IBM launches public cloud services - but UK users can wait

Cloud computing

IBM has pushed into the public cloud with a bang, unveiling a public IaaS offering that looks to meet Amazon's challenge head on.

British customers, however, may want to wait for a while the service is not being launched in the UK for some time yet.

The centrepiece of the new product range is the Smart Cloud offering, which comes in two versions Enterprise and Enterprise +. These will be able to offer customers "an enterprise-class" infrastructure," according to Doug Clark, IBM's cloud leader for UK and Ireland.

"We're putting in the features that enterprises expect: in terms of capacity, industry standard operating systems and IBM enterprise software," he added.

Clark claims the products will meet the challenges faced by IBM customers. "Our research tells us that integration difficulties are one of the key problems in deploying cloud and that's an area where IBM has the expertise to help," he said.

Of the two Smart Cloud offerings, Enterprise is available now and, claimed Clark, could enable customers shrink the time taken on application development and deployment by as much as 30 percent compared with traditional methods,

Enterprise + will not be available until later in the year and will offer customers additional capabilities to manage virtual server, storage, network and security infrastructure components.

However, the services aren't coming to the UK just yet. Indeed, the only European country where Smart Cloud services will be launched will be Germany, That said, as Clark pointed out, there is nothing stopping a UK organisation purchasing services from IBM US or Germany - although there would certainly be a problem in storing data in the former case, a possible language barrier in the latter and a potential latency issue with both options.

Clark would not even be drawn on when Smart Cloud would be launched in the UK, "it's not part of our current plans," he said.

The comapany is also launching IBM Workload Deployer to provide a single platform for customers to provision middleware and application components to run web workloads in the cloud. Clark said that this would help organisations respond to customer requests more quickly.

Clark would not accept that IBM would be seen as competing for the top end of the IaaS market while leaving the smaller businesses to Amazon. "It will depend on the customer and the customer's needs," he said.

He claimed there was no such thing as a typical deployment price as it would be driven by individual cases. However John Easton, technical leader for cloud with IBM UK said that Smart Cloud was built around a set of publicly published prices. "For example," he said, "One hour of a Linux virtual machine would work out at 15 cents."

IBM has certainly made a heavy investment in these cloud services. The company has spent about $3 billion in acquiring software companies for its push into cloud but it's expecting cloud offerings to deliver $7 billion worth of revenue by 2015, according to Clark. He wouldn't be drawn on the percentage from the UK a "significant amount" he said. That is provided the company has got round to launching a UK service by then.

Max Cooter

Max Cooter is a freelance journalist who has been writing about the tech sector for almost forty years.

At ITPro, Max’s work has primarily focused on cloud computing, storage, and migration. He has also contributed software reviews and interviews with CIOs from a range of companies.

He edited IDG’s Techworld for several years and was the founder-editor of CloudPro, which launched in 2011 to become the UK’s leading publication focused entirely on cloud computing news.

Max attained a BA in philosophy and mathematics at the University of Bradford, combining humanities with a firm understanding of the STEM world in a manner that has served him well throughout his career.