by Vanessa Alvarez

Cloud Mergers Heat Up: IBM Buys Cast Iron

May 07, 2010
Data Center

What's behind IBM's purchase of Cast Iron and how does its technology fit into IBM's planned cloud offerings?

This past week, IBM acquired Cast Iron, a company focused on software and services integration of on-premise and cloud computing platforms. Cast Iron’s core capabilities include being able to connect on premise applications to public cloud services, in a simple and seamless manner. Cast Iron has an impressive customer roster, and a solution that is critical for the adoption of cloud computing. As many vendors look to round out their portfolios to include all the tools and technology needed to make a cloud computing environment work, IBM is quick to snap up a critical component of cloud. Cast Iron fits well into IBM’s overall solution.

While it’s one of many acquisitions within cloud computing market this year, this one in particular focuses around an issue with which enterprises have, will and should be struggling. In order for enterprises to leverage the benefits and value of the cloud, it will be necessary for them to be able to connect their on premise applications with both private and public clouds.

As I have mentioned in the past, enterprises must assess which applications can and cannot leverage the cloud, based on architectural, security, manageability, or location challenges. I have also said that, going forward, it would be best to look at cloud based applications that can optimize this new environment. However, there is still the existing issue at hand, and it’s that the majorities of enterprises still have the traditional on-premise applications (Oracle, SAP, etc.) and will do so for a long time.

Companies such as Cast Iron and Boomi are helping enterprises with this issue, allowing, through either an appliance or SaaS, to integrate the different environments. Hybrid environments will (and should) be the choice many enterprises make, and guiding them through the transitional phase with solutions such as these, is important. The IT environment changes with cloud, and allowing it to evolve through a phased approach is not only comforting from an organizational perspective, as different business units within an organization must also adapt to this change, but also comforting for enterprises’ wallets.

The market is evolving and enterprises have much to choose from. As some of the larger vendors continue to fill out their portfolios to deliver a complete solution, it’s important to assess what the value of a cloud computing model can provide for your business. Enterprises must also make a decision if an end to end solution from one vendor is the right approach to take, based on business needs, or is a best of breed approach more in line with the requirements. There are many other areas that must be assessed when choosing a vendor. Choosing the one which will make the journey towards cloud computing as seamless as possible will depend on many factors.

Vanessa Alvarez is an Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan focusing on monitoring and analyzing emerging trends, technologies and market dynamics in the area of enterprise infrastructure in North America. Follow her on Twitter @VanessaAlvarez1.