Looking Back at Evolution of the Web
Clementi offered another example.
"Think about in the '90s when the Web came around. The Web has been there before, honestly, and it really didn't explode. You didn't like to do FTPs for file transfers and ping around in IP commands like that; what you liked was when the browser came around-Mozaic. What was the browser, except for a simpler way of consuming," Clementi said.
At first, people didn't do transactions on the Web-all they did was content, or information, Clementi said. Eventually, the push by economics to do transactions like banking and trading remotely led to the creation of intranets, improved authentication and encrypted messaging.
"Just as we did back then, the requirements will lead to changes in IT," Clementi said. "If the workload is highly critical, if it has compliance requirements and security requirements, you will implement that model inside the firewall because it's more efficient. Everything that can be standardized can be taken from the outside. So we have an intranet and an Internet; we will have private clouds and public clouds."
So IBM, HP, the Cisco coalition and a large number of smaller companies are jumping on this trend and investing tons of people, time and capital into this new wave of computing, by which individuals and companies can either consume existing services over the Web or provide the same for their own customers and supply chain through their own cloud system.
Putting all this together-workload dependency, service management, customer choice-into a cloud-type system is what IBM is striving for, Clementi said.
This is not just about virtualization, software or hardware alone, Clementi said.
"If you follow the notion that it's about applying engineering discipline to IT-supported services, then you need to have all of these capabilities [that IBM already has]. Second, if you believe that Smarter Planet is all about the convergence of digital infrastructure with physical infrastructure, then you need a way to manage all kinds of infrastructure in your supply chain," Clementi said.
Clementi offered the smart grid as an example of how all this automation works.
"The way it is now, the power company in your area reads your meter once a month, then they bill you," Clementi said. "Tomorrow, using smart meters, PG&E [Pacific Gas & Electric, in California] will measure your power usage once every 10 minutes.
"When you measure usage once every 10 minutes instead of once per month, and then you multiply by 20 million or 40 million users, you realize that first, you're going to deal with completely different amounts of data; second, think about when this meter is so smart that you can start controlling it, automate it, shut off devices and steer the entire grid. Think of all the efficiency possibilities.
"So you can see where cloud computing is the IT for a smarter planet. That's our view. And if you want to do that, you have to have that kind of software and process capability that we have invested in."
Comparing IBM's menu of software, services and management to that of the Cisco coalition's, Clementi said he thinks IBM has a broader base "because we also have the services capability to do this. I would admit to you that we are not as good in consumer kind of computing, like many other of the cloud actors. We are an enterprise-focused company, and we are going to stay focused there."