Biggest Cloud Deal So Far, Some Say

I bet you thought that Los Angeles’ deal to use Google Gmail was big news. No; the biggest cloud deal yet is between Panasonic, the electronics giant, and IBM.

According to a story about the cloud-computing deal that I read, Panasonic will stop using Microsoft
Exchange, messaging and collaborative software, for IBM’s LotusLive cloud services – within Panasonic’s internal corporate structure for web conferencing, file sharing, project management and instant messaging.  In addition, Panasonic will also use LotusLive for social networking between employees, partners and supplier.

Panasonic will apparently take a phased approach. To begin with, it will roll-out LotusLive services for 100,000 employees. But in a few years, the company will use the service for about 300,000 employees, partners and suppliers.

The company chose IBM’s cloud service because it wanted an integral vehicle that enables it to work with customers and business partners as “a globally integrated enterprise,” a Panasonic executive was quoted as saying.

While both companies wouldn’t say how much the deal was worth, it’s easy to guess at the scale: 300,000 users for one company. Compare that to Google Apps, which has over 2 million business users in total with an average of 10 users per account.

Don’t feel so bad for Microsoft, though.

This news follows on the heels of a recent announcement by Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft of a $250 million deal (over three years) to develop both hardware and software focused on management and virtualization solutions for data centers, pre-packaged solutions for data warehousing technology and the Windows Azure platform.

Looks like 2010 is roaring toward being the year of the cloud!