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IBM Leads in Cloud Strategy and Deployment

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While you may think it’s just a tech buzzword, the reality is cloud technology is significant and it’s not going anywhere—except to everyone’s data centers. Like electricity or the Internet, which both started out as new-fangled luxuries without much practical use, cloud is becoming ubiquitous. According to IBM, cloud’s strategic importance to business users is expected to more than double—from 34 percent to 72 percent—over the next three years bit.ly/2013CloudStudy.

IBM is taking on cloud like it did the Internet when it was introduced in the ’90s, says Ric Telford, vice president of cloud services, IBM. “We’re not focusing on this technology for technology’s sake,” he explains. “Rather, we’re very much focused on using cloud to optimize IT and then better leverage that IT for business differentiation.”

24 of the top 25 best-performing companies trust the IBM cloud

While other cloud providers are talking about speeds and feeds of products and services, IBM is talking about strategy—how cloud can help your company achieve its business goals. While many cloud providers might talk a good game, they’re lacking IBM’s unique and holistic approach, Telford explains. IBM’s capability to provide the hardware infrastructure, open software, consultancy and technology services make it a full-service cloud provider. “Who else can bring that arsenal of capabilities to help companies transform not just their data center but their business?” he asks.

Leading the Market

IBM is a market leader even as some businesses are just starting to get on board with cloud. IBM cloud powers 270,000 more websites than Amazon and hosts 30 percent more of the top websites than anyone in the world, according to data sourced from HostCabi.net at the end of October. Telford thinks these statistics might surprise people. “We feel there has been a bit of misperception in the marketplace that Amazon is the market leader in cloud, but the reality is different,” he says. “When you’re talking about a solution that can scale, be global and support a huge number of mission-critical websites for small and large businesses alike, IBM is a clear leader.”

Another fact that might surprise people, Telford says, is that 24 of the top 25 best-performing companies trust the IBM cloud (www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/us/en/why-cloud.html). “IBM has more than 100 solutions that are offered in a software as a service model, and because of that breadth of portfolio, the top companies in the Fortune 500 are IBM clients,” Telford explains.

1 + 1 = 3

One reason for this market leadership is the acquisition of SoftLayer. “SoftLayer was a cloud company before cloud was cool,” Telford says. One of SoftLayer’s strengths and an attractive quality to IBM was how its architecture could provide virtualized, pay-as-you-go infrastructure as a service (IaaS) capabilities, like Amazon does, as well as capabilities to provision and deliver bare-metal servers so customers can control them as if they were sitting in their own data centers. “SoftLayer’s capability to provide true private clouds by having very secure networking design is something that IBM felt was best in breed in the infrastructure as a service marketplace,” Telford explains.

The company has meshed perfectly into IBM, which was already envisioning a strategy with IBM SmartCloud*. The acquisition meant IBM could accelerate its roadmap and get strong SmartCloud capabilities to clients faster. “It’s really been a one-plus-one-equals-three scenario where both companies have benefitted by the union,” Telford says.

Tami Deedrick is the former managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.

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