IBM Attains Critical Cloud Mass

Michael Vizard
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Five Must-Have Tools from Any Cloud Provider

Cloud computing is all about lowering the cost of IT by sharing the cost of IT infrastructure, while at the same time increasing the flexibility of the overall IT environment.

But unless a cloud computing provider can attain certain economies of scale, the ability of that cloud computing provider to compete over the long haul is going to be severely compromised.


IBM today announced that it has passed the 1-million-enterprise-application-user mark on the IBM SmartCloud platforms, and that about 4.5 million daily client transactions are now being conducted through the IBM Cloud. That may not be the largest cloud computing platform out there today given the size of providers such as Amazon, but it's more than enough to be competitive.

While there wasn't much doubt that IBM could compete as a cloud service provider, Craig Sowell, IBM vice president of cloud marketing, says 1 million users is a significant milestone because once enough users start collaborating and using applications in the cloud, we should start to see more transformations of actual business processes. Right now, most IT organizations are moving existing processes and applications to the cloud. But once they become more comfortable with cloud computing, Sowell says many of them will start to take advantage of the capabilities of the cloud to fundamentally re-engineer those processes in ways that will provide a sustainable competitive business advantage.

IBM today also announced that the IBM's SmartCloud Application Services (SCAS), a platform-as-a-service offering, is now formally in beta and that the company unfurled a version 2.1 upgrade to the IBM SmartCloud infrastructure-as-a-service platform.

According to Sowell, one of the attributes that IBM expects to resonate in the cloud with enterprise customers is the level of support that IBM provides compared to some of the more established providers such as Amazon and the service level agreements (SLAs) that IBM is willing to stand behind. In addition, IBM will work with customers to make the IBM cloud environment seem like a more natural extension of the customer's private, on-premise cloud computing environment, says Sowell.

There's clearly a lot of competition in the cloud these days. But given the fact that performance in the cloud is closely tied to scale and size of the overall cloud computing environment, it'll be interesting to see which providers can attain and maintain enough critical mass over the long haul to actually survive and thrive.

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