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IBM Buys ‘Cloud Broker’ Gravitant

November 3, 2015, 2:54 PM UTC
Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit 2015
October 13th, 2015. Washington, D.C., USA Fortune Most Powerful Women 2015 Summit 10:20 am CONVERSATION Ginni Rometty, President and CEO, IBM Interviewer: Alan Murray, Editor, Fortune Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women
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Okay, this is getting repetitive. IBM on Tuesday said it is buying Gravitant, a company that specializes in helping companies assess, buy and manage cloud computing services from multiple vendors. In that space Gravitant competes with companies like RightScale and Enstratius, a company purchased by Dell two years ago.

Terms for the deal were not disclosed.

IBM(IBM), which is trying to bolster its ability to sell and manage cloud services for its customers, has been on a multi-year buying binge, snapping up companies and technologies from SoftLayer, Cloudant and Cleversafe.

The major theme here is that IBM—like Hewlett Packard (now Hewlett Packard Enterprise)(HPQ) and other legacy technology providers—is betting that big business customers will go the hybrid cloud route. That means that some workloads and some data will run on dedicated a.k.a “private” resources reserved for that company’s use. Meanwhile, other data and jobs would go to public cloud, which is shared infrastructure owned and run by a third-party provider, whether it’s Amazon(AMZN) Web Services, Microsoft (MSFT), Azure, Google (GOOG) Cloud Platform or IBM SoftLayer.

The beauty of Gravitant is that it will let a company’s employees set up and use a variety of cloud services using the same screen whether those services lie inside their own firewall, on dedicated resources run by IBM outside their firewall, or in some other public cloud (including AWS), said Don Rippert, IBM’s general manager of cloud strategy.

It looks like Gravitant’s intellectual property will flow both to IBM’s services arm and to its cloud division. From IBM’s press release:

IBM plans to integrate the Gravitant capabilities into the IBM Global Technology Services unit. In addition, IBM Cloud plans to integrate the capabilities into Software-as-a-Service offerings, extending the company’s growing hybrid cloud solutions and capabilities.

All of this comes at a time when older companies are fighting an existential threat posed by AWS and its public cloud juggernaut, which was six years old by the time IBM bought SoftLayer in 2013. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, HP Enterprise’s Meg Whitman, Cisco’s (CSCO) Chuck Robbins and other execs at these companies are betting that we’re still very early in the cloud adoption game, and that there is thus time to catch up.

Check out Rometty’s panel at the Fortune Global Forum here.

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