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IBM Cloud Private Extends Big Blue's Hybrid Reach

Scott Ferguson
11/1/2017
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IBM is looking to use its clout in the private cloud market to make it easier for more customers to create hybrid and multi-cloud cloud deployments with a new software platform called Cloud Private.

IBM originally released Cloud Private to a limited number of enterprise customers in late June. Now, Big Blue is planning to release the platform to a larger number of customers, especially those that are interested in keeping some data hosted on-premises but also want the types of features a public cloud infrastructure offers.

With Cloud Private, IBM is specifically targeting users of the company's middleware, including WebSphere, Liberty, Db2 and MQ, to allow them to keep certain data out of the public cloud sphere. For instance, an airline can keep frequent flyer and other data in the private cloud, but take advantage of a mobile app that is hosted in a public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform

However, in order to ensure apps and workloads can be portable and offer scalability, especially in cloud-native environments, IBM is also integrating container technology from Docker, along with the Google-backed Kubernetes management and orchestration platform.

Seeing a hybrid world
(Source: IBM)
Seeing a hybrid world
(Source: IBM)

"We essentially want to enable our enterprise customers to be able to install a cloud and get all the benefits, including the elasticity, the scalability and resilience that they can get in our public cloud in a private cloud that is behind their firewall," Robin Hernandez, director of IBM Cloud Private Offering Management, told Enterprise Cloud News before the November 1 announcement. "Here, they can still protect their data and applications and still have quite a bit of control over those workloads and how they are being deployed and managed."

Hernandez noted that customers have been consistently asking for a hybrid approach to cloud and IBM sees a $50 billion opportunity in the private cloud market. She added: "It will also integrate with our public cloud because we do see that a lot of these customers want a multi-cloud strategy or a hybrid cloud and they don't want to be boxed into any one deployment model.

"Our enterprise customers have been telling us that for different workloads they have different needs. Some are transient and require scalability and they want to put those on the public cloud and others are mission critical with data and they want those behind the firewall.

Specifically, Hernandez said IBM has seen interest from enterprises in highly regulated industries, including healthcare, financial services, airlines, as well as government.

Although not as large as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Service (AWS) in the public cloud space, a recent report by Synergy Research found that IBM is a major provider of private cloud services, making the company the third-largest overall cloud provider. (See Microsoft Growing Explosively, but Amazon Retains Huge Cloud Lead.)


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By focusing on the middleware part of the software stack, IBM is looking to distinguish itself from other hybrid offerings, including Microsoft's Azure Stack, which is Redmond's answer to hybrid. (See Microsoft Azure Stack, SQL Server 2017 Emphasize Hybrid Cloud.)

"Cloud Private is a natural and necessary step for IBM to take in evolving IBM Cloud," Charles King, an analyst with PundIT Research, wrote in an email. "In essence, the company has added easy to use and simple to manage private cloud functions to core IBM solutions, including Db2, Websphere and MQ messaging that its customers already have deployed. As a result, Cloud Private is more of an extension of the value of customers' existing IBM investments rather than being a new, on-premises cloud platform offering like Microsoft's Azure Stack."

IBM Cloud Private
(Source: IBM)
IBM Cloud Private
(Source: IBM)

IBM plans to integrate Cloud Private with its own hardware, including its hyperconverged offering, the System z mainframe and Power Systems. The company also has third-party hardware partners including Cisco, Dell EMC, Intel, Lenovo and NetApp.

Customers would also be able to deploy Cloud Private through VMware, Canonical, OpenStack, as well as bare-metal servers.

Besides Db2, IBM also plans to support other databases, including MongoDB and PostgreSQL. There's also additional support for a number of DevOps and other developer tools, including several open source ones.

Finally, IBM is adding several layers of security, including data encryption, privileged access tool and the company's Security Vulnerability Advisor, which scans containers across multiple cloud.

IBM had previously offered a similar approach to hybrid cloud called Bluemix Local, which Cloud Private now replaces.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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