IBM has opened a first-of-its-kind cloud computing lab in the UK, to help its business partners prepare for the coming cloud revolution.
The new facility, which is situated in the Hursley IBM Innovation Center, is accessible from any of company’s thirty-eight innovation centers across the world. It will help IBM’s business partners acquire the sales and marketing skills that are essential to take advantage of the up-and-coming technology.
“The new Cloud Computing Lab will help our partners gain the skills they need to build business applications and services for the cloud using IBM technologies,” said Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM Independent Software Vendor and developer relations.
While cloud computing services are currently estimated as a $68 billion industry this year, analysts reckon that by 2015, that will have expanded to some $150 billion.
IBM certainly sees the cloud as the future, along with 91% of 2,000 IT professionals surveyed by the company across 87 countries, who said they anticipated the cloud would overtake on-premise installations as the primary way businesses acquire IT by 2015.
According to IBM, a typical project at the lab would involve IBM helping a partner explore a wide variety of cloud computing models. Depending on their businesses, they can also learn to become cloud builders, application, technology and infrastructure providers, or cloud resellers and aggregators. The lab will also help the partners develop a go-to-market plan.
For example, Maxima, an IT business systems and managed services company and IBM business partner, recently signed an agreement with IBM to deliver business applications, hosted on IBM’s cloud, to its 1,400 mid-market customers across Europe, the US and Asia. Maxima will also market cloud services through its Maxima Reseller Portal, to allow customers and resellers to use and market business applications via the portal.
IBM partners such as Broadsoft, Corent Technology, deCarta, Jamcracker, Juniper Networks, NetApp, Openet, RightScale and Wavemaker are currently supporting the platform.
Experts based at the lab will include those from IBM’s Cast Iron development team, who will help partners connect on-premise and cloud computing environments for their clients. Cast Iron was an integration-as-a-service company that IBM acquired earlier this year.
The new lab opening follows IBM’s launch of Europe’s first cloud computing centre in Dublin, back in March 2008. More recently, IBM released a package of products and services, aimed at telecom service providers, to help them deliver cloud offerings to business customers.

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