IBM joins a growing number of vendors that have announced private cloud platforms built around the open-source OpenStack project. Until now IBM's cloud services have been built on its WebSphere family of cloud computing and application-integration products, running on top of traditional IBM hardware, including mainframes running z/OS.
Last week, IBM announced it would convert all its cloud services and software to be based on "an open cloud architecture." The first iteration is a private-cloud service based on OpenStack, the open-source cloud platform that has been growing in popularity against stiff competition from VMware's vCloud Director and vCloud Suite.
The product, named IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator, is designed to let customers build their own private clouds using an interface that IBM describes as "an orchestrator that can automate application deployment and lifecycle management in the cloud: compute, storage and network configuration, human tasks automation, integration with third party tools, all delivered by a single cloud management platform." IBM is a platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation, which oversees the development of the OpenStack code.
The SmartCloud Orchestrator software is in beta. IBM says the full product will be available later this year. IBM is running an open beta program for those interested in the software.
IBM isn't the only vendor offering OpenStack-based platforms. In October 2012, Cisco Systems announced a Cisco Edition of OpenStack. Meanwhile Citrix Systems has rebranded its CloudStack implementation, which was derived from OpenStack, as CloudPlatform. And Rackspace last week announced OpenCenter, a new GUI for its own OpenStack private cloud package dubbed Rackspace Private Cloud.
IBM is combining its cloud services with an effort to ride big data – the other all-consuming trend in technology this year – to more combined sales. In addition to adding software to let customers manage their own clouds and data, IBM is leaping into social networking and big-data analytics in conjunction with its cloud offerings. IBM is packaging a set of applications designed to help companies use social networks to recruit new employees, and another set to design, publish and monitor the success of marketing campaigns on social networks.
It will also combine its new Social Media Publisher with a set of analytics it bundles under the name IBM Connections 4.5 – which includes document management, content management and a menu of analytics designed to glean insight from masses of social-network data.
It will also ship a version of the groupware formerly known as Lotus Notes as the IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition 9, which it bills as "the industry's first truly social email client."
The overall strategy is to deliver a variety of services designed to make it easy for customers to build big-data analytic capabilities and save money by deploying them on clouds http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/39133.wss certified by IBM as secure and business-application friendly.
IBM is using both cloud and open source to zero in on its traditional customers: IT people and business execs who need functional, reliable technology without going to the delay or expense of building it themselves. "IBM is focused on industrializing this cloud platform to drive business innovation around key enterprise applications," according to Erich Clementi, SVP of IBM Global Technology Services.