Saying businesses are ready to move from experimenting with cloud computing to full-scale production, IBM Thursday unveiled what it calls IBM SmartCloud, a new cloud service delivery platform of hardware, software and services for deploying private, public and hybrid cloud systems.
The SmartCloud platform is likely to bring IBM into more direct competition with Rackspace, Amazon Web Services and other cloud computing service providers.
The new offering will provide a single platform that customers can provision with middleware and applications for running workloads in the cloud across multiple systems or hypervisors, IBM said.
IBM has offered a cloud-based commercial software development and test service for partners and customers since March 2010. But the new SmartCloud Enterprise and Enterprise + offerings pull all of IBM's cloud service offerings under one umbrella and make it available for customers who are ready to move their production IT systems to the cloud.
"We think we're at an inflection point," said Mike Hill, IBM vice president of strategic initiatives, speaking in an interview about customers' readiness to move to full-scale cloud deployments. "We're telling the world we're ready for production."
IBM unveiled SmartCloud at an event in San Francisco Thursday hosted by Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM software & systems.
IBM has set itself the goal of generating $7 billion in cloud computing-related sales by 2015. Hill said $3 billion of that would be incremental sales growth in new areas such as "smarter commerce." Market researcher IDC has forecast that worldwide spending on cloud computing hardware and software will reach $45 billion by 2013.
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