IBM has expanded its SmartCloud services, giving customers more tools to migrate their existing processes and data on to IBM's PaaS (platform-as-a-service) offerings, or to set up their own private clouds.
A new cloud package, called IBM SmartCloud Application Services, will offer customers a platform for running enterprise applications. IBM provides the security, management and a Java-based development infrastructure. This service, which can host cross-platform applications, will be available as a beta by the end of the year.
With this PaaS, organisations can cut the work hours needed for routine management tasks, IBM said. Database management, by IBM's estimates, can be reduced from six hours per week to one hour per week. Setting up a developer environment can be shortened from weeks to hours using the service, IBM said.
IBM will also offer a version of the service, called IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+, for IBM partners to rebrand as their own offering. The company has partnered with service provider Nirvanix to provide the storage for users of this version.
A second offering, the IBM SmartCloud Foundation, will offer pre-integrated packages of hardware and software for running internal clouds. The starter kits are based on virtualised IBM System x and Power Systems hardware. Software will be provided that can deploy a system of 400 nodes or more within a matter of hours. It will also include a set of monitoring tools.
The company has also introduced a consulting service, IBM SmartCloud Ecosystem, in which IBM and partners will help small and medium-sized organisations move their assets to the cloud.
When IBM surveyed 500 company executives, it found that only 33% had run a cloud pilot programme for their organisation, although more than double plan to do so within the next year. IBM expects to have 200 million cloud customers by the end of 2012.