Security and lack of an acceptable SLA are customers' top adoption fears to move to cloud computing. IBM's recent announcements to further advance their cloud computing initiative known as Blue Cloud should help alleviate these fears to some extent. IBM announced their partnership with Juniper for their hybrid cloud initiative to provide secured private cloud with better SLA. IBM also announced new offerings for the cloud - Tivoli storage as service and a new set of cloud management tools to align with what a typical CIO would look for when migrating to the cloud. In addition IBM is pushing some of their existing offerings on the cloud that customers can now use off Amazon's EC2 on pay-as-you-go subscription model.
IBM has been experimenting with the concept of a private cloud for a while. One of such experiments included creating a private virtual cloud inside the firewall to deploy some of the regions of SecondLife with seamless navigation in and out of the firewall. The partnership with Juniper to leverage its EX series MPLS switch would allow IBM to have better QoS from Layer 2 to Layer 4. In simpler words, MPLS switch would allow the network operators to have much better control over what kind of data can be routed across what paths across private and public clouds based on dynamic network conditions such as congestion, failure etc. ensuring predictable SLA. This should alleviate some of the security concerns of the customers who want to stay on a private cloud and want a better SLA. IBM is in great position to offer tiered SLA due to the hybrid nature of their cloud deployment.
So, what about Juniper?
Juniper has been competing with Cisco since its inception and has lately struggled to differentiate. Last year Juniper made a splash by announcing a data center infrastructure solution with the EX series switches and the SRX dynamic appliance. Juniper's partnership with IBM is an introduction of a networking player into the cloud computing game that will give Cisco and others run for their money. Cisco's Nexus switch and the data center offering, HP's networking switch Pro Curve, and now Juniper's partnership with IBM are signs of vendors looking for adjacent market potential essentially blurring the boundaries
between data center infrastructure, networking hardware, and traditional storage. The vendors are eager to ensure their presence in the evolving "cloudware" category by leveraging existing investment and customer-base with partnership opportunities.