The hybrid cloud will be the focus of this year's IBM Interconnect cloud computing conference, as the company rolls out new offerings designed to help enterprises extend their in-house operations.
"There is no one single cloud. Our clients have clouds. We have a cloud. Clients want to connect with other clouds," said Angel Diaz, IBM vice president of cloud performance. "If clients want to get the most from the cloud, they have to link to their existing investments."
The new services and software that IBM unveiled at the Interconnect conference, being held this week in Las Vegas, are designed to ease the work involved with linking the public cloud to internal operations.
The company will release software to run IBM's BlueMix platform services from within an organization's own data centers. IBM has provided a managed service for drawing data from external APIs (application programming interfaces). It has also set up a new system that will allow organizations to package their workloads in containers so they can be easily moved into the cloud.
IBM is making the hybrid approach a key element to its cloud computing strategy. Organizations worldwide will spend about $80 billion a year to build and operate hybrid systems, according to IT research firm MarketsandMarkets. About 72 percent of organizations are already pursing hybrid cloud strategies, according to Gartner.
The BlueMix Local software package will offer a subset of developer services found in IBM's BlueMix cloud platform, which provides basic software functionalities and management tools for developers building cloud applications. Organizations can build a set of services in-house with BlueMix Local, and then move them to the IBM BlueMix hosted service to run in production.
The new API service, called API Harmony, aggregates a wide range of public APIs that developers can incorporate into their own applications. It eliminates much of the drudgery of making low-level connections and handling authentication credentials, Diaz said.
The company's new Enterprise Containers service offers a full system for spinning up and managing virtual containers. Like similar services offered by Google, Microsoft and Amazon, IBM's service is based on the popular Docker open source container. IBM has provided additional security and management tools. Users can move their container based workloads between the IBM cloud and their own internal systems.
IBM's efforts in the cloud market continue to gain momentum.
One new customer of the IBM Cloud is Turner Broadcasting Systems. The Latin American division of the global cable company is using the IBM cloud to stream content, such as the Academy Awards, to its customer base of 50 million users.
The company has signed a partnership with Tech Mahindra, a large integration firm based in India, to build a BlueMix-based platform that Tech Mahindra's enterprise customers can use to run their applications.
IBM will launch two additional data centers to support its global cloud coverage, in Sydney and in Montreal.