IBM said it will expand the number of data centres it offers clients around the world by 25 percent to meet fast-rising demand for internet-based services.
The outfit has quadrupled the number of cloud data facilities it offers around the world to 49 in the past 18 months, responding in part to laws requiring the local retention of data following revelations over US government Web surveillance as well as increased corporate compliance rules.
The company said on Wednesday it has now struck a partnership with data centre provider Equinix for nine more cloud centres in Australia, France, Japan, Singapore, The Netherlands and the United States. It is also opening up three new cloud computer facilities of its own in Germany, Mexico and Japan.
Angel Luiz Diaz, vice president in charge of IBM’s cloud computing business, told Reuters that the company had a good year which was a “breakthrough year in cloud.”
IBM’s cloud revenue amounted to $4.4 billion in 2013 and was up by 50 percent in the first nine months of this year, it reported in October, making it one of IBM’s fastest-growing businesses, although it still accounts for only a fraction of the $94 billion in total revenues which IBM is expected by analysts to generate this year.
It looks like IBM’s multi-year deals of more than $4 billion that are fuelling the company’s expansion in data centres.
IBM also said it had reached a cloud services deal with National Express Group to enable the UK-based bus and trains operator to offer commuters up-to-the-minute train schedules and what it said would be Britain’s first postcode-to-postcode journey planner.
Under the deal, IBM will release what it described as the first wave of IBM MobileFirst for the iOS operating system.
The applications also support web services and big data and analytic abilities to the iPad and iPhone. IBM said MobileFirst for iOS is aimed at enterprise sized companies in banking, retail, insurance, financial services, telecomms, governments and airlines.
Customers who have already signed up include Citi, Air Canada and Spring.
Philip Schiller, a senior VP of Apple marketing, said: “The business world has gone mobile and Apple and IBM are bringing together the.. technology with the smartest data and analytics to help businesses define how work gets done.”
The apps are intended for secure environments, linked to core enterprise processes and analytics.
Apps include Plan Flight and Passenger for airlines, Advise and Grow for the banking sector; Retention for insurance companies; Incident Aware for law enforcement; Sales Assist for Retail and Expert Tech for the telecomms market.
And IBM said 60 percent of enterprises believe they are being outgunned in the cyber war.
Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) think that sophisticated external threats is their biggest challenge – with 40 percent believing that they top other challenges they face.
Data leakage prevention, cloud security and mobile security are the top three areas that CISOs believe are the areas that need addressing urgently.
Of the respondents surveyed by IBM, 90 percent have either adopted or will adopt cloud initiatives and they expect their cloud security budgets to increase over the next five years.
Only 45 percent of the CISOs think that mobile and device security is being adequately addressed.
With revenues of $8.8 billion, up 5.1 percent from the same period last year, 25 exabytes shipped in the quarter, said IDC. Capacity shipments soared by 42 percent during the quarter, compared to Q3 2013.
IDC said sub $100K external array revenues grew by over six percent during the quarter, but shipments ODMs (original design manufacturers) directly to hyperscale datacentres showed positive growth.
EMC remains at the top spot for the quarter, followed by HP, Dell, IBM and Netapp.
ODM direct sales accounted for 24 percent of the market however, outstripping the traditional vendors. And this trend is continuing, as we’ve reported previously, with ODMs also shipping more and more servers directly and bypassing the brand names,
Those were figures from Gartner. But data from its deadly rival IDC indicate that things were less gloomy for server vendors in the third quarter of this year.
IDC said vendor revenues worldwide rose by 4.8 percent, year on year, to represent revenues of $12.7 billion.
This, said IDC, is the second quarter in a row that the server market has shown a year on year increase in revenue terms.
And shipments in the quarter improved 5.7 percent year on year, representing 2.38 million units. This is largely down to increased spending on hyperscale datacentres. IDC believes it is seeing signs of companies refreshing their servers, which is good news for 2015 too.
There is a difference depending on the type of server. Volume systems showed 8.8 percent revenue growth, midrange systems showed an 18.4 percent growth year on year. But high end enterprise systems plummeted by –23.2 percent, year on year.
IDC figures show HP is n number one place, followed by IBM, Dell, Cisco and Oracle. The “ODM Direct” category is interesting because these are largely Taiwanese companies producing unbranded boxes for multinationals – with prices to match. This chart shows the changes.
Like Gartner, IDC saw a recline in non X86 servers – the thirteenth consecutive quarter of revenue decline. IBM is in pole position here, with a share of 60.8 percent share. Blade servers accounted for 18 percent of total server revenues in the quarter.
Gartner said that growth seen in the second quarter of this year was “a short lived phenomenon and marginal revenue growth…highlights the fragility of demand”.
But despite this, revenues grew for the third consecutive quarter following 10 previous quarters where revenues declined.
HP managed to grow its revenue lead in the regions with 6.4 percent growth, although shipments declined by 8.2 percent. The growth was largely accounted for by demand for rack optimised and blade system.
Dell managed to displace IBM as second in place in terms of both revenues and shipments. It managed to grow nine percent in revenues and 3.4 percent in shipments. IBM, of course, is ridding itself of its X86 business to Lenovo, while its RISC shipments were hit by a fall in demand for Unix systems. Its lucrative mainframe business is in stasis as Big Blue readies new launches.
Gartner thinks one of the problems is that IT departments in enterprises are struggling because there are datacentre modernisation initiatives which means they are taking their eyes off the ball in the traditional server marketplace.
If RISC, the Intel Itanium and Unix revenues are counted as one, they fell in the quarter by 13.2 percent.
And now James Lovell, European retail guru, has got his analytics engines to work and notices that although sales fell compared to last year, the percentage of sales made on mobiles rose by around a third.
He said mobile phone usage as a percentage of overall sales rose by 42.88 percent, and tablets used to buy stuff rose by 12 percent.
The average order value on “Black Friday” was £88.86 percent, and mobile traffic represented 59.8 percent of all online traffic in the UK.
Contrasting different mobile operating systems, Lovell said Android OS sessions as a percentage of overall “Cyber Monday” sales grew by 55 percent, but only represented 11 percent of the overall sales spend.
But the desktop is not dead – over half of all online sales were made by people tip tapping into whatever flavour of Windows they’re being forced to use.
Amro thinks that the men in suits are exactly the sorts of types it wants running its cloud operations. However it is a case of “better the devil you know”. IBM has been running Amro’s computer services for a while now.
Under the first €1.5bn deal in 2005, 1,500 people in IT lost their jobs when the bank outsourced most of its IT to the global outsourcing arm of IBM.
At the time, IBM took over the management of the datacentres for the bank’s commercial and consumer clients, private clients, asset management, and new growth markets.
IBM has had some difficulty attracting much interest in its internet-delivered services, as it seems a bit outclassed by the likes of Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon.
IBM will provide fully managed services for mainframe computers, servers, storage and end-user computing as well as a help desk and other technical support. IBM did not disclose financial details of the deal.
Actually it has been a good few weeks for IBM. It recently won a 7-year outsourcing contract from Germany’s Lufthansa worth $1.25 billion that will see the U.S. company take over the airline’s information technology infrastructure services division and staff.
That’s according to a report by market intelligence firm IDC, which said during the first half of this year, the market grew by 10.7 percent, compared to the first half of 2013.
IDC thinks the market will continue to grow in the next five years with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 percent.
Areas of growth include mobile application development and device management, security software, systems software and engineering applications.
Shweta Baidya, a senior market analyst at IDC, said that large and small to medium enterprises want to curb capital expenditure and move into the cloud.
Virtualisation and cloud players like Vmware, Salesforce and Red Hat generated good business, and database and analytics companies including Teradata, Oracle, Qlik and others saw double digit growth.
IDC provided a pie chart which shows market share in the region.
The company said it has added a number of pieces to its Mobility Services jigsaw.
That includes “desktop as a service” (DaaS) intended to let companies implement desktop features on mobile devices using a subscription service offered using the IBM Cloud.
IBM, using research figures from Juniper, estimates that one billion smartphones and tablets owned by workers will be use in enterprises by 2018.
That gives IBM the chance to sell enterprises services that include integration, support, maintenance, security and compliance.
Big Blue claims that will give enterprises the ability to deliver applications to hosts of mobile devices in hours rather than months.
IBM is also offering what it describes as the “trifecta” of mobile, cloud and analytics services. Trifecta usually means a type of bet on horse races – usually called a triple – which we’re not sure IBM wants to mean by this word.
The DaaS offering uses the Citrix Worspace Suite via cloud infrastructure from its subsidiary, Softlayer. IBM explains that, for example, this would let a saleswoman or man to click an icon on a tablet and turn it into a personal work desktop with access to large sales presentations and the like.
The recipe is called Bluemix which although it sounds as it might be a kind of cement, is actually IBM’s platform as a service (PaaS).
Bluemix is intended to help build applications to use the benefits of cloud computing without stumbling into the quagmires of compliance, regulation and performance that are the baggage of public clouds.
It has introduced a private application programming interface (API) as part of Bluemix and that lets developers build cloud which connect data from legacy back end systems and link them to mobile and social networking applications.
Bluemix gives access to a cloud hosted in an IBM cloud centre, more or less anywhere across the world. Developers will be able to use services from IBM’s Bluemix catalogue including Watson APIs for data analutics and its Aspera data integration tools.
Customers will have the choice of using an IBM data centre in their own country, to avoid regulatory problems companies might face as well as giving better performance because public clouds have so-called “noisy neighbours”.
Robert Freeman, manager of IBM X-Force, said that it told Microsoft about the bug in May this year and at last Microsoft is fixing it.
The bug can be used by crooks in so called “drive by” attacks to run code remotely and take over peoples’ PCs.
Freeman said that there may well be other bugs that go back decades. “This vulnerability has been sittting in plain sight for a long time despite many other bugs being discovered and patched in the same Windows library,” he said.
He said that although his unit hadn’t found any evidence that the bug had been exploited, it “would have fetched six figures on the grey market”.
You can find more of IBM’s findings at Freeman’s blog, here.
IBM and Nvidia will work in collaboration with the Jülich Supercomputing Centre – a German institute for supercomputer simulation – to push the creation and optimisation of research apps on GPUs (graphics processing units) accelerated OpenPower systems.
A new centre will be opened to develop the high performance computing (HPC) space combining researchers from Nvidia and IBM and using the Jülich centre.
There are currently 70 members of the OpenPOWER Foundation formed late last year looking at new ways to develop supercomputers.
Stefan Kraemer, director of HPC business development at Nvidia said: “By providing systems combining IBM Power CPUs and Nvidia’s Tesla GPU accelrators via the NVlink high speed interconnect technology, we can help the new centre address both areas, and enable scientists to achieve new milestones in their research.”
IBM and Jülich have worked together since 2011 to create exascale architectures, and Nvidia has worked with Jülich since 2012.
The aim of both Nvidia and IBM is to create systems that will tackle the challenges of big data.
King of consumer toys, Apple is attempting its biggest push into the consumer market, according to Reuters.
Reuters claims that Apple is hiring a dedicated sales force just to talk with potential clients like Citigroup.
This is on top of its partnership with IBM to develop apps for corporate clients and sell them on devices, the iPhone maker plans to challenge sector leaders HP, Dell, Oracle and SAP.
Of course no one is saying much in the way of details, Reuters seems to think that the deal with Big Blue will mean that Apple will be welcomed into the corporate world and give HP and Dell a kicking. This will result in the collapse of Microsoft, Samsung and Google’s own efforts in mobile work applications.
Apparently Job’s Mob is working closely with a group of startups, including ServiceMax and PlanGrid, that already specialise in selling apps to corporate America. Apple is already in talks with other mobile enterprise developers to bring them into a more formal partnership.
For example, PlanGrid is a mobile app for construction workers to share and view blueprints. ServiceMax is a mobile app that makes it easy for companies to manage fleets of field service technicians by ensuring they have access to the right information.
ServiceMax, whose existing customers include Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and DuPont, has co-hosted eight dinners with Apple over the past year in locations across the United States. About 25 or 30 chief information officers and “chief service officers” typically show up at these joint marketing and sales events.
But there are huge problems with Reuter’s desire to see Apple in charge of the world. The most obvious is that Apple makes toys it does not make corporate devices. Corporates are obsessed with security, Apple’s iCloud can’t even protect b list celebs from having their naked pictures being hacked.
Tablets were an Apple inspired Fad and any belief that corporates will rush to buy them never really happened. If they are ever adopted by corporates, they will be a low-level function which will require something a lot cheaper than Jobs’ Mob wants to support. Apple really needed BYOD to take off, which it didn’t.
Apple’s success has been due to its cult following, but religion does not work very well when it comes to business. Apple lacks functionality with business systems, corporates also take a dim view of the sort of things that Apple user agreements desire from their followers. Apple is also slow to confirm security flaws, and even slower to fix them. Its insistence on its own security, rather than that of the client also does not sit well with big business.
In short, to get business customers, Apple needs to change its mentality – something historically it has been unable to do. It not only has to deal with the experts in business, such as Microsoft, HP, Dell and SAP, its traditional rivals, such as Samsung are also harbour similar ambitions.
Samsung has confirmed that it is stepping up its efforts to sell devices to large enterprise clients and hired former chief information officer Robin Bienfait to spearhead that effort. It might hit the same experience problems that Apple has, and there is no reason to suspect it will be any more successful.
Apple’s IBM partnership might not be that key to the corporations either. It relies on IBM’s sales team selling Apple projects. IBM has as much experience selling consumer products as Apple has selling into business. Jobs’ Mob also has no clue about business software, which is the key to getting into the business market — for decades its networking technology has been the weak point of the few Apple installations in corporates.
Apple appears to hope that if it can hook the client on the software and content, they will keep them coming back for the hardware. However, that simply does not work in the corporates. Hell, Microsoft was unable to get corporates to upgrade to Windows 7 because they could not see a need. What chance does Apple’s business model have against that attitude?