March 5, 2013 – IBM unveiled a new private cloud offering based on OpenStack software as the first move toward basing all of its cloud services and software on open source architecture.

IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator cuts requirements for specific interfaces for different cloud services, and features a graphical organizer for automating cloud tasks. A self-service portal enables users to measure the cost and charge-back of cloud services. Along with SmartCloud Orchestrator, IBM released new versions of and integration capabilities with certain cloud offerings based on open source standards.

In a statement on the announcement, IBM pointed to the importance of open source development with the cloud as the impetus for widely accepted standards that open other opportunities, such as connections across mobile computing and enterprise analytics.

“History has shown that open source and standards are hugely beneficial to end customers and are a major catalyst for innovation," said Robert LeBlanc, IBM SVP of software. “Just as standards and open source revolutionized the Web and Linux, they will also have a tremendous impact on cloud computing.”

There was no timeline offered for the full open source move by IBM. IBM is already a top financial supporter of OpenStack along with HP, Red Hat and Rackspace, which founded the open-source community along with NASA. In the fall, provider Cloud Technology Partners launched a line of services meant to speed open cloud adoption. Saugatuck Technology’s Charlie Burns has been among the analysts in recent months who has questioned whether open source architectures truly address the range of workload needed with enterprise-level use of cloud computing.

In IBM’s most recent sales forecast, CEO Ginni Rometty outlined a five-year plan for Big Blue that included more focus on software sales and cloud services.

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