In this ESG On Location Video, ESG's Mark Peters and interviews Eric Herzog of IBM at the IBM Think 2018 event, held in Las Vegas.
Read the related ESG Blog: In Conversation with IBM's Eric Herzog at Think 2018 (Video)
Announcer: The following is an ESG On Location video.
Mark: So, Eric, thank you for taking the time. The first question... Look, I know the results for storage at IBM have been a lot better over the last few years, actually, now, many, many quarters. Go on. You can crow a little bit. Give me an idea how good they've been.
Eric: Sure. So we grew for the last four quarters in a row 8%, 7%, 4% and then 8% again. The growth was fueled by a couple of things. One, strong growth in all-flash arrays. As with everyone else in the market, people are not buying that much hybrid or hard drive arrays anymore. And then, obviously, we have the broadest storage software portfolio in the industry, our software-defined storage, our modern data protection stuff, all that stuff has done very well. So that last four quarters have been excellent and we grew all four quarters in a row.
Mark: And you started to explain there the how and why that you think this growth has taken place. Is there anything else that you're doing different? You talked a lot about the product. I'm just interested. Maybe from the channel or the sales side, are there other things or do you think it is...
Eric: Yeah. For the past two years, we've tried to get away from speeds and feeds. We sell solutions in a data-driven multi-cloud environment that optimize business outcomes. So how do we do that? When we talk to a CIO, none of which are storage guys. In 32 years of storage, I've never met a CIO who has ever done storage. So you have to talk about how you...
Mark: They're just waiting to. They really want to.
Eric: Yes. So how to make the SAP better. Oh, they're going to a cloud. Okay, great. So you know that if you don't have the right storage foundation underneath that cloud, storage goes away, cloud goes away. Data is not available. AI. So all of these modern workloads is positioning the software-defined storage, the all-flash arrays and the data protection as ways for them to optimize all these new workloads, whether it be using something in the container space. We just announced, actually today, a bunch of solutions around persistent storage for containers, whether it be modern data protection. Sure, the old way was backup with incrementals and fulls and weeklys. But now, you want to be able to instantly recover...and by the way, wouldn't it be nice if you could use all of that "backup data" for other applications like I don't know, test and dev, writing code so you have better code quality versus...
Mark: You mean actually being able to do that, not just talk about it.
Eric: Right. And actually, have the software guys do it on their own so you don't have to have the VMware guy and storage guy spin up storage and spin up a VM. But at the same time, the storage guy needs to know, "Hey, we still have control here." So they would know that Mark or Eric checked out. So if there was ever some sort of security issue, they would know you or I had a copy of that database, that we had basically done a snapshot.
Mark: So anyone watching this can hear the noise going on around us. Obviously, the show is getting to be in full swing soon. There's rehearsals going on. Lots of noise all over the place. Any other key things you want to mention that are new news from your side of the company?
Eric: Sure. So one of the things we did is we announced today, jointly with Cisco, a VersaStack, our converged infrastructure, but in this case, targeting private clouds. So not everyone wants to use IBM Cloud, or Amazon, or Azure, potentially big global enterprise. They basically create the equivalent of an IBM Cloud or an Amazon or Azure for themselves with all the agility, flexibility, etc. So there'd be a Cisco validated design around that. So we announced that today. We announced the container stuff today. And also at the end of the day today, actually the cloud division of IBM announced that our Spectrum Protect Plus, which we launched last year, the modern data protection, is gonna be available for a back up as a service through the IBM Cloud division.
Mark: All right. So last thing. Take your storage hat off for a second.
Mark: You can keep your IBM hat on, okay?
Eric: Okay. I can do that.
Mark: Or your IBM mustache. There used to be lots of different shows for IBM.
Mark: Now it's all come together as Think. What difference does that make to you? You're the storage dude. You're you know, dog in store. But what difference does it make to you to be part of the greater IBM rather than doing things at Edge and doing them separately?
Eric: So I think the first thing is for all of IBM, people don't buy piece parts anymore, they buy solutions. So for example, the VersaStack with IBM Cloud Private. The cloud division, the public cloud division, IBM Cloud, is using Spectrum Protect Plus to offer back up as a service. So there's lots of synergies and people want solutions. So you can't go in and just say, "Oh, yeah. Look at my tape," or, "look at my all-flash array," or, "look at my data protection." That's not the way they want to talk. They want to know why is it good for their cloud, why is it good for their AI, what's it gonna do for their modern workloads. "I'm going to containers. I've been using VMware, but how do I get persistent storage for containers?" That's the IT guy.
The CIO doesn't care about that stuff. He wants to make sure that all his software SLAs are always met so he can meet the needs of his business. So talking it up a level about how storage is a critical foundation for cloud workloads, AI workloads, even old workloads like SAP or Oracle or a VMware shop, the reality is storage is the critical foundation, just like a major building. The foundation isn't good, you're cloud is not gonna be good. Your VMware is not gonna be good. That's the reality. So talking from an application and a solution perspective, this show allows you to do that easier than just having Edge or just having someting else.
So it allows you to consolidate. And there's a lot of different solutions from IBM, independent of the storage division, like the Cloud division, the Cloud Private division, the AI guys. There will be at this show...we'll be doing 80 sessions and panels and there's another 15 that the other divisions are doing that include IBM storage. If we were at Edge, that wouldn't happen because the divisions wouldn't be there. So the AI guys, the Cloud guys, the Cloud Private guys all are doing sessions where they're gonna talk about why storage is important to those workloads and why IBM storage is the right one.
Mark: Well, thank you very much. Succinct as ever. Said by only a man in a Hawaiian shirt with an IBM badge. Good dude.
Eric: Great. Well, thank you, Mark. Really appreciate it.
Mark: Thank you.