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Cloud computing
has often been touted as the technology of the future. However, in Australia, where the vast majority of businesses fall into the small to medium range, the Cloud is the technology of right now.

The last thing SMEs need to worry about is capital expenditure on infrastructure for hardware and software, as well as the considerable cost of maintaining software compliance. The burgeoning market for Cloud Services has finally come into its own, with Australia leading the way in adoption.

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IBM is now offering access to its SmartCloud Enterprise+ cloud service out of a data centre in NSW, ratcheting up competition among the slew of other local cloud service providers including major players such as Fujitsu, HP, Telstra and CSC.

Although IBM has offered a local cloud solution in the past, it has been a “legacy” service, according to IBM’s cloud engagement and strategy executive Simon Kaye. That Virtual Server Services offering will still be marketed, but as a “landing platform” for companies seeking to transition to the cloud he said.

The locally hosted SCE+ service is IBM’s “First enterprise graded production system,” according to Mr Kaye. Users will be billed by the month based on consumption and can provision Wintel, Linux and Unix platforms.

In January next year Mr Kaye said that the SCE+ platform would be used to deliver SAP as a Service for Australian organisations which wanted to keep their data local. He said SAP as a service was already offered out of IBM clouds based in the UK and US.

Mr Kaye said that having a local instance of the SCE+ service had been the “missing puzzle piece to round out the portfolio.”

He said that IBM was actively working with 25 local clients although it had yet to migrate any across to the new platform. He acknowledged that the local cloud landscape was already well populated with 45 players in the market by IBM’s count, although Mr Kaye said there were only “three or four really serious ones.”

The SCE+ instance of the cloud, which is being hosted as a secure multi-tenanted cloud out of IBM’s Baulkham Hills data centre, is IBM’s seventh cloud centre, and is intended to act as an Asia Pacific hub for SCE+.

Gartner analyst Rolf Jester said that; “Clearly in the local context it gives a bit of competition. IBM is one of the leading players in the whole of the IT space – not just in services – and this says we now have a credible offering.”

He said that as an “enterprise premium product” it would complement the cloud services that had been on offer from IBM out of its Singapore data centre.

Mr Jester said that although Infrastructure as a Service was still a relatively small part of the overall market it was growing fast. This year IaaS will generate $239 million, but is growing at 53 per cent a year.

He said Gartner’s forecast was that IaaS would grow to a $1.1 billion market by 2016.

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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.

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