The cloud saga continues: IBM tries a different approach

This ‘storing data in clouds’ thing keeps fascinating me. Maybe because the cloud seems so intangible and yet so appealing to a growing number of providers and corporate clients alike. In a recent post I looked at the flexible nature of cloud based computing, making large scale and complex IT infrastructures redundant. However, particularly large business customers still seem reluctant to adopt cloud computing, fearing a complete loss of control over their data.

In a recent move, IBM decided to start selling its cloud computing products through its “Services” division. Rather than just providing a technical solution, IBM will now be able to offer bespoke services to its clients, helping them to overcome their initial fears with respect to cloud computing. The focus of Erich Clementi, who heads up IBM’s cloud computing operation, is on different customer use cases and needs (i.e. large corporates).

Part of IBM’s new ‘cloud proposition’ is to sell individual services from its data centres that could be integrated into a company’s existing IT systems. This will leave companies in control of their IT system and their data. Microsoft has recently implemented a similar change to its cloud strategy through an upgrade of its Azure platform.

The main things I took away from IBM’s revised approach to cloud computing are:

  1. Companies will retain control over their IT – Rather than trying to encourage companies to relinquish control over their data to IBM to be stored and processed, IBM now enables companies to retain (full) control.
  2. IBM introduces ‘two-way traffic’ – IBM will now sell bespoke services from its data centres which can be integrated into companies‘ IT systems.
  3. This move by IBM is mostly strategic – the ‘teething problems’ inherent in cloud computing such as security and data portability, have not yet been resolved by the various providers and this new approach by IBM does not seem to resolve any of these issues.

Main learning point: cloud computing represents a really big and important shift in the way companies and individuals treat data storage and data management. To overcome corporate reluctance to handing over data control, providers such as IBM and Windows have started integrating their cloud services with corporate IT systems, thus creating more of a ‘two-way‘ relationship.

Related links for further learning:

Financial Times – “IBM in cloud strategy revamp”

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