In a move that has significant implications in terms of turning cloud computing into a commodity, IBM today launched a Communications Service Provider Platform specifically designed to help carriers move into delivering cloud computing services.
According to Deborah Magid, director of software for the IBM Venture Capital Group, carriers are looking for more profitable streams of revenue and, given their networking resources, a shift into providing cloud computing services is only natural. The challenge many carriers face is that they lack the infrastructure to provide those services. Under the Communications Service Provider Platform program, IBM intends to provide turnkey, carrier-grade implementations of cloud computing platforms that have been enhanced to meet the high-volume requirements of carriers moving into the cloud computing sector.
With IBM's assistance, many of these carriers will be competing directly with every cloud computing provider already in the space, including Amazon, a range of hosting companies, vendors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Google, and a range of IT services companies. While rapid growth is forecast for cloud computing, it's becoming pretty clear that the massive amount of cloud computing compute capacity in the market soon will make it a buyer's market.
Magid said that IBM is also working with carriers to essentially turn the cloud computing platforms created by the carriers into distribution channels for IBM software and the software of IBM partners. This could significantly lower the cost of sales for software vendors while significantly expanding the base of customers that can effectively use any given set of applications, she said. This new channel will be especially important for mobile computing applications that will primarily rely on cloud computing services delivered by the carriers.
A fundamental change is occurring in the way enterprise computing resources are being delivered to customers. But for the time being, it looks like we may have to wait and see who will actually survive what will surely turn into a cloud computing price war that will probably drive many smaller players from the market.