IBM Announces SmartCloud with Heavy Security Focus

IBM Announces SmartCloud with Heavy Security Focus

Cloud security was the name of the game at the IBM Cloud Forum in San Francisco today, where Big Blue unveiled IBM SmartCloud-- which aims to help customers build private, public and hybrid clouds. The effort focuses heavily on security and "service automation management," according to IBM General Manager of Application and Integration Software Robert LeBlanc (pictured). But where do MSPs and other channel partners potentially fit into the conversation?

No doubt, IBM is trying to work VARs and MSPs into its cloud strategy. Earlier this year at IBM PartnerWorld, Big Blue launched a Cloud Computing Specialty for channel partners. Now, IBM is playing an encore with the SmartCloud initiative. "It's an issue of how do you deploy and operationalize a cloud environment and how do you repair/cleanup properly so that you don't have security issues down the road," said LeBlanc "It's about virtualization, automation and standardization."

That's where the IBM's Tivoli Provision Manager for Software comes in. It's a program that automates deployments across many distributed environments and helps IT administrators better understand their virtualized environment. Then the system predicts outcomes before making changes. Of course, service providers can also use the tool.

Meanwhile, IBM is focusing its cloud resources heavily on security and availability. "People are not willing to compromise their security," said Senior Vice President Erich Clementi. "And availability is not optional. It's not negotiable. It is a vital process."

Two Key Requirements

IBM's Smart Cloud announcement wasn't a surprise. It comes on the heels of Senior VP Mark Loughridge predicting IBM  can generate $7 billion in cloud services revenue by 2015. At that point, it was pretty obvious that a cloud service was on the horizon. Additionally, HP recently disclosed plans for an HP Cloud. In some ways, the IBM SmartCloud effort looks like a direct response to that HP announcement.

Still, there are differences: HP Cloud appears to be a forthcoming public cloud from HP, aimed at competing with Amazon Web Services and Rackspace Cloud. IBM SmartCloud, in stark contrast, seems to be a portfolio of tools that lets partners and customers build clouds from scratch.

SmartCloud focuses on five priorities: (1) security and isolation, (2) availability and performance, (3) technology platforms, (4) management support and deployment, and (4) payment and billing. Customers can choose characteristics from public, private and hybrid cloud settings so that they can realize the greatest cost savings and efficiency that cloud is capable of providing.

"Private and public clouds are equally valid," said IBM Senior Vice President and Group Executive Steve Mills. "Private and hybrid clouds specifically are becoming more important in business and for government because of the private nature of their information."

As the day progresses here at the IBM forum, I'll be digging for more specific small business benefits associated with the new IBM SmartCloud. Also, Matt Weinberger will be sharing more SmartCloud insights on MSPmentor's sister site, TalkinCloud.

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