ibm_logo_2010.jpg IBM (news, site) has unveiled its next-generation SmartCloud platform, which is designed to coax, rather than force, businesses into the cloud with an Enterprise implementation that is available immediately and an Enterprise+ version that will be released later this year.

While IBM has been experimenting and tweaking its cloud offerings for quite a while, Big Blue says that these releases mark a move from development and assessment of cloud capabilities to full-scale enterprise deployment.

IBM’s Cloud Portfolio

The releases also extend its existing cloud portfolio and, with the two implementation options, companies will be able to choose between public, private, or hybrid clouds depending on needs.

Whether enterprises working with sensitive data such as the medical, insurance, or financial verticals will actually take to public clouds remains to be seen, given some of the stringent regulations governing the physical and geographical location of such data, but IBM is giving them the option.

In fact, it is giving them more than the option to choose between one and the other. According to IBM, enterprises will be able to select the key characteristics of public, private and hybrid clouds to match their workload requirements.


Five Elements

The choices being offered will be based on a list of five elements, which enterprises can deploy depending on their needs. Those elements consist of:

  • Security and isolation
  • Availability and performance
  • Technology platforms
  • Management support and deployment
  • Payment and billing

Within the five elements, IBM is providing a range of secured services using the three delivery methods of public, private, or hybrid clouds, and offering enterprises the option of managing everything themselves, or using IBM’s own management, which the company says works from the server to the application and process layer.

The key to whether this will be a success is how far the choices offered to enterprises extend. According to Erich Clementi, senior vice president, IBM Global Technology Services, these offerings were developed at the request of enterprises that are only prepared to pay for what they need and not for packages that include components that they don’t need and won’t use.

In thousands of cloud engagements, we have discovered that the enterprise client wants a choice of cloud deployment models that meet the requirements of their workloads and the demands of their business,” he said.

SmartCloud Enterprise, Enterprise+

The new IBM SmartCloud has two implementation options:


This implementation is available already and extends its Development and Test Cloud. It enables enterprises to expand their internal development and reduces application development from days to minutes, with a reduction of 30% in the costs associated with traditional application environments. 


Enterprise +

This will be made available sometime later this year and will expand the value of the Enterprise option with new capabilities and a core set of multi-tenant service that will manage virtual server, storage, network and security infrastructure components.

IBM will also be offering, later this year, IBM SAP (news, site) Managed Application Services on the IBM SmartCloud, which will automate the most common and labor-intensive work associated with managing SAP environments.

As a result, enterprises will be able to:

  • Install of DB2/Oracle from one day to 12 minutes
  • Database library maintenance from half a day to eight minutes
  • Clone databases in 20 minutes rather than three days
  • Operating system installation reduced from one day to 30 minutes
  • SAP systems refresh in three minutes rather than the current one to four days

Cloud Use and Business

Along with business intelligence and analytics, cloud computing has been one of Big Blue’s core business areas since forever. At the launch of SmartCloud, the company said that it had developed it to such a point that there are now more than 20 million end users.

Everyone knows that cloud spending is on the rise, but how high that is predicted to go, according to estimates by IDC, is really staggering.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Collaborative Applications 2010–2014 Forecast Update, US$ 17 billion was spent on cloud-related technologies, hardware and software in 2009, with spending to grow to US$ 45 billion by 2013.

With these new releases, IBM is offering one platform to enable users to provision the middleware and application components they need to run web workloads in the cloud across multiple systems or hypervisors in a simple and repeatable fashion. It can be seen this week at the IMPACT 2011 show in Las Vegas until April 15.