IBM has made a major move into the cloud computing space with the launch of its Smart Business suite targeted at enterprises.
A mix of public and private cloud services, Smart Business includes Smart Business Development & Test on the IBM Cloud, IBM Smart Business Test Cloud – private cloud services behind the customer’s firewall, built and/or run by IBM, and, IBM CloudBurst: pre-integrated hardware, storage, virtualisation, networking, and service management.
The new services, which will be available in Australia later in the year, include IBM’s service management system to automate self-service, provisioning, monitoring, access management and security.
According to Michael Shallcross, IT strategy and architecture consulting leader Asia Pacific at IBM Global Technology Services, said the key difference with the company’s cloud offering lay in the level of service management and automation available.
“The underlying technologies – virtualisation, energy efficiency and other technologies – have actually been around for a long time,” he said. “But, the key ingredient on top is the focus on the service management; it provides a simple interface so the end user can directly request the service they want, and the cloud has the automated workflows and provisioning to automatically provide that service.”
Shallcross said that using IBM’s cloud approach, a development and test team could within minutes request a particular standardised development environment from a shopping-list style catalogue, Shallcross said. Automation would then take that request, allocate a virtual server, set up the standard software development environment, then inform the team when it was ready to use.
“The developers no longer have to specify the infrastructure, and can get back to developing” he said. “It gets them out of the infrastructure loop and focuses them on the business functions that really matters.”
Shallcross claimed that through testing of IBM’s new offering in 20 cloud labs around the world IBM had found that labour involved in provisioning and maintaining developer environments had been reduced by 30-50 percent. Utlisation rates of develop and test infrastructure had been seen to improve by 50 and 75 percent, he said. Potential for errors in the provisioning process were reduced by up to 30 percent.
Through having more centralised services end user support costs in IBM’s desktop cloud offering had been reduced by 40 percent, Shallcross claimed.
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