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IBM's SmartCloud Tames Life Cycle Management

IBM has been active in the cloud market for years, including launching its Blue Cloud offering back in 2007, but now the company says it is addressing the next shift in enterprise cloud adoption. According to its new study, nearly 90% of businesses are moving beyond virtualization, so the company's new SmartCloud software, introduced at Pulse 2012, offers improved visibility, control and automation for organizations to securely manage and deploy cloud services.

The new software is a suite of best-practice patterns for enabling integrated life-cycle management of cloud services and combines Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management solutions with IBM SmartCloud Provisioning. The company says its recent Green Hat acquisition will further extend these capabilities, reducing development life-cycle times by streamlining test cycles as applications are transitioned to cloud deployments.

The recent IBM Institute for Business Value study found that 90% of organizations expect to adopt or substantially deploy a cloud model in the next three years, but as they take the next step beyond virtualized data centers and expand their cloud environments, they are faced with what has become known as "virtual image sprawl." IBM says virtual images are tripling every two years, and with current operating practices, that means every two years you'd need 1.5 times the physical infrastructure to support cloud and twice the labor.

IBM Software and Systems senior VP Steve Mills says we are still in the early days of cloud computing. During a press briefing at this week's Pulse event, he said there are more than 30 million servers installed globally, but that the average Intel-based server is still only operating at 10% capacity. According to the new study, the percentage of companies innovating with cloud is expected to double by 2015. Just 16% of the respondents said they are already using cloud capabilities for "sweeping innovation," such as entering new lines of business or reshaping an existing one, but by 2015 that number will have more than doubled to 35%.

IBM says initial results show that customers using the software have seen dramatic results, including shortened delivery time (from months to days) through end-to-end automation, standardization and repeatability; 20% reduction in resource costs; 40% more agility by streamlining operation and development collaboration with in-context communication; and 20% increases in application service availability and performance.

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