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Craig Sowell, Vice President, IBM SmartCloud

Craig Sowell, Vice President, IBM SmartCloud

By Craig Sowell

With all the hype around cloud computing you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s reached saturation. The truth is, for enterprises, it’s just beginning to take hold.

Industry watchers tell us that public cloud services will reach $131 billion in 2013. By comparison, this year enterprise IT spending will reach $3.7 trillion. In other words, we’ve barely scratched the surface.

On Tuesday, IBM, already one of the world’s largest cloud computing vendors, announced an agreement to acquire SoftLayer, the world’s largest privately held cloud infrastructure provider.

The acquisition is intended to speed IBM’s ongoing focus the Fortune 500, which have yet to capitalize on cloud computing, as well as expand our reach to new clients including born-on-the-web companies.

One of the top reasons IBM chose SoftLayer is that it will marry the security, privacy and reliability of private clouds with the economy and speed of a public cloud.

What Fortune 500 companies need is an easy “on ramp” to the cloud coupled with the choice and control they desire. They want to build, access and integrate cloud across public, private and hybrid, fully realizing the full scale, security and flexibility of a cloud infrastructure.  This allows for the true reinvention of business as cloud becomes a platform for innovation and growth.

This reflects our philosophy. Today’s public, private and hybrid cloud platforms aren’t just changing computing models, they’re changing business models.

The SoftLayer news maps to IBM’s larger Smarter Planet strategy of transformation and a shift to higher value.

With a strong cloud infrastructure from SoftLayer under our belt, we can focus on delivering to clients the business transformation. As such, the acquisition is a milestone not only for IBM, but for the industry, in changing the cloud discussion from one of reducing “IT cost” to impacting the business.

For example, a produce company in Zurich called Blattwerk, recently decided to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables directly to its customers with a fleet of food trucks. To do that, it needed to monitor its food’s freshness and distribution by linking its mobile point-of-sale scanners with its supply chain. Building this complex system in the cloud helped the company get its trucks to customers just three months after it hatched the idea.

As organizations recognize the potential for business transformation with cloud computing – and see that their security and privacy concerns have been addressed – we’ll see a major turning point and a new day will dawn for cloud.

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