IBM and VMware announce strategic partnership

IBM continues its assault on hybrid cloud by extending its partnership with VMware

Big Blue has announced a ‘strategic partnership’ with VMware, designed to help customers bridge the gap between the data centre and the cloud.

The announcement, made at IBM's InterConnect Conference in Las Vegas this week, will enable businesses to automatically provision VMware SDDC environments on the IBM Cloud. The net result? Customers can deploy workloads in a hybrid cloud environment without the need for modification, thus overcoming one of the most significant barriers to entry for enterprises looking to migrate to off-premise infrastructure.

“Customers will be able to leverage VMware’s proven technologies with IBM’s growing footprint of 45 Cloud Data Centres worldwide, helping companies scale globally while avoiding retooling expenses, development risks and reducing security concerns,” the two companies said in a statement.

The respective powerhouses pointed out that nearly all of the Fortune 100 utilised VMware technologies. By providing a seamless halfway house, between SDDC and cloud, the partnership will allow customers to extend the value of existing investments, while taking advantage of the benefits that cloud has to offer.

"This partnership, an extension of our 14-year plus relationship with IBM, demonstrates a shared vision that will help enterprise customers more quickly and easily embrace the hybrid cloud," said Pat Gelsinger, CEO at VMware.  "Our customers will be able to efficiently and securely deploy their proven software-defined solutions with sophisticated workload automation to take advantage of the flexibility and cost effectiveness of IBM Cloud."

The two firms said that they will also collaborate on a range of new offerings for hybrid cloud deployments, including disaster recovery, capacity expansion and data centre consolidation.

Customers will be able to leverage VMware's proven technologies with IBM's growing footprint of 45 Cloud Data Centres worldwide, helping companies scale globally while avoiding retooling expenses, development risks and reducing security concerns.

"We are reaching a tipping point for cloud as the platform on which the vast majority of business will happen," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud.  "The strategic partnership between IBM and VMware will enable clients to easily embrace the cloud while preserving their existing investments and creating new business opportunities."

Big Blue also announced a partnership with GitHub. The plan is to deliver an enterprise version of the platform as a dedicated service on IBM’s Cloud Platform. Used by more than 12 million developers, GitHub is the darling of the collaborative software development community,

"Offering the first GitHub Enterprise service in a dedicated and local environment on IBM’s Cloud will fuel the rapidly growing population of enterprise developers as they build next generation cloud apps collaboratively and securely," said Bill Karpovich, general manager, IBM Cloud Platform. "They'll gain the benefits of an open platform, as well as the security of a private infrastructure for managing their development process."

Many commentators are dismissing IBM as a distant fourth in the cloud war, behind AWS, Microsoft and Google; but IBM and its partners are attempting to reframe the debate around value, rather that size or price. Big Blue firmly believes that hybrid is what enterprises are really looking for, and that IBM is ideally positioned to deliver. The firm also has a significant ace in the hole in the form of Watson, allowing developers to build cognitive computing and analytics features into their applications using language, vision, speech and data APIs.

These unique selling points seem to be resonating with customers. In its most recent earnings report (Q3), IBM revealed that cloud revenue over the previous 12 months stood at $9.4bn, while analytics was up nearly 20% over the same period.

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