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MANAGED SERVICES hybrid cloud


the ‘Dynamic Hybrid Cloud’. “The Cloud is disrupting the Channel and enterprise customers alike,” he explains, “and IBM has Cloud offerings for the distributors, resellers and MSPs to offer their customers as well as private, enterprise Clouds for clients. IBM can host a Cloud and/or keep the Cloud on the customer’s own premises. Our overall objective is to ensure that all of our customers can maximise the potential of what they move into a Cloud environment.”


Clark believes that the acquisition of SoftLayer is a vital ingredient of the IBM Cloud portfolio. “By acquiring SoftLayer, we’re showing that IBM is anything but a one trick pony – it allows us to offer customers a range of Cloud infrastructure formats, from which they can choose the most relevant to meet their workload.”


Clark continues: “In our vision of the Dynamic Hybrid Cloud, some applications will be hosted in the Public Cloud, others not, and IBM can provide whatever combination of environments is required – multi-tenant, virtual, bare metal, mainframe and much, much more.”


TO MANY, IBM’s Cloud offering might seem something of a radical departure from its ‘traditional’ markets of selling mainframes, servers and storage. But, as Doug Clark, points out, it’s more of the next step in a logical evolution. “IBM is a massive organisation and, as such, we’ve always had interests in many different areas. Yes, there’s the traditional hardware, systems and services business, but we’ve also been involved in ‘heavy-lifting’ outsourcing and have a hugely successful consulting operation as well. We’re known for helping customers achieve strategic transformation of their IT environments, and we have widespread experience of running big IT systems, migrations, security, VDI and professional services and, something which many people forget, we also have a pedigree in software.”


He continues: “In recent years, thanks in part to acquisitions, we’ve developed software- as-a-service offerings and, over time, a full Cloud stack with a rich portfolio of our own products and, importantly, thanks to our use of open standards, allowing significant third party involvement as well. So we have, if you like, a Cloud infrastructure and platform level into which third parties can simply plug in their own applications.”


In simple terms, IBM is building a technology portfolio that allows it to offer what Clark calls


Minutes not months For Clark, the power of SoftLayer lies in the ability it gives IBM to offer a dynamic Cloud infrastructure layer, or foundation, that will provide true agility for the applications and workloads that run on top of it. And it is this agility which is crucial for so many organisations as they seek to stay competitive in their respective markets. As Clark puts it: “The Cloud offers the promise of agility which allows businesses to differentiate themselves and gain first mover advantage. By enabling collaboration, analytics and a move to mobile, for example, Cloud can transform businesses and their markets, and offers significant revenue and profit growth opportunities.”


It might sound like an exaggeration, but the Cloud, in plenty of real world examples, allows organisations to configure whole new application environments in minutes rather than the months it would once have taken. While IBM’s SoftLayer platform provides the necessary infrastructure for third parties to ‘do their own thing’ in terms of achieving such rapid application development and deployment, the company’s own Bluemix platform offers an easy way of achieving the same result. Bluemix is an open-standards, cloud-based platform for building, managing, and running apps of all types, such as web, mobile, big data, and smart devices. Capabilities include Java, mobile back-end development, and application monitoring, as


well as features from ecosystem partners and open source - all provided as-a-service in the Cloud.


The combination of SoftLayer and Bluemix takes the potential of Cloud and makes it into a dynamic reality. Clark says: “I think that SoftLayer allows us to position ourselves well in the market. A lot of people have set up Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms, but these in their own right are not creating value to the customer – it’s all about how you can use the platform. IBM has recognised this, has taken the raw ingredients, and built around it, and is always looking to extend the platform’s usefulness. For example, take Big Data analytics, combined with SoftLayer, and use it on mobile applications, with seamless integration.”


Bluemix developments At the end of 2014, IBM announced significant additions to its Bluemix/ DevOps environment, bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to Cloud-based application development and delivery is a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM’s platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build applications around their most sensitive data and deploy them in a dedicated cloud environment to help them capture the benefits of cloud while avoiding the compliance, regulatory and performance issues that are presented with public clouds.


IBM also introduced a new, private API catalogue on its public instance of Bluemix. which will help developers to more easily access their on-premise data as their organisations experiment with and build hybrid cloud strategies. Building on its global expansion of developer resources and tools, IBM also announced it is expanding its Bluemix Garage network to Canary Wharf Group’s Level39, Europe’s largest accelerator space for financial, retail and future cities tech companies, and expanding the public Bluemix catalogue to its London data centre.


Bluemix Dedicated provides access to a collaborative, cloud-based platform in a single tenant environment, hosted in an IBM cloud centre of an organisation’s choice to allow for maximum control over where data resides. Supported with dedicated hardware from within a SoftLayer cloud centre and direct network connectivity to the enterprise, Bluemix Dedicated will give users the unique benefits of SoftLayer – including a built-in private network and unparalleled control and workload visibility – and will initially offer runtime capability along with a core set of


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