by Joshua Whitney Allen

IBM brings Softlayer, Bluemix to Kuwaiti IT

Published May 20, 2015


IBM’s world hybrid cloud campaign continues—its most recent victory a partnership with a well-positioned tech provider in the Middle East.

United Business Group, which serves companies in Kuwait with IT infrastructure management, technical support services, IT consultancy and technology resource outsourcing, has chosen the IBM Cloud to transform its business into a managed service provider.

The partners will offer a flexible hybrid cloud platform based on OpenStack. Data—as desired a resource as oil, if far more abundant—is at the center of the collaboration. Businesses will be able to locate their data in country and have the option to have the data reside either on-premises or off-premises.

The announcement is further evidence of IBM’s push in two areas: hybrid cloud engagements and Middle Eastern IT expansion.

IBM has spent much of 2015 promoting hybrid cloud as a manageable, safe, and affordable way to benefit from “as-a-service” options, driving a huge demand for in-country managed services. The company’s intense focus on hybrid-cloud business development is sensible, as more and more companies appear set to utilize both the cloud and on-premise assets.

As reported in Computerworld, research firm IDC predicted that the global cloud market, including hybrid clouds engagements, will hit $118 billion in 2015 and reach $200 billion by 2018. “If the market shows that much growth next year,” reports the magazine, “it will mean a 23.2 percent rise over the $95.8 billion market it reached in 2014.”

UBG employs IBM Cloud to offer subscription model cloud-based offerings to save costs and increase operational agility, choice, and flexibility. The new model will also grant customers the transparency to use all data and apps across multiple platforms, the control and governance to manage heavy workloads, and a multi-layered approach to ensure security across every interaction point, according to a statement.

“We are leveraging IBM Cloud, analytics, mobile, and security offerings in order to create high-value, competitively differentiated services,” says Muraleedharan Nanoo, Managing Director, UBG. “Our goal is to improve development productivity and reliability to better serve our customers.”

UBG will also offer to clients IBM Bluemix, the cloud development platform, to support app development. The new model also allows businesses to select from hardware configuration options based on open standards and deploy services from IBM’s SoftLayer global data centers based on the needs of the workload.

IBM’s cloud emphasis is paying off. The company’s total cloud revenue—covering public, private, and hybrid engagements—was $7.7 billion over the previous 12 months at the end of March 2015; it grew more than 60 percent in first quarter 2015. IBM’s cloud delivered as a service business, a subset of the total, includes IaaS.

“By offering our customers access to a hybrid cloud platform based on open standards, we will be able to help break down the barriers between clouds and on-premises IT systems, providing clients with control, visibility, and security as they use both public and private clouds,” says IBM General Manger of Cloud Services James Comfort. “Data location across an ever-growing number of clouds is an increasing concern for customers, and we are unveiling new developer services to make this easier to manage.”

The Middle East is a region of ever-increasing technology engagement and expenditure—as IBM has noticed. As reported in Insights Magazine, a leading Kuwaiti mobile telecommunications company turned to Big Blue to build the engagement and involvement of its customer base.

To achieve a more personalized experience for its 2.5 million customers in Kuwait, Zain Kuwait has engaged IBM’s social software. The IBM solution brings together Zain’s digital, mobile, and social platforms to offer customers a single point of engagement.

According to Jordanian site albawaba.com, IBM has also expanded its presence in the Middle East by launching its first office in Kuwait. Licensed by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), whose role is to attract high value-added direct investment (foreign & local) to Kuwait, IBM’s presence will support the advancement of IT resources in this small and disproportionately wealthy country.

One of the world’s leading oil-producing nations, Kuwait has made the most of its remarkable geography. Yet it has shown a tendency to evolve through conflict and economic shakeups, and IT is an increasingly active part of the economy. As quoted in albawaba.com, Dr. Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Director General of Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), explains: “The Kuwaiti government recognizes the central role that IT plays in the diversification of the economic base of the country … and streamline its transition to a sustainable knowledge-based economy. We strongly believe that IBM will continue to enhance its role in supporting the modernization of Kuwait’s IT sector with its global outreach and locally attuned expertise.”



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