IBM Launches Pair of Tools for Public and Private Clouds

IBM accelerated its cloud push on Thursday, when it announced the launch of SmartCloud, a product designed to enhance IBM's public cloud infrastructure services, and Workload Deployer, a new private cloud solution.

According to IBM, its new SmartCloud offering will provide enhanced capabilities over its existing public cloud service, which was primarily intended for testing and development. SmartCloud is designed 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 vice president of global cloud services.

IBM is rolling out two versions of the SmartCloud service: Enterprise and Enterprise +. The Enterprise version 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.

The Enterprise + option, slated for release later this year, is a fully managed service with monthly or fixed-contract pricing options. It offers a 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. According to IBM, the SAP offering will reduce the cost of administration centered around cloning, refreshing and patching SAP services.

Private Clouds Get a Boost
In addition to its public cloud announcements, IBM also released Workload Deployer, software that lets customers build private clouds using their existing internal infrastructure. Workload Deployer offers a graphical user interface (GUI) 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 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," Telford 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."

IBM made its announcements at its San Francisco Cloud Forum conference, an event for CIOs, on the same day as Dell's announcement of its plans to invest $1 billion in public and private cloud initiatives. 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.

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.