IBM has taken the wraps off a set of cloud offerings targeted at enterprise customers announcing its ambition to support 200m users by the end of next year as it encourages a shift to hosted services.
Big Blue's SmartCloud, a software and services suite, has been launched today with an Ecosystem established alongside to give resellers and developers the opportunity to help SMEs make the cloud transition.
The idea of offering a public cloud to business customers as a platform as a service package is one that IBM argues, based on its own extensive research, is attractive to customers that are looking to make the transition to the hosted model in the next couple of years.
According to a Big Blue survey only 33% of businesses it asked had deployed a cloud pilot and that is expected to double in the next three years.
"Enterprise clients are much more conservative because their revenue, reputation and supply chain are closely related to the performance and security of their infrastructure," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president at IBM.
The Ecosystem that has been set up to encourage developers to write applications and for resellers to share best practice is aimed at helping partners sell private clouds fairly easily into the SME community.
Simon Baker, North East European software group leader for cloud at IBM, said that it had been banging the drum over cloud for a while and had announced in April its cloud specialism for resellers.
"We are not looking at out partners in the traditional sense but saying to partners how do you see your role changing in this environment? How do you see your role in cloud emerging?" he said.
He said that the response had defined the different kinds of partners including cloud builder, infrastructure provider, application provider and services solution resellers.