Still, the bigger question is whether IBM can be the cloud provider of choice "given that so many enterprises are Microsoft-centric and have Azure on their minds as the preferred path," Gold added. Microsoft has made the transition to Azure easier with its Azure Stack, an on-premises version of Azure cloud.
"Also, Google is pushing hard in the enterprise area now," Gold said.
An IDC survey recently showed that 73% of businesses in that survey have developed a hybrid strategy, compared to only 13% that said they have all the skills and processes in place to execute on that strategy. IBM said a secure and dedicated connection to its cloud service, like what Comcast Business is offering, will allow enterprises to easily preserve their existing IT investments while transitioning to a hybrid cloud environment. There, they can build next-generation cognitive computing and services around the internet of things.
IBM has a global network of more than 50 data centers across 19 countries, while Comcast Business boasts that its network connects to nearly 500 data centers and cloud exchanges for access to multiple cloud providers.
Comcast Business and IBM said a direct connection to the cloud will help with better performance, security and availability, especially compared with doing business over the open internet. Comcast Business, like many others, offers customers a service level agreement -- a contract that states such things as the level of network reliability, up-time and other factors.
Most companies are evaluating how to get to the cloud and for the next few years will build hybrid approaches that rely on both on-premises and public cloud servers, Gold said. "Comcast and all the carriers and internet service providers want to jump on the bandwagon that is cloud," he added.
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