IBM, Oracle talk up enterprise cloud offerings

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This was a big week for enterprise cloud and sets a tone for 2013 as a year that may start to convince enterprises to shift enterprise apps to the cloud.

IBM this week expanded its infrastructure-as-a-service offering to be available from data centers around the world, including Japan, Brazil, Canada, France, and Australia, in addition to Germany and the U.S. Later this year it said it will also launch service from a data center in Spain.

Having an international presence is key for some businesses that want to avoid latency issues involved with running apps in one geographic location that need to be accessed by people around the globe.

In a press release, IBM heavily stressed its ability to run enterprise apps, like SAP. In doing so, it took some veiled digs at Amazon Web Services. “[Critical] applications require deep technical expertise, around-the-clock customer service, tight security and ongoing maintenance – features typically found in IT sourcing arrangements but not in the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of self-service clouds,” its press release reads. The “one-size-fits-all” dig is a clear reference to market leader AWS, which has a reputation for offering light handed support for enterprises, many of which are used to red carpet service from vendors.

As part of its announcement, IBM said its service for running SAP’s Business Suite and SAP BusinessObjects is now available around the world. IBM called it a full managed platform-as-a-service offering for running SAP in production.

It’s also offering a new migration service to help business migrate enterprise apps and says it aims to deliver ROI in six to 18 months.

IBM told a reporter at Datamation that it plans to spend the next year to 18 months working through the transition to using OpenStack to run its cloud services. IBM joined OpenStack early last year but hasn’t said a lot about its plans. The fact that it has rolled out its offering without OpenStack points again to the maturity problems with the operating system – users are faced with either using what’s available now and building necessary features on top or waiting to launch their services until OpenStack becomes more robust.

Oracle this week also talked up its enterprise cloud offerings. It vaguely said that it will be introducing new compute, storage and social cloud services in the first half of this year. It appears to have generally summed up recent announcements, noting that it has begun offering ERP, HR, customer service and other products in the cloud and that it has storage, messaging and compute as a service offerings in beta. Oracle also has data centers around the globe, including in Europe and Asia Pacific, to service global businesses.

Oracle also earlier this month introduced a managed private cloud offering for enterprise customers.

Some businesses have been waiting on the sidelines for traditional enterprise vendors like IBM and Oracle to get more serious about the cloud. Other vendors will also be launching this year, including Dell. While businesses should think about the pricing models from these vendors, since some may be designed to protect legacy businesses, by going with a traditional enterprise vendor they’re likely to have a better chance at working with people who understand enterprise needs.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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