At IBM Edge 2013 earlier in June the company effectively declared the cloud the face of the computing future, citing a fast compound annual growth rate that would result in 25% of companies using public or private clouds by 2015. Everywhere it seems, noted Clod Barrera, IBM Chief Technical Strategist in a presentation at the June conference, companies are “re-plumbing IT, making it more cloud-like.”
That means offering user self service, click through service, service catalogs, chargeback, and more. These companies, Barrera continued, start with what they have and want to layer the cloud user experience and cloud speed and flexibility on top of it. They’re not intending to throw anything away either, not the System z or P or anything else.
With that in mind, IBM has been rolling out a stream of SmartCloud offerings for every flavor of organization and making acquisitions to facilitate its cloud strategy, the most recent being SoftLayer. You also read about an even more recent effort targeting the C-Suite last week here in DancingDinosaur.
The SoftLayer acquisition promises to make it easier and faster for organizations around the world to incorporate cloud computing by marrying the speed and simplicity of SoftLayer’s public cloud services with the enterprise grade reliability, security and openness of the IBM SmartCloud portfolio.
SoftLayer accelerates IBM’s ability to integrate public and private clouds for its clients with flexibility that provides deployment options to enable a faster, broader transformation for small, medium and large businesses. All the while it addresses a range of performance and security models. The addition of SoftLayer potentially gives IBM a big advantage compared to its enterprise rivals, particularly Oracle and HP.
Suddenly racing to bolster its cloud presence, Oracle has gone on a partnering binge with Salesforce.com, Microsoft, and NetSuite just in the past week. While the details differ in each of the deals they all boil down to Oracle agreeing to play nice in the cloud with former competitors. The hope is that customers will be able to make the various products they use from each vendor work together in the cloud, never a sure thing.
While Oracle appears to be just getting off Square One in the cloud, IBM already is delivering an increasingly capable set of cloud services that enable organizations to use the cloud to rethink IT and to reinvent the business. Rethinking IT means rapidly delivering IT services and integrating those services across cloud environments for the purpose of increasing efficiency. Reinventing the business means faster time to market for new services, a new focus on differentiated processes, and meeting changing customer expectations through real time access to technology in the cloud. And to make sure it also plays nice, IBM is emphasizing support for a variety of open cloud standards initiatives.
The formula for getting started with cloud is pretty straightforward, and IBM has been reciting it like a mantra for a year or more. Barerra again laid it out at his IBM Edge 2013 session: Start with consolidation to bring things together and create as much system homogenization as is reasonable. You can help this by adding a virtualization layer like SVC, which creates the appearance of homogeneity so you can at least manage it as one.
What you end up with, at least, is homogeneous systems behavior, which enables you to more easily automate systems processes. Later on you can add capabilities like automation and the orchestration of entire workflow. Later still you can add capabilities to deal with specific requirements for performance, service levels, multiple tiers, and differentiated services like chargeback. IBM has already locked this down in a set if three cloud offerings dubbed Consolidate and Virtualize, Automate and Manage, and Optimize/Cloud Ready.
An upcoming DancingDinosaur post will delve into Barerra’s cloud storage strategy, which begins with storage for workload optimized systems and moves through his taxonomy of storage in the cloud. It also will cover his six classes of cloud storage (as seen from the VM). As more systems are virtualized for private and public clouds and as cloud storage in general becomes ever more critical few enterprise players are really talking about this the way Barerra does.