IBM Thinks Its Cloud Role Will Be in Services and Software

IBM (s IBM) has gotten more and more serious about the cloud. A little over a year ago, Drew Clark, director of strategy for IBM’s venture capital group, started paying attention to the fact that an entire network of startups were raising venture capital to build services tied to Amazon’s Web Services or other cloud platforms. Today, he sat down to talk to me in Austin, Texas, about what IBM is doing with regard to the cloud.

Clark stressed that the cloud platforms IBM launched last year aren’t an actual cloud services play but rather a place for enterprise customers to go and figure out what they want their clouds to be. Clark says most enterprise customers want their own private cloud at first, but some will start seeing the value in cobbling together a wide variety of cloud services, such as those offered by Amazon Web Services (s AMZN), providers like Rackspace (s RAX), or even a potential infrastructure as a service offering from IBM (s IBM). I tend to agree, as having others share the cost of all those servers is the core benefit the cloud offers. Otherwise, a company is still overbuying capacity for planned spikes in demand.

In the video below, Clark talks about where IBM will play in the clouds, and how it hopes to work with startups when it comes to providing a layer of management between various infrastructure clouds and the enterprise.