IBM Introduces Cloudpaks

IBM is counting on success in the cloud, especially hybrid clouds, but only about 20 percent of enterprise workloads have moved to the cloud yet. The problem is an old familiar one: moving applications, especially vital enterprise applications to a new platform, any platform, is difficult and, as a result, risky. 

IBM Multicloud Manager Dashboard

When the new platform is the cloud or, just as likely, a hybrid cloud the level of and corresponding fear among managers is that much greater. Already many managers, both IT and business managers consider the cloud, any cloud but especially a public cloud, particularly risky. In their minds it represents a sea full of sharks just waiting to grab your valuable data along with anything else they can reach. And every news report of a data breach, especially a large one, only confirms their worst fears.

Before you get too nervous, IBM is jumping in with a ready-made, packaged set of services, IBM Cloud Paks, which will initially come in five flavors, starting with the IBM multi-cloud pak. As IBM explains it: IBM Cloud Paks are enterprise-ready, containerized software solutions that give clients an open, faster, and more secure way to move core business applications to any cloud. Each IBM Cloud Pak runs on Red Hat OpenShift on  the IBM Cloud and Red Hat Enterprise Linux and includes containerized IBM middleware and common software services for development and management–all running on top of a common integration layer and, IBM claims, can reduce development time by up to 84 percent and operational expenses by up to 75 percent. No details on how they calculate that, however.

And to some extent, these fears are justified, making the idea of cloud paks that much more appealing. If public clouds and hybrid clouds are not configured correctly with security and safety foremost in mind things can go wrong. Not always, of course, but the possibility seems always there.

Furthermore, making hybrid cloud particularly scary are all the new technologies they entail, things you never heard of just few years ago. Suddenly, you are dealing with containers, kubernetes, agile integration, devops, microservices, devsecops, multicloud & application-centric management, and integrated agile management, site reliability engineering, and much more. How many tools and technologies do you want to acquire, learn, manage, maintain, and upgrade. And at what cost? And then revisit it again as soon as the earth spins a few more times. 

Simply from the deployment and management aspect, these new containerized, hybrid clouds can appear intimidating. To address that, each flavor of cloud pak presents the same common architecture. Now in the early stages, IBM already is seeing what amounts to a mix of everything: apps running on-premises and others in the cloud, many mixing multiple clouds. It quickly can amount to a vast landscape of micro-apps comprising the most hybrid of hybrid worlds.

With its Cloud Paks IBM truly is trying to  leverage its Red Hat acquisition. As IBM sees it: Red Hat incorporates openness, starting with enterprise Linux. Then, throw in containers, kubernetes, and OpenShift, which provides a solid platform for kupernetes and you now have truly common and mostly open platform.

And IBM is not leaving out its Power and z platforms. It will work with any Power or Z system that incorporates a current version of Linux. That means any z14, z15, LinuxONE or Power System running Linux. 

IBM also is working with Red Hat to ensure that it can incorporate good pricing for CloudPaks that include various software.  Customer get embedded licensing. You pay based on a specific capacity need and get the Open Shift licensing for the cloud pak and support from IBM and Red Hat.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at 

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