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IBM Extends Both Public and Private Clouds

IBM today accelerated its cloud push with the announcement of enhanced infrastructure services and a new private cloud solution.

Big Blue announced its extended cloud portfolio at its Cloud Forum conference, an event for CIOs held in San Francisco. The news coincided with Dell's announcement today that it will invest $1 billion in public and private cloud initiatives during its current fiscal year.

Just last month, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced its own cloud push which includes plans to launch a public cloud, "This is a cloud rush, everybody is trying to make sure that they are properly positioned to be top of mind," said Thinkstrategies analyst Jeff Kaplan.

For its part, IBM said its new SmartCloud offering will provide enhanced capabilities over its existing public cloud service, which was primarily intended to test and development. The new offering aims to step up the kind of systems and applications that can run in the IBM cloud.

"Now we have new options in terms of being able to run more complex production workloads, being able to do management of those applications and workloads for clients," said Ric Telford, IBM's VP of global cloud services.

The company announced two versions of the service: Enterprise and Enterprise +.  The former is a self-service cloud offering that is priced based on hourly usage. It requires users to bring their own software, promises 99.5 percent availability and is available for Windows and Linux-based deployments.

Slated to be released later this year, the Enterprise + option is a fully managed service, priced either on monthly and fixed contracts, offers higher level of security with multiple levels of isolation and 99.9 percent availability. IBM provides the operating system and software licenses with the Enterprise + option. In addition to running x86 environments, customers can run applications on IBM's Power7 platform running AIX.

Also to be offered on SmartCloud later this year is IBM SAP Managed Application Services, which will allow for the automated provisioning and management of SAP environments, IBM said. According to the company, the SAP offering will reduce the cost of and administration centered around cloning, refreshing and patching SAP services.

In addition to its public cloud announcements, IBM launched software that lets customers build private clouds using their existing internal infrastructure. The IBM Workload Deployer offers a graphical user interface to move systems into a private cloud, Telford said.

"You define the pattern that makes up the application, you define the servers, how they're connected and that's all through a visual drag and drop interface," he said. "Once that's created you can press a button and essentially have it provision and deploy that application into the cloud in one step."

IBM is delivering the Workload Deployer as an appliance loaded with the software that connects to a customer's infrastructure. "Typically our clients have a rack or more of servers that are part of the private cloud," he said. "You point the appliance at that rack and say this is where the machines can be provisioned and it does that dynamically once you've defined your applications."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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