Big Blue Predicts Cloudy IT Skies by 2015
February 21, 2011 Jenny Thomas
You don’t need radar to see the clouds are coming. We’re only two months into the new year and already 2011 can be summed up in a few buzzwords that seem to be on everyone’s lips: social media, Beiber fever, and, of course, cloud computing.
You can’t turn on a TV or surf the Web without a barrage of advertising and speculation on the cloud phenomena. As further proof, IBM recently conducted a developerWorks survey of more than 2,000 IT professionals worldwide, and 91 percent of those surveyed believe cloud computing will overtake on-premise computing as the primary way organizations acquire IT by 2015.
This news isn’t too surprising, especially not to IBM, which has been increasing its cloud computing push in recent years. In a YouTube video from last year, IBMer Willy Chiu says that cloud computing is based on virtualization technology that IBM invented 40 years ago, which is a bit of a stretch. Whether IBM could have imagined this explosion for cloud computing back in the early 1970s is a matter of debate. But there’s no arguing that cloud computing is bringing the best of distributed and centrally controlled, mainframe-style computing together in a way that many were not quite ready for.
In support of this rapidly growing opportunity, which according to IBM, is expected to more than double from $68.3 billion in 2010 to $148.8 billion in 2014, Big Blue is sharpening its focus on cloud computing, hoping to help its business partners enable customers to transform into smarter businesses with the launch of the IBM’s Cloud Computing Specialty.
This new IBM initiative will support five types of business partners that demonstrate their expertise and customer success in cloud computing:
Business partners that become members of Cloud Computing Specialty group will gain access to a wide range of IBM cloud computing marketing and sales enablement resources to help them build, market and sell cloud computing solutions. These include an assigned IBM relationship manager to provide day-to-day support, confidential updates on the IBM cloud strategy and roadmap, business development funds to invest in marketing and events, invitations to IBM business development workshops, assessment tools to develop customized client recommendations for cloud strategies, and expanded use of LotusLive to more fully demonstrate how partner offerings use IBM cloud technology.
IBM also introduced the Cloud Computing Authorization marketing program designed specifically for IBM software resellers. While the IBM Cloud Computing Specialty focuses on the development and promotion of top cloud partners, the new program is an extension of the IBM Software Value Plus program, specifically for software business partners that have built and demonstrated specialty skills, and then receive financial incentives as resellers of IBM’s software portfolio.
IBM business partners that meet the program requirements, which include passing two IBM cloud computing certification tests, providing a cloud offering that includes multiple IBM technologies, and demonstrating successful client implementations, and are able to sell a broad range of IBM cloud computing offerings, will receive priority cloud computing lead passing consideration and opportunities to attend joint planning meetings with IBM sales teams.
There are currently more than 30 cloud-based offerings enabled for IBM business partners to sell to their customers. With more than 900 global IT service management practitioners and 18 cloud computing centers worldwide, IBM is definitely on the cloud computing playing field. And although there’s no mention of specific platforms in IBM’s materials, with its reach into so many industries, there’s no way the IBM i platform will be left behind in the cloudy revolution. It just may take a little more time to get moving, as was the case with the Internet-Web revolution 15 years ago.
Last August, we reported on iDevCloud, a virtual workspace for i developers to experiment with the latest RPG, PHP, and Java tools against a live System i machine. And in April of last year, IBM published a white paper titled, IBM i and SaaS: Positioning IBM i as a software as a service platform that stated the “IBM i has been architected to include functions and operating system support that allow IBM i applications to be deployed in and IBM i cloud.” The author of the paper goes on to say there are over 90 providers that have been deploying their applications in a cloud model for over 15 years. You can see the complete white paper here.
Whether you’re running an i or not, the benefits of cloud computing are easy to see. One company that’s heading for the clouds via IBM is Music Mastermind, a mid-sized independent entertainment and technology company. IBM premier business partner Micro Strategies worked with Music Mastermind to deploy SoundBetter, the audio processing suite behind Music Mastermind’s create-and-share music platform, on IBM’s Smart Business cloud service.
“Music Mastermind empowers everyone to make great music. We’re at the forefront of a game-changing movement in global entertainment,” said Bo Bazylevsky, co-founder and president/COO of Music Mastermind. “IBM and Micro Strategies provide us a world-class cloud solution at a fraction of the cost of building our own data center.”
With a desire to expand globally but a need to balance development and distribution costs, the three-year-old startup chose IBM’s Smart Business cloud services to increase scalability, reduce power requirements, and eliminate the need for an on-site network environment. Music Mastermind has a target launch date for the consumer market in the second half of 2011.