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IBM Acquires Cast Iron Systems

IBM today said it has acquired Cast Iron Systems Inc., a venture-backed provider of appliances that integrate line of business applications with cloud-based services.

Big Blue announced the acquisition at its annual Impact conference in Las Vegas. Mountain View, Calif.-based Cast Iron, founded in 2001 with 75 employees, gives IBM and its partners a platform for creating hybrid cloud services. Cast Iron's solutions lets organizations tie their internal applications with cloud services from the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.com.

"Cast Iron provides that intermediary, that critical set of capabilities to help deal with not just the connection but the control, that has to go back and forth between an inside-the-firewall, in-house set of activities and those things that sit outside the firewall and in-effect out in the cloud," said Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM's software group, speaking at a press conference at its Impact conference.

"This fits very nicely with our process integration efforts, it fits nicely with this whole notion of service orientation and certainly very nicely with enterprise cloud solutions we are brining to customers around the world," he added.

Mills said Cast Iron will compliment its Cloud Burst offering, a portfolio of appliances IBM launched a year ago that lets partners and enterprises deploy private cloud solutions within their organizations. Internally-developed based on IBM's WebSphere stack, CloudBurst is a provisioning platform to create a cloud environment within an enterprise that also includes IBM's scheduling manager, provisioning manager and monitoring tools.

Adding Cast Iron will let organization bridge those internal cloud applications with those residing in public cloud services such as linking an internal CRM or ERP application to Salesforce.com, Mills explained. The appeal of Cast Iron is that it integrates with the likes of Salesforce, Microsoft's Azure services, Amazon's EC2, Google Apps and others, added Craig Hayman, general manager of IBM's WebSphere and application integration and middleware business. "They've built a very broad eco-system of cloud providers," Hayman said.

However, it remains to be seen how well some of those partnerships hold up. Among those partners are key rivals, including Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle.

The deal has already closed. Terms were not disclosed.

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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