‘There is a lot of ISV uptake on cloud’
Executive, Offerings Management and Development, Global Technology
Services, IBM India/South Asia
Can you update us on cloud adoption from an Indian context?
There are a couple of areas where I see cloud being adopted. Firstly, the service providers are jumping onto the cloud bandwagon. They are looking at offering various services on cloud. For instance, co-location providers want to get on to the cloud. I also see many managed service providers preparing to offer cloud services. Typical services include desktop being available on cloud; servers being made available as VMs; and storage services being provided on cloud.
From a consumer perspective, there is a lot of ISV uptake on cloud. ISVs are looking at leveraging cloud to get that critical reach to their customers and to make services available in a rapid and elastic model.
There are some low-hanging fruits in the area of the cloud. Most of the providers are quickly taking on Infrastructure as a Service.
How is IBM tapping this opportunity? How is it partnering with ISVs and service providers?
We are running multiple programs. For instance, we work with service providers and have a unique partnership program. We work together on their business plans, and help them in areas that are techno-commercially attractive to them.
We take a hard look at their business models and offer them a build, operate and manage cloud model.
For instance, we helped a large data center services provider in Bangalore to build the complete platform so that they can start delivering services to their customers. To begin with, they will start off with Iaas and then scale up that model to offer other services.
So we offer fairly straightforward private cloud implementations and we added the managed services
element behind it.
Then there is the IBM Developer relationship program where we encourage and support ISVs. We help them port their applications and get the application ready on IBM and non-IBM platforms. In India, we have 300 - 400 ISVs who develop programs and offer services on the IBM platform.
A number of these providers are aspiring SaaS providers. But they struggle to deliver services as it calls for huge investments in infrastructure. Then there are challenges in managing the middleware and retaining skilled employees. They also want the ablility to scale infrastructure up or down depending on the business. They have peaks and troughs, and they seek help from partners like IBM for the troughs. That’s why we created the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise offering. Here we provide IaaS, compute and storage. And we have the ability to expand with images of IBM software on it. So this is a built-to-purpose model. And ISVs are leveraging this to offer services to their end customers.
For instance, there is a SaaS provider in Gurgaon that has 50 - 60 customers. Their capability is on the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise. It offers a pay-as-you- go pricing model and enterprise grade features like VPN and private IP.
How is IBM helping user companies get on to the cloud? What is the value that it offers?
We helped a co- operative bank in Bangalore, through a partnership with an ISV called Infrasoft, which is doing a lot of work in the core banking space. We do a joint sales force exercise and pitch to banks together. We try to sell the IaaS services and the
In India, we have 300 - 400 ISVs who develop programs and offer services on the IBM platform
core banking software comes from this partner.
The customer signs up for the core banking features and functionality. And we provide a shared Infrastructure as a Service cloud offering, which is managed and hosted by us.
So, it is a good value proposition for the banks as they do not need to spend money upfront for acquiring the equipment and the licenses. They get a per branch, per month/year pricing model.
The banks can immediately have infrastructure and when they add branches, they get a predictable IT spend for each new branch that is opened.
Apart from banking, we have done a fair amount of work with HR IT providers or ISVs.
What is IBM’s data center strategy?
Our strategy is to pick up long-time contracts with data center providers and we have our equipment in a cage. We have dedicated connectivity to that data center, so we are able to manage our infrastructure from an IBM command center.
According to a study by Zinnov, the market for cloud computing services will touch USD 4.5 billion by 2015. Service providers, ISVs, vendors, and data center specialists want to tap this huge opportunity by preparing their offerings for cloud services, such as IaaS or SaaS. And IBM wants to help service providers roll out their offerings quickly and cost effectively. Services providers find the huge cost of infrastructure a stumbling block. Also, there are challenges in managing the middleware and retaining skilled employees.
Dharanibalan Gurunathan, Executive, Offerings Management and Development, Global Technology Services, IBM India/South Asia updates InformationWeek on a platform that helps ISVs get around these challenges. Some ISVs are already using this platform to deliver cloud solutions to customers in the banking and HR segments