IBM's Steve Mills Goes Deep on the Cloud, Watson, POWER8
IBM senior executive Steve Mills talks about the cloud, Watson, POWER8, competition with Microsoft and more in a Q&A with eWEEK.Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive - Software & Systems at IBM, sat down with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft for a series of interviews recently where Mills spoke candidly about competing with Microsoft and the advantages IBM has in taking an open approach, among many other things. How do you convey your cloud message to new customers? And can you explain how you’re going to take on AWS? I think that’s recognized by many customers already. You wouldn’t have as many people on SoftLayer if there wasn’t a recognition that it certainly represented an option to AWS before we even bought the company. It continues to do that and we’re adding hundreds of new companies onto the platform every quarter. So I think part of the challenge here for enterprises is getting them to see BlueMix as a great place to go to do application prototyping and build applications. The importance of that initiative is to make it easy for people to build applications, provide a broad range of componentry, open tooling, an open environment with the kind of fit, finish and fidelity that I think they often attribute to Microsoft. They don’t attribute that to AWS. AWS does have its collection of stuff. It’s heavily steered toward a set of unique Amazon-based structures, which is where they want to take you. But they do have other things there. But it’s collections; it’s not put together in a way that steers the developer against the domain that they’re in and into the kind of thing they may want to build.
Enterprises care a lot about hybrid. They want to integrate front end to back end – 'I want to put this out in the cloud, but I want to move data back and forth.' And delivering those integration mechanisms and APIs is going to be the key differentiator for BlueMix. Allowing customers to create their own private workspaces where they have their components and things they want to put into the environment, again, is something I think we can excel in. Because we do understand the enterprise. We know what they’re dealing with in terms of their own internal componentization and creating their own API structures and so on. So I think there are a lot of dimensions that we can leverage with this offering to go beyond anything anybody else has out there.