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It took a while to figure it out from the press release, but IBM has upgraded its SmartCloud 2.1, which comes with a number of enhancements that is going to make working with Big Blue‘s cloud a lot easier, and to all appearances, a lot more productive.

IBM, the Cloud

The reason it took so long to work out the upgrades was that they were buried at the bottom of a press release that spent a lot of time talking about customer wins to SmartCloud. Really, guys get to the meat first, and we can leave IBM sweet stuff until after.

However, among all those wins there are some interesting facts that should be highlighted. IBM has been building up in all kinds of area since way-back-when, but particularly around analytics, and more recently Big Data and even security; and of course there’s the cloud.

With any of the major players in this space it’s always hard to get an idea of how expansive their cloud presence is, so the handful of figures IBM released around this upgrade are worth noting.
According to IBM, its push into the cloud is going well. It says at the moment:

  • There are over one million enterprise application users working on the IBM Cloud.
  • There is more than US$ 100 billion in commerce transactions a year across its cloud.
  • There are 4.5 million daily client transactions conducted through the IBM Cloud.

You can see why companies, generally speaking, are concerned about uptime and backup when it comes to cloud installations, and also the fact that cloud is becoming mainstream and not just a nice add-on to enterprises IT infrastructure.

Paul Loftus, general manager, IBM Global Technology Services, explains that is more than just cost-cutting that is driving this move -- although there is ample evidence around to suggest that it is a big motivator.

Companies are starting to understand that cloud is more than just about gaining efficiencies and cost savings, it's about driving the kind of fundamental innovation that provides lasting marketplace advantage,” he said.

In other words, enterprises are depending on cloud providers to provide them with technologies that will give them an added edge in their own market and the cloud providers that do that will be the ones that are successful in the cloud space. In this respect, and from the figures above, IBM appears to be doing well with SmartCloud.

SmartCloud Enterprise 2.1

The enhancements that are being added in v2.1 should continue this trend. There are a number of things that should make any CTO’s mouth water.

First, its new functionality offers a robust IaaS for building and deploying applications that will have to possibility of integrating with private and traditional IT systems.

This will be underscored and facilitated by new 99.9% SLAs that guarantees that enterprises that a wide range of workloads will be achievable across the cloud.

It also comes with new Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating systems: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 will add functionality for enhanced performance, flexibility and security, while Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 delivers improvements in virtualization, resource management and high availability.

SmartCloud Enterprise +

IBM has also announced the availability of SmartCloud Enterprise + across North America and Europe with plans for additional global roll-outs in the third quarter of this year.

This will come with improved support for both x86 and P-Series and will run operating systesm including Windows, Linux and AIX on top of either VMWare or PowerVM hypervisors.

Also with this upgrade, IBM is providing Migration Services for SmartCloud Enterprise+ with tools and methods to help clients speed transition from traditional outsourcing to cloud. It is projected to be available in the third quarter.

SCE+ is designed to support different workloads and associated technology platforms including a new System z shared environment that will be available in the U.S. and U.K. later this year.

SmartCloud Application Services

Finally, IBM has also announced that IBM’s PaaS will move from beta to pilot stage for selected customers, enabling them to take advantage of both Application Workload Service as well as Collaborative Lifecycle Management Service.

In the pilot phase, customers will be able to use SmartCloud Application Services at no charge, except for the underlying IBM SmartCloud Enterprise infrastructure used by the SCAS pilot services.

Available in English around the world, the SmartCloud Application Services pilot is available now with general availability expected in the third quarter of the year. More on this as it develops.