Microsoft and IBM have announced a collaboration that will see the two companies host each other's technology on their respective cloud platforms.
IBM Cloud, hosted on its SoftLayer platform, will host Windows Server and SQL Server systems, while Microsoft's Azure platform will host IBM middleware WebSphere liberty, MQ and DB2.
The firms have explained that the partnership should make it easier for customers to use the services and manage their apps in a hybrid cloud environment.
The two companies will also make a Microsoft .NET runtime available for IBM's Bluemix cloud development platform, enabling developers to create applications for Azure and IBM Cloud. Returning the favour, IBM is also ensuring that its Pure Application Service is compatible with Microsoft Azure.
IBM is currently experiencing continued growth in its cloud business, with revenues rising 50 per cent year to date. Despite this, profits are still falling, perhaps making the Microsoft partnership necessary.
Senior vice president of IBM's Software and Cloud Solutions Group, Robert LeBlanc, added that the collaboration will ultimately give its customers greater choice.
"Clients will now gain unprecedented access to IBM's leading middleware and will have an even greater level of choice over the tools they use to build and deploy their cloud environments," he said.
Microsoft is also keen for its cloud platforms to entice more customers to adopt its services.
"With this agreement more customers will be able to take advantage of the hyper-scale, enterprise performance and hybrid capabilities of Azure," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of cloud and enterprise and the firm.
Earlier this week, Microsoft also announced a "cloud-in-a-box" service in co-operation with Dell.