Big Blue is Betting on More than Just Cloudy Technology

The past few days were spent engaged with IBM and their annual Software Analyst event. The meetings started out with Steve Mills talking about their overarching strategy and their shift in how they design products (you have to check out their new design studio in Austin) and how the enterprise is driven by internal and external customers.

Over the two day event, the core themes that caught my interest were:

  • Integrated Systems – The IBM PureSystems are being purpose-built and IBM has shipped over 8000 systems with 2200 resellers and 9000+ seller/technical certifications. There are three core types of systems designed to provide optimized capabilities for their targeted use. The first one is PureFlex, designed to be a flexible architecture for more general use cases, PureData (big data), which is an optimized Hadoop Cluster in a Box, PureApplication, which is optimized for specific applications.All of these systems are designed to allow IT to uncrate and deploy workloads within minutes instead of weeks – improving time to value to the business and reduce costs through efficiencies gained from using an integrated system.
  • Cloud – IBM spent a good bit of time talking about their new cloud strategy with SoftLayer. To me the most important aspect is SoftLayer’s investment in cloud management, which includes automation, orchestration, and chargeback. Add to this SoftLayer's hypervisor agnostic design that allows their customers to migrate workloads from data centers running VMware or Hyper-V to a SoftLayer cloud running the same hypervisor. And over time IBM will show the customer the merits of running on OpenStack instead. SoftLayer has about 21,000 customers and while many of them are SMB – IBM is bringing big customers to the cloud.
  • Analytics – While I didn’t listen to very many analytics presentations, you would have to have been sleeping for the past few years to miss all of IBM's investments in big data and analytics companies. Operational analytics, security analytics, real-time analytics, you name-it analytics, and IBM is very well positioned to help their customers discover value in their data.
  • Mobile – IBM demo'd some pretty cool mobile technology (a really awesome portal that was so simple and easy to use that it really blew the audience away – so not IBM-of-the-past) and spent a lot of time talking about how to deliver DevOps for mobile as well as for standard apps. They also talked about converging the two over time and helping developers with tools like patterns to expedite the dev process.
  • Internet-of-Things – this one surprised me – and in a good way. I’m extremely interested in the impact of IoT and what it will do to our networks, storage, clouds, security, privacy, etc. IBM is investing heavily in the IoT for all aspects of it – from data collection to storing to analyzing to optimizing. IBM is already heavily invested in automobile (e.g., Ford) IoT, which they call a mobile data center, with hundreds of uCPUs and sensors.

One way to look at all this is as an important supply chain for information. IoT and mobile are the data creators, which are fed into the cloud for storage and analysis. IBM has all of the information supply chain covered with all the components listed above – and these just scratch the surface of their capabilities and piece parts that fit into their grand strategy to construct and manage the information supply chain for the world's data.

Topics: Internet of Things Data Management Enterprise Mobility Cloud Services & Orchestration