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
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. Excerpts from the interview
Can you update us on cloud adoption from an Indian
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
technocommercially attractive to them. We take a hard look at their
business models and offer them a build, operate and manage cloud
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 added the managed services element behind
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 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.