Workday, which provides enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, has signed a multi-year deal to host a development and testing environment on IBM's cloud.
And that's just the beginning. Workday plans to expand the use of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) Cloud beyond development and testing. Previous dealings between the two companies have seen IBM provide consulting services for Workday customers; acquire Meteorix, a Workday services provider, in 2015; and use Workday Human Capital Management for its global workforce.
IBM's cloud includes nearly 50 data centers in 17 countries on six continents.
The cloud economy often resembles Matryoshka dolls, with cloud providers providing platforms for other cloud providers -- more precisely, software-as-a-service providers turn to infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service providers to run applications.
Perhaps most famously, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) hosts its services on Amazon Web Services Inc. -- that is, all but the important video streaming, which it runs on its own content delivery network (CDN).
The trend isn't universal. LinkedIn Corp. wanted control of its own destiny so it launched its own ambitious private cloud project. That project faces a cloudy future (so to speak) in the face of the upcoming acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). (See LinkedIn Launches Private Cloud for Growth and Under Microsoft, LinkedIn's Big Cloud Plans Face Uncertain Future.)
The Workday/IBM deal "comes soon after two recent reports from analysts raised questions about IBM's ability to compete" with Amazon, Microsoft and Google in the cloud, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Last week, Australia's national census website, hosted by IBM, had to be shut down after cyberattacks disrupted citizens' ability to enter information. IBM apologized, noting that no data was accessed or stolen in the attack, according to the WSJ.
On the other hand, Synergy Research Group categorizes IBM with Amazon, Microsoft and Google as cloud leaders, with Amazon "in a league of its own" and Microsoft in second place.
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud