IBM Gathering Steam on Cloud Initiative

Quentin Hardy writes in the New York Times that the usual four heavyweight tech suspects are making solid investments in cloud infrastructure, namely IBM, Microsoft, Amazon and Google.cloud_computing_pic_02

And despite the huge dollar amounts being bandied about , it’s IBM with whom he’s seemingly most interested due to the fact that in 2014, the company will apparently make a series of announcements that will seriously worry all challengers. That is according to Lance Crosby, chief executive of SoftLayer, a cloud computing company that IBM purchased earlier this year for $2 billion.

Crosby claims that more than 100 products, like e-commerce and marketing tools, will be put inside the cloud as a comprehensive series of offerings for business. So will another 40 infrastructure services, like big data analysis and mobile applications development, propelling IBM to the forefront of cloud infrastructure and technology.

And although Hardy mentions that Big Blue is arguably a laggard in various areas, he also makes mention of the fact that the company has a lot of money and technical resources to throw at the areas in which it lacks development and expertise.cloud_computing_pic_01

Hardy’s piece coincides with another released in other media earlier this week, revealing how cloud computing has ‘taken off’ amongst Chinese SMEs. For those questioning the rush by tech companies such as the four listed above to develop their cloud infrastructure & services, this should serve as just one powerful indicator why.

According to the South China Morning Post, the mainland SME cloud services market will reach 16.7 billion yuan this year, representing a 54 per cent increase from 10.8 billion yuan in 2012. It could increase to 33.6 billion yuan in 2016, according to research released last week by Parallels, a hosting and cloud services enablement provider.

The potential for cloud computing services is huge, according to Parallels. Just five percent of Chinese SMEs now use hosted servers, a small share that is growing fast and rose by 31 per cent last year.

Of the 16.7 billion yuan SME cloud spending on the mainland this year, Parallels estimates that applications account for the largest share, at 7.1 billion yuan, and infrastructure service products contribute 5.9 billion yuan.

It’s clear then that there is much to play for in the ‘cloud wars’. Companies that can bring some sort of distinguishable competitive advantage to the burgeoning consumer market stand to gain hugely financially in an increasingly crowded marketplace. You know what they say…if you can’t stand the heat…