IBM is looking to marry the elasticity and simplicity of the enterprise cloud with the support available from typical outsourcing services.
To that end, IBM last week expanded availability of its SmartCloud Enterprise+ to five continents, for hosting SAP and other core operations.
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ is designed to provide deep technical expertise, around-the-clock customer service, tight security, and ongoing maintenance features typically found in IT sourcing arrangements but not in self-service clouds that provide basic infrastructure but not much more, says IBM, which sponsors Internet Evolution. Enterprises can either self-manage SCE+, or let IBM do it for them.
SCE+ is designed to allow businesses continuous access to core applications for ERP, CRM, analytics, social business, and mobile computing.
"Our clients want sophisticated, economical cloud-based services that provide the same quality and service level as a private, hosted IT environment," Jim Comfort, general manager of IBM SmartCloud Services, said in a statement from IBM. "With that assurance, they can focus more on driving business value from their data and operations, and less on managing their IT."
IBM SmartCloud for SAP applications automates and standardizes provisioning IT environments, and accelerates service delivery, with 99.7 percent availability. It's available for the SAP Business Suite software and SAP BusinessObjects solution portfolio.
Among the customers of SCE+ is the Philips Smart TV for Internet services, available in more than 30 countries in Europe, as well as Brazil and Argentina, IBM says.
Summit Health, a healthcare management company, uses IBM SCE+ to support its growth around healthcare management and proactive wellness, says IBM.
SCE+ is hosted on IBM's cloud centers in Japan, Brazil, Canada, France, Australia, the US, and Germany. An additional center in Barcelona, Spain, will be open in mid–2013.
Unlike Amazon.com or Rackspace infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings, IBM provides System Z mainframes and System P servers running AIX, making SmartCoud more compatible with the workloads of IBM customers, notes InformationWeek's Charles Babcock.
IBM previously offered IaaS in the US and Europe. The broader geographic coverage will help companies find sites on which to store their data. The physical location where data is stored is important as different nations have different regulatory requirements for disclosure and privacy. Many companies turn to hybrid clouds to navigate regulatory obstacles.
IBM saw an 80 percent increase in cloud revenues last year, and plans $7 billion in cloud revenues in 2015, InformationWeek said.
IBM's new cloud offering is a "swipe at market leader Amazon Web services," says Network World's Brandon Butler, noting IBM's support and services as a competitive differentiator.
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— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution