IBM Sees an On-Demand World

IBM's Wladawsky-Berger tells the Red Hat Summit crowd that convergence and advances in technology are driving innovation.

NEW ORLEANS—There is an ever-increasing focus on innovation or, as IBM refers to it, on-demand computing. So said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBMs vice president of technical strategy and innovation, at the Red Hat Summit here on Thursday.

Delivering a keynote address at the Red Hat Summit titled "The Future of IT in an On-Demand World," Wladawsky-Berger said such things as convergence and advances in technology are driving innovation, with the desktop and laptop now as legacy as the mainframe, which underscores how IT is now becoming integrated into the physical world.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about IBMs on-demand computing strategy.

"We are taking those components and packing them tighter and tighter together," he said, pointing to IBMs Blue Gene supercomputer, which is Linux-based, "though I dont need to tell you that," he quipped.

While technology is important, it is less important than the world of open standards and how valuable things become when brought together rather than remaining separate, Wladawsky-Berger said.

Grid computing, which is building on the open standards of the Internet, enables all resources to be virtualized and is giving people access to IT resources in a very simple way.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about how Sun downsized its N1 Grid Computing plan.

The newest area of standards that is achieving liftoff and holds tremendous promise is SOAs (service-oriented architectures). SOAs allow software development to be decomposed into components that interface with one another via open standards and allow business integration at all levels. "This will change drastically the way we look at software and software applications over time," he said.

IBMs On Demand business, is after all nothing less than being able to understand these business processes as "we are in a point in history where business processes and solutions are critical, so we are trying to make this more systematic," Wladawsky-Berger said.

One of the major changes at IBM over the past few years was understanding business at the process level, which was the first step of understanding good design, he said. Greater flexibility is also required from business models and the supporting IT architecture.

One of the major consequences of better understanding and standardizing processes, once everything is virtualized, is that companies then can decide which processes they should do themselves and which they should go out and find, he said.

"We are living in an increasingly collaborative world due to the Internet and open standards, and business process problems can only be solved by communities of people collaborating together, much like open source. This is absolutely key to the 21st century," he said.

Next Page: The value of communities.