On Monday, IBM revealed details of a new product called the IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator that allows users to: (1) deploy a private cloud based on OpenStack; and (2) configure and deploy resources within a private or hybrid cloud environment by using a graphical interface that absolves users of the need to develop and manage complex interfaces between systems. The SmartCloud Orchestrator allows users to select compute, storage and networking resources and combine them into an integrated hybrid cloud environment. The orchestrator simplifies and automates deployment and additionally streamlines application ifecycle management and integrations with 3rd party tools. The product is designed to reduce enterprise costs associated with the creation of cloud ecosystems as well as enhance the end user experience of a cloud-based IT infrastructure.
Meanwhile, IBM also announced its intent to base all of its cloud software and services on open source software frameworks. Big Blue’s decision to opt for open-source cloud infrastructures derives from its conviction that companies should not be locked into proprietary technology islands that constrain future decisions and growth paths. The release of SmartCloud Orchestrator and IBM’s concomitant backing of open source cloud technologies represents a huge coup for OpenStack even though IBM is already a Platinum Member of the OpenStack Foundation. On Monday, IBM also revealed plans to drive the development and adoption of cloud standards for open source cloud computing to ensure, for example, the realization of cloud inter-operability.
As IBM’s commitment to OpenStack deepens, any standards it promotes will be friendly to the OpenStack Foundation and the OpenStack community at large. At present, it remains unclear how and to what extent IBM will incorporate OpenStack into its base SmartCloud IaaS platform that predates SmartCloud Orchestrator. What we do know, however, is that IBM’s announcement regarding SmartCloud Orchestrator will accelerate OpenStack’s adoption in enterprise environments. In the meantime, IBM’s ability to drive the development of open source cloud standards is likely to weigh heavily in OpenStack’s favor as the battle for IaaS market share shifts from a three horse race between Amazon Web Services (AWS), OpenStack and CloudStack, to a two player game between AWS and the community of emerging OpenStack distributions and the enterprise heavyweights that support the latter’s underlying technology.