IBM fizzles with virtual servers: analysts

Summary:IBM's launch of its new home-grown Virtual Server Services today has failed to impress, with analysts saying that it slides into an already developed market of virtual server offerings.

IBM's launch of its new home-grown Virtual Server Services today has failed to impress, with analysts saying that it slides into an already developed market of virtual server offerings.

The three-tiered offering sees IBM host virtual servers running Windows or Linux on VMware vSphere priced on a pay-per-month-per-machine basis.

IBM is guaranteeing 99.95 per cent up-time with the new products, to be based in its Queensland datacentre environment and supported by its on-shore help desk in Ballarat, Victoria.

Sean Sullivan, IBM Australia and New Zealand's offering executive, said that the new offering from IBM would save businesses cash to spend on other projects.

"With Virtual Server Services, organisations can access computing capacity as they need it, to meet varying processing demands … At the same time, they can liberate capital from IT infrastructure to spend on core business initiatives," he said.

However, IBRS analyst Dr Kevin McIsaac told ZDNet Australia today that the IBM offering is no game changer, adding that mid-level offerings from some telcos are already six months ahead.

"The idea is fine and I see no problems here, but we've got three or four other vendors [ahead of IBM]," said McIsaac.

"There are other players who are six months ahead like Optus and Telstra's offerings, Melbourne IT [and] Fujitsu, there's a bunch of folks doing it," he added.

Longhaus research director Scott Stewart today told ZDNet Australia that IBM's entry into the virtual server market brings with it a level of safety and familiarity for chief information officers.

"It brings back the age-old adage of nobody got fired for buying IBM," he said, adding that IBM's decision to store data in-country is likely to pull customers away from the big four based overseas.

"It's the first signal that IBM has potentially recognised the importance of in-country [services] … it will hurt the adoption of big cloud platforms like Azure, Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com who are all offshore," Stewart said.

Longhaus recently stacked up local cloud providers, rating several local, mid-level players within the top five including MelbourneIT, Ultra Serve and Cloud Central. IBRS' Kevin McIsaac said that IBM's entry into the market is unlikely to have a big impact on the mid-market's share.

"I think there's going to be a role for mid-level players. They will attract a price sensitive audience as I imagine IBM will be more expensive. Those folks who are more focused on availability or more sensitive to lower risk might be more inclined to go to IBM than someone else," he said.

IBM's Virtual Server Services has gone live today, with Big Blue expecting to launch additional development and sandbox testing tools later on in the year.

Topics: Cloud, IBM, Virtualization

About

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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