02 October 2009

A Big Blue Cloud of Lotuses Engulfs Enterprise IT



IBM has launched a cloud-based email service. Lotus Live iNotes offers webmail (as well as traditional POP/IMAP/SMTP support), calendaring, contact management, and 1GB of storage per user. According to disruptive technology blogger Dave Rosenberg IBM is selling this for only $3.75 per user per month, which is actually a Darn Good Price.

What's so interesting? IBM getting into the cloud? Nah, IBM gets into everything. The feature set? Nope, you can get this from Google.  The price? Eh, sure, it's competitive. What's really interesting is that they are releasing this with the Lotus name.

The Lotus brand is no longer well-known among small businesses but it's still a stalwart in the enterprise. This shows they are aiming this straight at their bigger customers. Enterprise IT seems uncomfortable with cloud-based services, but IBM's move may be just the push they need.  It's from IBM, so it's expected to be reliable and secure.

Another reason this may help push Enterprise IT to the cloud is that this is a hybrid cloud/datacenter strategy that is built for migration. It's not an all-or-nothing strategy. CIOs can take a sip of the cloud kool-aid and if they like it they can drink some more. Eventually tht ey can even migrate all their users to the cloud if they like it a lot. And the CISO's imprimatur will be much easier to get with IBM's name behind it.

Expect this to increase acceptance of cloud services in Enterprise IT. Also expect IBM to offer additional affordable cloud-based services like storage, antivirus, and even computing if Lotus Live iNotes takes off.