As a company that's been traditionally strong in physical data storage systems, IBM's (NYSE: IBM) smooth transition to cloud computing services should not come as a surprise.

Evans Data Corporation ranked IBM as the top choice of developers for private cloud services in 2010. The firm polled more than 400 software developers and asked what they look for in a provider of cloud services. Nearly 30 percent said IBM was the top private cloud provider.

"We're thrilled to see the recognition," Fausto Bernardini, director of cloud offerings at IBM, said. "In particular we're happy it came from developers. We think we have a very mature, differentiated offering in the private cloud, specifically to the development and use of it."

Bernardini said the main element to IBM's success in the private cloud is its integrated service platform. Using IBM's vast resources, he says the company is able to create a flexible cloud service where users are able to customize their own platform.

Experience likely played a role into IBM's success in the private cloud. Elliot Lowen, analyst at cloud computing consulting firm BTC Logic, said IBM's focus on the three tiered client server model for the past ten years is one reason it has excelled in the cloud. "It fits nicely into what we consider the cloud today," he said via email.

According to respondents in the Evans Data survey, the most important qualities they look for in a private cloud provider were security, reliability and uptime, and proven expertise. Obviously, the latter is something IBM possesses through internal research and external clientele.

"I believe our experience is an advantage. For several years, we have been developing the technology around our cloud solutions. Our research and development labs have been at the forefront," Bernardini said.

Lowen said IBM's external expertise and intelligence is also a reason it's become a cloud favorite. "IBM has been very strategic in acquiring the appropriate cloud companies, leveraging their presence in corporate America, and focusing their professional services to help formulate a practical cloud strategy," Lowen said.

Another reason for IBM's success in the private cloud is the fact it has partnered with multiple companies. The company says it has built an ecosystem of partners that complement the IBM cloud in a number of areas. IBM pointed to RightScale and Kaavo are examples of companies that help manage workloads and applications in IBM's cloud effectively. There are countless other partners it said it works with to create formidable cloud services.

"IBM has avoided the natural pitfalls of tying their fortunes to one architecture or one company's solution. They are as happy implementing a Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) azure cloud, a eucalyptus based solution, a VMware solution, or a simple native Linux solution," Lowen said.

Bernardini said IBM has worked with partners to develop its public cloud offerings as well as the private cloud. "We are working closely with all of them to bring their value added services on top of our own platform," he said.


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