IBM has a new service IBM Smart Business - Cloud for Development and Test that offers developers a set of pre-configured images for implementation and lifecycle management of IT solutions based on IBM stack. It looks like it went beta September 30, 2009.
This service was mentioned in an IBM press release in June, but I don’t think it got picked up by any Cloud Computing forums/SIGs. IBM itself didn’t promote it much either. In this initial release, it is free and offers a limited set of images from IBM Rational and WebSphere portfolio. It provides a nice self-provisioning control panel to manage servers:
Personally, I have been waiting for such a service from IBM for a long time, because it has been a pain uploading IBM software to build environments on other public clouds (especially those that require multiple server components).
I think IBM could/should have done this 4 years ago (when I was at IBM, I talked to several executives about it). Never-the-less, I think it will be a successful offering and IBM should see rapid adoption. I also believe that it enables an infrastructure to support complex hybrid cloud usecases especially for those set of customers that have invested in IBM infrastructure and middleware technologies. Finally, as the service matures (i.e. additional platform services and APIs), it shouldn’t be limited to just developers building apps. Customers should be able to host enterprise apps or build new apps using their cloud services…