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By | Gavin Clarke 4th June 2015 10:31

IBM thinks inside Blue Box with OpenStack private-cloud purchase

While Cisco makes its own acquisition and gets Piston champagne

IBM has snatched OpenStack cloud floater Blue Box, a 12-year-old firm delivering private cloud as a service.

IBM claimed the marriage of the Big Blue and Blue Box would help it speed deployment of private clouds and simplify management of OpenStack clouds.

Blue Box will be deployed to Bluemix, IBM’s programme to build, manage and run clouds using an implementation of the platform-as-a-service Cloud Foundry. IBM said the move further accelerates its commitment to open technologies and OpenStack. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed. The giant claims it has 500 developers dedicated to working on cloud projects.

It was the second major OpenStack snatch of the day, as Cisco bought one of the originators of this supposed Linux for the cloud – Piston Cloud.

Piston Cloud was started by one of the brains behind the NASA Nebula Cloud Computing Platform that became the compute portion of OpenStack in 2010.

In a whack to corporate prestige, Piston Cloud had been an early VC investment by IBM: it joined an $8m investment round in 2013

Cisco gloated yesterday that owning Piston Cloud would help it “accelerate the product, delivery and operational capabilities” of its Inercloud Services.

Blue Box is different to Piston Cloud, coming at OpenStack from the management side rather than the ground-up architecture perspective.

Blue Box was founded in 2003 by entrepreneur Jesse Proudman as a hosting firm. It had $26.6m in funding, having taken its most recent – $4m – in January. Today it’s evolved to claim it can provide one-click deployment of private OpenStack clouds, using visual and model-based development.

Also, its cloud features dedicated firewalls, virtual networking, cloud object and block storage with database-as-a-service using partners’ products. Blue Box has four data centres in London, Zurich, Seattle and Ashburn.

IBM is lagging in cloud: it’s been stung by Gartner reports to this effect, launching its own counter-analyst campaign to state the contrary.

Recently, IBM's been adding database and machine-learning firms to Bluemix. In January 2014 it committed to spending $1.2bn to expand its footprint of global data centres to 40, to swallow and host more customer data and apps.

It's been rolling out new data centres with its SoftLayer business that it bought for $2bn in 2013. It was in 2013, too, that IBM committed to the OpenStack project, making it the biggest single backer in terms of corporate size and resources. ®

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