Arguing that greater choice in the cloud will help business users innovate and reduce costs, IBM and Microsoft have launched a collaboration on enterprise cloud services. The partnership will bring together Microsoft's Azure and IBM's Cloud Solutions in several new ways.
The collaboration will provide both companies' customers with "an even greater level of choice over the tools that they use to build and deploy their cloud environments," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM's Software and Cloud Solutions Group.
Under the new arrangement, business customers will be able bring their own software licenses for either or both the IBM and Microsoft clouds. In addition to offering more choices to enterprise users, however, the partnership also appears aimed at helping IBM in particular expand its influence in cloud services.
IBM Seeks 'Reinvention'
Following IBM's conference call with investors Monday, which showed the company projecting a drop in earnings for the first time since 2002, a consensus view has emerged that IBM is facing a business crisis. CEO Ginni Rometty acknowledged during the call that, "We have got to reinvent ourselves like we have done in prior generations."
Unlike other cloud services companies, IBM's business model puts an emphasis on consulting solutions as much as on software sales.
As Bloomberg columnist Katie Benner wrote in an analysis Wednesday: "The best and most competitive cloud computing companies see their relationships with customers as built upon a suite of products that are constantly updated and that generate a stream of fees harvested over a long period of time. They aren't selling an expensive, high-margin enterprise package. In other words, they don't do business the way that IBM does business."
The companies currently exerting a much greater impact in the cloud include Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. So it's noteworthy that IBM is now looking to integrate its offerings more with Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.
Pay-Per-Use IBM Middleware on Azure
As part of their new relationship, the two companies will make IBM's key middleware -- including WebSphere Liberty, MQ and DB2 -- available on Microsoft Azure, with Microsoft charging customers on a pay-per-use basis. In addition, Microsoft's Server and SQL Server will be offered on IBM's cloud.
IBM also plans to expand its support for software running on Windows Server Hyper-V and make its Pure Application Service available on Azure. Together, the two companies will also work to deliver a Microsoft .NET runtime for IBM's Bluemix cloud development platform, and have started with a limited preview offering.
"This could open the door for millions of .NET developers to build applications at scale for clients on IBM's cloud platform," the companies said in their joint press release about the new collaboration.
Image credit: iStock/Artist's Concept.
david b magee:
Posted: 2014-10-24 @ 8:46am PT
IBM is not a sell here. It's a BUY. Those who sell now are maximizing the hit in the near term. The horizon for IBM will come into view as long term STRONG. Those who bail now will ultimately regret it.
Posted: 2014-10-24 @ 3:50am PT
One of the hidden gems in this collaboration is the implementation of IBM MQ and IBM DB2 on Windows Azure.
This allows companies to build mobile applications that integrate with IBM mainframes, ERP's, CRM's work management systems and more.
I have done a great deal of this type of integration, and now it can be done in the Microsoft cloud (Windows Azure).
Here are two technical use cases:
- Cloud application executes a mainframe COBOL program via MQ, receives a response in real-time, and displays the response to a user on a mobile device.
- Cloud application queries a mainframe DB2 database and displays the result to a user on a mobile device.
The business possibilities are tremendous.
In addition to the mainframe, this configuration can be used to access data on a variety of ERP, CRM, and work management systems.
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