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IBM’s SmartCloud Enterprise Fiasco

Posted by Jason Bloomberg on Nov 12, 2013

The burgeoning Cloud marketplace generates so much noise and smoke that it’s unusual a significant event doesn’t create a hullabaloo. But that’s just what happened when IBM abruptly announced the shuttering of SmartCloud Enterprise. Why aren’t customers up in arms? Where’s the consternation? Why aren’t pundits forecasting an Armageddon?

Clearly, the lack of noise from SmartCloud Enterprise customers has some significance. Precisely what that significance is, however, is open to guesswork.

The party line from IBM is that they’re migrating SmartCloud customers to SoftLayer. They’ll even help with the migrations. So, are SmartCloud customers OK with that?



Perhaps, but workload migration is easier said than done. Sure, if your workloads are simple storage instances or lightweight Web sites, then migration is a  breeze. But what about distributed Cloud-based apps running on multiple instances? Or what about complex hybrid apps with many integrations between Cloud-based and on-premise systems? Such migrations can be complicated and difficult.

However, nary a peep from customers with such problems. My guess? Because IBM didn’t have any such customers. In fact, it’s not clear that SmartCloud Enterprise was really a Cloud at all.

After all, IBM lost an enormous private cloud buildout deal for the CIA to Amazon. No amount of protesting could convince the government they had made an improper decision. Why? Because the technology in the IBM proposal didn’t offer autoscaling that met the CIA’s requirements. No autoscaling, no elasticity. No elasticity, no Cloud. Cloudwashing at its finest.

Not that IBM’s move is not without its own irony. It was only a few weeks ago that the punditocracy dinged Google for not “futureproofing” their Cloud offerings sufficiently to assuage enterprise concerns. And now here’s IBM, the enterprise’s vendor of choice, proving they're only too happy to flush enterprise customers down the toilet if it suits them.

Assuming SmartCloud Enterprise had any enterprise customers, that is.


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