IBM Tightens Up Its Cloud Strategy, Leads With Cognitive

Q&A: To give its cloud customers a more simplified, flexible cloud experience, IBM has unified its cloud capabilities into one single platform. IBM Cloud's Quincy Allen discusses the company's cloud unification move.

IBM big data

LAS VEGAS—IBM has unified its cloud platform, bringing its SoftLayer infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities and its Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS) together into one seamless platform. The goal of the move is to provide a unified cloud platform for IBM customers, enabling them to tap into the company's infrastructure and platform services through a simplified, single sign-on experience.

With this move, IBM customers can now manage all Bluemix and SoftLayer assets from a single console, use a single ID to log into that single console and be billed with a single invoice. Customers and developers can now tap into IBM Bluemix to gain a single user interface experience to order and manage app runtimes, services and infrastructure services.

At IBM's World of Watson conference here, Quincy Allen, chief marketing officer and director of ecosystem development for IBM Cloud, sat down with eWEEK to discuss the cloud unification move.

Where did this move originate? What's the next step?

The first step is what we launched yesterday. It's the integration of the experience. If you look at SoftLayer and Bluemix, previously they were separate; now we've integrated the experience. We've always talked about the cloud platform as the best place for productivity for developers—where you can get your integration of IoT [internet of things], data and analytics, etc.

So we're bringing those two platforms together from an experience standpoint so that our SoftLayer customers can now experience what we were providing on Bluemix and our Bluemix customers can now experience what we were providing on SoftLayer.

So what is the purpose, messaging?

The purpose is the effectiveness of the experience. We've always talked about what we wanted to achieve, and we have talked about them sort of synergistically. Yesterday was the actual embodiment of bringing that capability together.

Does the SoftLayer name go away?

No, when you look at SoftLayer customers today. When you go to SoftLayer.com today, SoftLayer.com still exists. SoftLayer customers still will go to SoftLayer.com. They log in through SoftLayer.com, but they now have the ability to go over to Bluemix and get this information. If you go to SoftLayer.com, you'll see a message on top of it to tell SoftLayer customers to now start to experience what you can actually get on Bluemix. And the same thing for Bluemix. If you were a previous Bluemix customer, what you see on Bluemix now when you log in is you can actually get infrastructure. You can get the things that we actually have on SoftLayer. All in one place. So this is about the total experience. That is what we're trying to drive.

So this is a single sign-on situation?

Yes.

Which brand has the bigger name, SoftLayer or Bluemix?

They are both known for different things and what you can do. If you think about our platform, the platform is analogous to a plane. It's got wings, it's got an engine, you've got control systems, but you need a cockpit. The cockpit is Bluemix. So Bluemix is a place wherein you're going to go to integrate all of those particular functions. That's why when we bring them together, you get the benefits. So SoftLayer customers now will get the benefit of all of that functionality that you have in Bluemix, but they were known for different things. So that's why bringing them together you get that common experience.