IBM And Microsoft Agree Cloud Business Deal

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Another day, another cloud partnership, as IBM and Microsoft prepare to port their enterprise software to their respective clouds

Microsoft and IBM have reached a deal that will see both organisations migrate their respective enterprise software onto Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.

The partnership is particularly noteworthy as the two companies have until now been cloud service rivals. However with this deal, both organisations are seeking to give their customers more choice by permitting their own technologies to appear on the other’s cloud platforms. Customers will simply bring their own software licences to the IBM and Microsoft clouds.

Cloud Deal

cloud network

IBM middleware such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ, and DB2, will be available on Microsoft Azure, with Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server being offered on IBM Cloud. Additionally, both companies plan to deliver a Microsoft .NET runtime for IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform.

IBM will also expand support of its software running on Windows Server Hyper-V in an effort to support hybrid cloud deployments, and the IBM Pure Application Service should also be made available on Azure.

“Together we are creating new opportunities to drive innovation in hybrid cloud,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior VP of IBM’s software and cloud solutions group. “This agreement reinforces IBM’s strategy in providing open cloud technology for the enterprise. Clients will now gain unprecedented access to IBM’s leading middleware and will have an even greater level of choice over the tools that they use to build and deploy their cloud environments.”

“Microsoft is committed to helping enterprise customers realise the tremendous benefits of cloud computing across their own systems, partner clouds and Microsoft Azure,” said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive VP of cloud and enterprise.

Partnership Stampede?

The cloud industry has seen several instances lately of companies agreeing strategic agreements with each other. Earlier this week for example, Microsoft announced its Cloud Platform System (CPS), which is an “Azure-in-a-box” offering that will run on customers’ premises but which is connected to Microsoft’s public Azure cloud and running Azure software.

Dell meanwhile revealed that it would shortly begin shipping Microsoft Cloud Platform System integrated hardware that enables customers to float their own clouds.

Both IBM and Microsoft until now have competed in cloud services against each other, and with the likes of Amazon, which leads the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) public cloud market, and Google, as well as vendors such as VMware, HP and Rackspace.

Microsoft has previously said that its cloud division, including cloud-hosted applications such as Office 365, has annual revenues of $4.4 billion (£2.7bn), with the company investing $4.5bn (£2.8bn) a year in capital expenditures to build up its cloud infrastructure.

IBM for its part designed its cloud to be as open as possible in an effort to avoid any “lock-in”. Earlier this month, Big Blue signed a cloud partnership deal with SAP AG. The deal will see SAP offer its Hana Enterprise Cloud on IBM’s Cloud infrastructure.

The company has also not been afraid to make partnership deals of late, signing a Cloud-based risk analysis deal with Chinese financial data firm Shanghai Wind Information in the summer as it looked to circumvent a growing government crackdown on the use of foreign hardware and software.

It also signed a wide-ranging partnership with Apple, in which IBM will bring its cloud, analytics and mobile management services to iOS, and supply customers with iPhones and iPads running industry-specific applications.

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