloud Services
IBM is back again this week, this time with the launch of a new bunch of SmartCloud services and software that aims to give its customers more choice when it comes to migrating their existing processes and data onto IBM’s PaaS, as well as more options when it comes to setting up private clouds.

The new version of its public cloud for the enterprise, the IBM SmartCloud, comes with new services including the first Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) specifically designed to meet the needs of enterprise application development, deployment and management on the cloud.

As a result, SmartCloud now consists of private, hybrid and public cloud products along with the just-announced PaaS and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

IBM and the Cloud

Like everything else is does, Big Blue is going...well, is going "Big" and not just offering one or two alternatives to clients, but rather a whole range of services and software packages with which it hopes to support around 200 million users by the end of next year.

Citing new research that it has carried out, it says that as of today, only a third of a cross-section of 500 businesses surveyed said they had deployed more than a pilot cloud.

However, it estimates that by 2015, that number is expected to double with 40% of respondents saying the cloud will bring “substantial” change to their business and 30% saying the cloud will drive the invention of business models and revenue streams.

The study also shows that business are well aware of the value of the cloud, but are still wracked by concerns over security, reliability, standards and control.

This is nothing we haven’t heard before, though,  as survey after survey show the same concerns. What we haven’t seen, to a large extent, are offerings that might allay those concerns.

SmartCloud Services

With the SmartCloud services, IBM is hoping to do that.

Enterprise clients are much more conservative because their revenue, reputation and supply chain are closely related to the performance and security of their infrastructure...Our focus with SmartCloud will bring the benefits of this model in a way that supports enterprise level service, leverages existing investments and opens new doors to productivity and innovation,” said Erich Clementi, senior vice president, IBM.

The IBM SmartCloud 2.0 is a new version of IBM’s cloud for the enterprise. Scheduled for beta release sometime in the fourth quarter, SmartCloud Application Services will offer enterprise-grade security, open Java and cross-platform support with no vendor lock-in, as well as a comprehensive set of application infrastructure and managed services.

There are three elements to this. These include:

  • IBM SmartCloud Application Services: A new PaaS offering that offers the advantages of a cloud environment with a high level of control and security over deployment and access
  • IBM SmartCloud Foundation: New software that enables enterprises to deploy clouds within their own firewalls
  • IBM SmartCloud Ecosystem: New services for IBM partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) to help SMBs adopt cloud models

New SmartCloud Capabilities

In addition to this, the new SmartCloud also comes with enhancements that enable users to automate the most labor-intensive tasks associated with managing SAP environments in the cloud.

Overall, then, key capabilities of the SmartCloud offerings include:

  • Application Lifecycle: Provides enterprises with activated and team-based environments
  • Application Resources: Leverage shared services to reduce the cost and simplify the development, delivery and ongoing administration of cloud applications
  • Application Environments: Pre-defined environments based on common application patterns
  • Application Management: Optimized deployment and management capabilities tuned to the specific application
  • Integration: Integrated cloud-delivered applications with other enterprise applications

IBM has also announced the availability of IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ in the US with global deployment planned by end of 2012.

Announced earlier this year, SmartCloud Enterprise+ delivers the scalability of a public cloud environment plus the flexibility to “dial-in” the security, existing applications, reliability, management and support services more typical of a private environment.

IBM intends to make SCE+ available to IBM Business Partners to resell in the first half of 2012.

IBM SmartCloud Foundation

But that’s not all. IBM has also announced the release of the SmartCloud Foundation, a range of private cloud offerings that enables enterprises to set up private clouds of their own design and giving them more control over the cloud.

Included in the SmartCloud Foundation portfolio is:

  • IBM SmartCloud Entry: Provides the building blocks to create private clouds on virtualized IBM System x and Power Systems hardware; organizations can scale to more advanced cloud solutions
  • IBM SmartCloud Provisioning: A provisioning engine and image management system to create or provision virtual machines
  • IBM SmartCloud Monitoring: Provides visibility into the performance of virtual and physical environments: Storage, network and server resources

It has also unveiled storage-as-a-service offerings from Nirvanix as part of the IBM SmartCloud portfolio available to customers worldwide.

With it, IBM is offering a system capable of supporting millions of users, billions of objects and exabytes of data to complement IBM’s existing secure, virtual server environments in the cloud.

And there’s more. IBM has pointed out that, as yet, cloud provisioning is still in its early days with massive market potential identified in both the public and private cloud space. IBM with these offerings is setting itself up to corner that market.