Kyndryl, the IT services business that IBM spun off in early November, has formed a global strategic partnership with Google to support their joint customers in the cloud.\n\nThe deal comes a month after Kyndryl struck a similar deal with Microsoft, encompassing Azure cloud hosting and support for products such as Office365 and Teams, and a smaller partnership with VMware, as well as a certification agreement with SAP.\n\nKyndryl, a young company with a long history as IBM\u2019s former managed infrastructure services business, inherited more than 4,000 customers worldwide and is looking to expand its share of those customers\u2019 infrastructure management spend in a way that wasn\u2019t possible as part of IBM.\n\n\u201cWe couldn\u2019t do it in IBM because we were focused on and committed to only the IBM cloud,\u201d said Stephen Leonard, Kyndryl\u2019s global alliances and partnerships leader.\n\nUnder IBM, cloud migration and management capabilities were tailored to IBM\u2019s cloud. Now, said Leonard, \u201cWe\u2019re going to take those management capabilities and make them available to clients who run workloads on the Google Cloud, or who wish to move workloads to the Google Cloud.\u201d\n\nThat offer goes for any kind of workload, said Leonard, not just the IBM Power Systems servers accessible through Google Cloud Platform on which enterprises can run AS\/400 applications.\n\nKey areas of focus for the deal with Google include helping customers integrate cloud-based AI and analytics into their digital transformations and moving their SAP workloads to the cloud.\n\nTraining up to benefit customers\n\nCharles King, president and principal analyst of Pund-IT, sees the partnership as important for both Kyndryl and Google.\n\n\u201cIt expands Kyndryl\u2019s capabilities for supporting customers\u2019 hybrid cloud needs and should deliver substantial benefits related to Google\u2019s innovative work in advanced analytics and AI,\u201d King said. \u201cThe relationship should also aid Google\u2019s increasing focus on developing and delivering enterprise-class cloud services and solutions. The plans for supporting SAP on Google Cloud, enterprise edge, and industry solutions for financial services are all areas where Google wants to build stronger positions.\u201d\n\nKyndryl plans to get 5,000 of its 80,000 technical staff certified on Google Cloud Platform and will have about 1,000 certified by the end of 2021. That process started back in September, before the partnership was formed, Leonard said.\n\nIt\u2019s a similar process to what Kyndryl is doing with its internal \u201cKyndryl University for Microsoft\u201d training program, although more staff will likely become Microsoft certified because that program also encompasses Microsoft products such as Dynamics and Office365, not just the Azure cloud platform.\n\nBuilding up those skills in a variety of clouds is key for Kyndryl, says Pund-IT\u2019s King.\n\n\u201cKyndryl\u2019s focus on and capabilities in hybrid cloud are part of the DNA it inherited from IBM. Being a world-class player in this space isn\u2019t so much about partnering with specific service providers as it is to be able to help customers address their hybrid cloud needs no matter what cloud platforms they employ,\u201d he said. \u201cMicrosoft and Google both qualify as significant building blocks in that strategy.\u201d \n\nAWS on the horizon?\n\nThe most remarkable thing about Kyndryl\u2019s strategic cloud infrastructure partnerships is that it hasn\u2019t yet struck one with industry giant Amazon Web Services, which controlled 32% of the cloud infrastructure services market in the third quarter, ahead of Microsoft Azure (21%) and Google Cloud Platform (8%).\n\nAWS does feature on Kyndryl\u2019s \u201calliances\u201d webpage but doesn\u2019t get prominent billing.\n\nLeonard shed some light on that: \u201cThey all have similar but differing requirements. Our intention is to get to the highest level of certification with AWS,\u201d he said, but \u201cwith AWS, we\u2019re neither of us at each other\u2019s highest level because we\u2019re still working on what the investments are, and what are the areas where we\u2019re going to work together.\u201d\n\nSecuring a strategic deal with AWS is important for Kyndryl, though, because, \u201cThere are a tremendous number of mutual clients, and they\u2019re in some of the spaces that we\u2019re very interested in, VMware, mainframe modernization, and so on,\u201d Leonard said.\n\nPund-IT\u2019s King sees the delay as nothing to be concerned about. \u201cIt takes time to hammer out details on deals like this, but I expect Kyndryl and AWS will find a way to work together as strategic allies.\u201d\n\nKyndryl has also recently struck a partnership with VMware, itself a newly standalone company after its separation from Dell Technologies on Nov. 1, and gained certification from SAP for global operation of SAP technologies, including HANA, S\/4HANA, Business Suite, and SuccessFactors.\n\nKing sees potential for other deals ahead: \u201cKyndryl offers services for Oracle\u2019s database and business applications so there may be opportunities to deepen the two companies\u2019 collaborations. Pursuing strategic relationships with enterprise-focused vendors like Salesforce and ServiceNow could also make sense,\u201d he said.