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Bolstering its play in the cloud, IBM has acquired Cast Iron Systems, which enables IT organizations to create hybrid cloud environments.

Creating such hybrid environments is considered by many to be a key in enabling more movement to cloud computing and software as a service (SAAS) by enterprise customers because those large organizations are unlikely to move their entire infrastructure to the cloud. Instead, IT organizations and IT solution providers must integrate on-premise infrastructure with the cloud. IBM says Cast Iron technologies take the coding burden away from those integrations

Cast Iron’s cloud integration software, appliances and services have been used by several large customers, including such as NEC, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and Dow Jones.

IBM says it expects the global cloud computing market to grow at a compounded annual rate of 28 percent from $47 billion in 2008 to $126 billion by 2012.

IBM says with the acquisition of Cast Iron, it will be able to offer a complete platform to integrate cloud applications from providers including Salesforce.com, Amazon, NetSuite and ADP with on-premise applications, such as SAP and JD Edwards.  Cast Iron technology provides hundreds of pre-built templates that can enable cloud integrations to be completed in days instead of weeks.  These results can be achieved using a physical appliance, a virtual appliance or a cloud service, according to IBM.  

“The integration challenges Cast Iron Systems is tackling are crucial to clients who are looking to adopt alternative delivery models to manage their businesses,” says Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM WebSphere, in a prepared statement.  “The combination of IBM and Cast Iron Systems will make it easy for clients to integrate business applications, no matter where those applications reside.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cast Iron’s 75 employees are
expected to join IBM.