IBM joins cloud services in online portal

IBM to sell 100-plus IBM hosted apps, third-party apps, Bluemix middleware tools and access to SoftLayer

IBM has assembled a vast array of hosted cloud services, and now it has somewhere to show them off.

On its IBM Cloud online marketplace that goes live on Monday, enterprises can find the full range of IBM's offerings behind a single gateway.

"So many of our customers want to build new cloud-based, front-end systems, but they want to tie them into their back-end infrastructure. We're delivering a whole set of integration components and control services to do the connection, and monitor and control what is taking place," said Steve Mills, IBM senior vice president and group executive for software and systems.

The marketplace has more than 100 hosted IBM applications, as well as middleware components from IBM's Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS). It also serves as a portal to IBM's SoftLayer infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and houses a collection of services from IBM partners.

"It's an open platform. It supports all the popular application development tools and structures. So it's not uniquely IBM. There's a lot of open source and partners," Mills said. In addition to IBM's own offerings, other services will be offered on the site by SendGrid, Zend, Redis Labs and other IBM partners.

IBM is banking heavily on the cloud. The company's revenue has been declining lately, due in part to sagging hardware sales. The cloud is likely to be a good place to look for more money: Gartner expects 80 percent of organizations to use cloud services in some form by the end of 2014.

Although IBM got a late start in the cloud, at least compared with rivals Amazon and Microsoft, it's aggressively repositioning itself as a one-stop cloud services company. It generated $4.4 billion in cloud-related revenue in 2013 and has made a number of additional investments in the area as well.

In January, the company announced it would invest $1.2 billion into expanding its SoftLayer cloud service, which it acquired last year for $2 billion.

It is also investing $1 billion in the effort to adapt its middleware software as cloud services, part of the Bluemix offering.

The new online marketplace ties together a number of these initiatives from IBM within a single portal. It can be accessed from desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and it can customize the service offerings based on the user's needs.

For the site, IBM focused on three distinct groups of users: line of business (LoB) managers, developers and IT administrators.

LoB managers will have more than 100 SaaS choices from different domains of expertise, including marketing, procurement, customer service, finance and legal.

For developers, IBM will offer a cloud-based development environment, one that incorporates third-party development tools and supporting middleware services from Bluemix. "It's a devops environment, so you can develop and deploy very rapidly," Mills said.

For IT managers, IBM will offer IaaS virtual machines that can be easily copied between IBM's cloud and an organization's private cloud. It will also offer a number of new services around big data, disaster recovery and managed security.

IBM announced the marketplace at the company's Impact user conference, being held this week in Las Vegas.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

This story, "IBM joins cloud services in online portal" was originally published by IDG News Service .

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