IBM Aims To Ease Partners' Move To The Cloud

IBM this week launched its Cloud Computing Lab, a platform on which technology and channel partners can test different models for developing cloud computing products and explore potential technical and sales strategies.

The new Cloud Computing Lab, based in Hursley, U.K., gives partners access to the IBM Test Cloud from any of IBM's 38 Innovation Centers worldwide, said Dave Mitchell, director of strategy and emerging business for IBM.

IBM also has the business and technology tools to let partners access the IBM Test Cloud from other remote locations, although Mitchell said partners have expressed interest in working at IBM's facilities. "We're hearing from a lot of our partners that they want to come into our Innovation Centers and physically work from there," he said.

With the new Cloud Computing Lab, partners can access IBM's cloud technologies to develop and test new cloud services, Mitchell said. Partners can also work face-to-face in their local Innovation Centers with IBM personnel who can work with them to develop go-to-market plans, he said.

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IBM in May gained expertise in integrating on-premise and cloud computing environments with the acquisition of Cast Iron, a developer of cloud application integration services.

Next: One Cloud Lab For Many Cloud Partner Types

IBM is working with a range of partners to help customers move to the cloud, including partners who build private clouds for clients, build public clouds, develop applications for clouds, resell cloud services, extend cloud functionality, and aggregate multiple clouds, he said.

"We want to work with all these types of partners to develop their cloud offerings," he said. "Some will work with the IBM cloud, and some will build their own clouds. Partners can come in, understand their model, explore their models further, and go away with a solution."

Use of the new Cloud Computing Lab, which is already open, is free of charge to IBM partners, Mitchell said.

The Cloud Computing Lab follows the introduction earlier this month of a new cloud computing platform for telcos, ISPs and communications service providers called the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform. IBM is currently in the process of rolling out this platform to its partner base.