IBM Takes Shots At Amazon Web Services In New Cloud Marketing Campaign

IBM last week ended its eight-month battle with Amazon Web Services over a big CIA cloud contract, but it's pushing ahead with a print, online and outdoor marketing campaign to show how its public cloud is a better choice for enterprises.

With its new campaign, IBM is following the lead of other enterprise cloud vendors in highlighting areas of perceived weakness in AWS.

"Whose cloud powers 270,000 more websites than Amazon? If your answer is IBM, you’re among the well informed," IBM says on a new website set up for the campaign, which launched Monday. "The fact is, the incredibly data-intensive workloads of the highest-performing companies call for something new."

[Related: Amazon Wins $600 Million CIA Cloud Deal As IBM Withdraws Protest ]

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IBM, which spent $2 billion earlier this year to acquire public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service vendor SoftLayer, says that company's dedicated "bare metal" servers help customers avoid the "disruptions" of a shared hardware environment like AWS.

IBM didn’t respond to a request for comment on the new cloud campaign.

On the website, IBM says its cloud is running 30 percent more of the world's "most highly trafficked websites" than AWS and other cloud vendors. "The busiest and most data-intensive companies know that high-traffic, high-demand solutions can cause spikes that adversely impact performance," IBM says on the website.

Amazon couldn't be reached for comment on IBM's campaign. But Amazon does sell what it calls Dedicated Instances, which are Amazon EC2 instances launched in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud that run hardware that's dedicated to an individual customer.

SoftLayer is now firmly entrenched as the centerpiece of IBM's cloud strategy. IBM is shutting down its SmartCloud Enterprise public cloud IaaS service by Jan. 31, 2014, and will move customers to SoftLayer.

One reason IBM bought SoftLayer is for its 13 global data centers, including ones in the U.S., Singapore and the Netherlands. SoftLayer's pay-as-you-go pricing and fast provisioning made it popular with small and medium businesses, and AWS also has many customers in this segment.

While IBM's software runs on the AWS cloud, customers that run it on IBM's SoftLayer cloud will have better support if problems arise, Michael Porter, principal of the portal and social practice at Perficient, a St. Louis-based IBM partner, told CRN.

With SoftLayer, IBM is now offering customers and partners a more flexible option than SmartCloud Enterprise, Porter said.

NEXT: IBM Cloud Computing Revenue Grows But Services Lags

In Gartner's annual Magic Quadrant report in August, it described SoftLayer as a "thought leader in automated, highly standardized infrastructure services" with per-instance, paid-by-the-hour pricing and automatic response to system failures.

IBM last month said cloud computing revenue grew 70 percent in its fiscal third quarter, surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time. But only $460 million of this came from cloud services, while the rest was hardware, software and services. Plus, weak hardware sales caused IBM to miss its quarterly revenue forecast by $1 billion.

Despite losing the CIA deal, IBM has had some good news on the cloud front lately. It inked a 10-year, $1 billion cloud deal with the Department of the Interior in August and landed a $30 million cloud contract with the General Services Administration last month. IBM says it's aiming for $7 billion in annual cloud revenues by 2015.

Meanwhile, in Amazon's third quarter, North America sales in its "Other" category, which is mostly AWS, grew 56 percent year-over-year to $1.01 billion.