Have Your Cake And Eat It Too, With Cloud

There’s been plenty of news on Silicon Valley start-ups and other “born-on-the-Web” companies relying on cloud computing as the very basis of their business model. And part of the cloud ecosystem has built a business around renting compute resources on demand to these young and innovative companies (with varying guarantees of reliability). But while many large companies have started using cloud computing in some capacity, the reality is that most companies have only scratched the surface of the cloud’s potential.

What we’ve seen is that there’s hesitation, perhaps understandably so, on the part of big banks, healthcare providers, major utilities and other Fortune 1000 companies about putting sensitive data core to their business in the cloud. Concerns about security persist as one of the most pressing barriers to adoption of cloud for mission critical data among big business. But what if these large organizations could leverage the best of what cloud computing can offer, without the worst of what the open Internet can bring?

Sounds a bit like having your cake and eating it too.

Perhaps. But last week’s joint announcement between AT&T and IBM brings us one step closer. The two companies are building on their more than 10-year relationship to provide a new network-enabled cloud offering that leverages AT&T’s Virtual Private Network and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+. The service delivers cloud computing via private networks rather than the public Internet, which as we know can be vulnerable to attacks, outages, and other risks. The two leaders are making business in the cloud safer and more manageable, providing a more secure, transparent, managed, and reliable alternative to Internet-based public cloud environments.  AT&T’s Steve Caniano describes it as a service with everything “customers depend upon in their VPN.”

So what will it take for the Fortune 1000 to jump on the cloud bandwagon?

We’re betting the security, reliability, performance, and scalability of this offering will help. When mission critical data can’t be compromised – when corporate reputation and success as an organization depend on customer trust to keep information secure – CIOs are cautious. But when we can sidestep the exposure of the open Internet and offer a cloud solution that never leaves the IT environment of the enterprise, the Fortune 1000 can rest a bit easier.

John Potter likens this to taking the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan rather than braving the Hudson River. My colleague Lauren States refers to it as an “industrial-strength” cloud that allows us to “reduce risk, restore, trust, and get back to business.”

Whatever the analogy – businesses now have one more option to seize the long awaited “enterprise-grade” cloud, better insulated from threats and safe for business and its mission critical applications.

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Dennis Quan is Vice President of SmartCloud Infrastructure at IBM, responsible for the technology platform underlying all of IBM’s public cloud services. Dennis holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Chemistry, also from MIT.  AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

Dennis Quan SmartCloud Infrastructure Vice President IBM About Dennis