Yesterday, IBM and Microsoft jointly announced a partnership deal in Cloud. This deal is mainly about having key software components integrated into each others cloud offering. However for those paying attention, this was not necessarily a surprise. IBM has partnered with Microsoft for a long time now, most recently around Microsoft Dynamics. IBM also has a partnership with Salesforce, and most recently Apple, just to name a few.
For a few years now, IBM has allowed customers to BYO their Passport Advantage software licenses to AWS. Even though IBM are not currently on the AWS marketplace, through the purchase of Cloudant earlier in 2014, IBM does have an AWS presence. My view is that as the cloud market matures, many more cross pollination of products between cloud providers will occur, which will allow a lot more hybrid cloud architectures to evolve than has been happening until now. Most of what I have seen to date is hybrid cloud between on-premise and an external cloud provider. Over the next few years, I believe hybrid cloud links between external cloud providers will be more common. Having a hybrid model allows consumers of cloud to pick the right cloud provider for the particular business problem they are wanting to solve plus allow an additional layer of high availability to mitigate downtime risk with a single cloud provider. An example would be to utilise IBM’s Watson Developer Cloud and integrate that with a hosted Azure SQL database with your front-end on Azure’s website PaaS offering.
Over the next year or so, I am sure the progressive Cloud vendors will announce more of these partnerships. If you are one of those vendors that claim to do ‘cloud’ but are not announcing partnerships and living in your own silo, I would be concerned. It may even be too late to start now. Each Cloud vendor needs to play to their strengths, and when they do that, they will find their market.