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IBM's Cloud Billows

It’s to beta later this quarter with what IBM calls “business-centric” SLAs

IBM wants 200 million users on its cloud widgetry by the end of next year. It has to get to them before Oracle, HP or Dell do. It projects $7 billion in revenue from cloud computing hardware, software and services by 2015.

To advance its ambition it's unveiled a new "simplified" enterprise-grade public cloud PaaS it calls SmartCloud Application Services (SCAS) that will ride on its SmartCloud Enterprise and Enterprise+ IaaS, which won't be deployed globally until the end of next year. Initially it'll be US-only.

SCAS is supposed to be safe enough for new and traditional mission-critical enterprise applications development and deployment. IBM promises cloud-based economics along with enterprise-grade security and governance, open Java and "cross-platform support with no vendor lock-in."

It's to beta later this quarter with what IBM calls "business-centric" SLAs. What they are exactly isn't clear.

Among Blue's offerings is a new SmartCloud for SAP Applications service for automating the most common labor-intensive tasks associated with managing SAP environments in the cloud. The widgetry will put all databases on the cloud IBM said.

IBM's also got software called SmartCloud Foundation that will let users deploy a private cloud inside their own firewalls. IBM wants to make the process easy for SME beginners so it's developed a self-service pre-packaged cloud starter kit called SmartCloud Entry with simplified cloud administration and standardized virtual machines. As one might expect it's supposed to be optimized for IBM Power and System x hardware.

Somewhere in this potpourri is IBM's Cast Iron acquisition which should connect private clouds and public clouds.

In addition, IBM's got a provisioning engine called logically enough SmartCloud Provisioning that's supposed to be able to spin out 4,000 virtual machines in less than an hour and some cloud-based monitoring software.

That leaves the SmartCloud Ecosystem. IBM can't make its numbers without rallying its resellers, ISVs and SPs to penetrate SMBs with both private and public clouds that can carry white labels.

SugarCRM is provocatively chucking in its cloud-ified open source applications to move things along. It will give users access to sales reports and data, as well as analytical tools to evaluate sales performance.

What any of this will cost is still a mystery. Early customers for IBM's cloud platform include Kaiser, ING, Citi and Lockheed Martin.

IBM says the cloud is still a nascent technology. It took a survey and found only 33% had nothing more going than a cloud pilot, but figures the number will more then double in the next three years. It figures customers see the cloud's value proposition they just need someone patting their hand. It could be worth $150 billion soon.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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