LAS VEGASIBM (NYSE: IBM) has introduced new software that addresses what Big Blue has identified as the next shift in enterprise cloud adoption.
At its Pulse 2012 conference here, IBM unveiled new SmartCloud solutions as well as software to extend its secure cloud management capabilities to mobile devices and physical assets. The new technology represents advancement in the level of visibility, control and automation for organizations to securely manage and deploy cloud services, IBM said.
“This year at Pulse we placed a big focus on where our clients are rapidly headingthe convergence of the cloud with the proliferation of mobile,” said Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing at IBM Tivoli, speaking at an event announcing IBM’s new offerings. Hebner added that when he speaks of “mobile” he is not just talking about laptops, tablets and smartphones, but TVs and embedded systems in cars, trains, planes and other areas.
“Mobility is the top driver of cloud computing,” Hebner said. “It’s a fundamental cost statement; it’s about lowering cost. And speed of delivery is the next phase of the cloudthe speed with which you can get out new products and services.”
“Cloud computing and mobility are forcing enormous change,” said Jamie Thomas, vice president of strategy and development at IBM Tivoli. Cloud and mobile, along with smarter physical infrastructures and security, are key driving factors of a fundamental transformation of IT, Thomas said. “Security is the glue that allows us to create an effective Smarter Planet solution,” she added.
Hebner cited a recent IBM Institute for Business Value study that found that 90 percent of organizations expect to adopt or substantially deploy a cloud model in the next three years. As organizations take the next step beyond virtualized data centers and expand their cloud environments, they are faced with what has become known as “virtual image sprawl,” according to the study.
Virtual images are typically between 5 to 20 gigabytes in size. Multiply that by the thousands of virtual images created today, with larger enterprises having 5,000 to 20,000 virtual machinesmaking it costly and challenging for IT managers who are tasked with improving service levels.
“Virtual images are tripling every two years, outpacing the doubling in compute power and essentially flat IT budgets,” said Daniel Sabbah, general manager of IBM Tivoli Software, in a statement. “With current operating practices, every two years, you’d need 1.5 times the physical infrastructure to support cloud and twice the labor. That’s an unsustainable cost and management problem which is the exact opposite of the promise of cloud. We are delivering a much higher level of control over cloud service delivery allowing our customers to quickly, easily and affordably move to higher levels of value beyond virtualization.”
IBM said enterprises need to exert the same control over the virtualized, distributed world as they would exert over prior models of IT. IBM’s new offerings address these issues. The new IBM SmartCloud Control Desk provides organizations with the ability to maintain configuration integrity in response to planned changes and unplanned incidents and problems occurring across a complex IT landscape to ensure continuity of service, speed of response and efficiency of management.
“The IBM SmartCloud Control Desk is to manage and control the proliferation of cloud services across you enterprise,” Hebner said. “It helps control a post-deployment environment of cloud services.”
Managing, Securing Mobile Environments
IBM also announced a new IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices that helps firms better manage and secure their mobile environments, including iPhone, iPad, Android-based phones and tablets, Windows Phone, and Nokia Symbian devices. With the ability to install in minutes, organizations will quickly be able to remotely set policies, monitor employees’ devices to identify potential data compromise and wipe data off the devices if they are lost or stolen.
In addition, by leveraging key innovations in cloud environment capacity analytics, storage utilization and optimization, operations teams can shift their focus from managing environment bottlenecks to delivering new services. For instance, IBM’s new IBM SmartCloud Monitoring enables cloud administrators to maximize cloud availability and utilization by monitoring virtual infrastructures and applying analytics to optimize workload placement.
And IBM’s new IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center improves the flexibility, cost, utilization and performance of storage with automated administration, management and provisioning controls.
Moreover, IBM’s new SmartCloud Foundation offerings allow organizations to install, manage, configure and automate the creation of cloud services in private, public or hybrid environments with a higher level of control. Collectively, the new offerings will help clients speed delivery, lower risk and better control the move to deploy cloud alongside their existing production environments, IBM said.
Big Blue says it is offering clients greater value and flexibility by delivering best-practice cloud services. Since deploying IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider Dutch Cloud has seen its client base expand significantly, according to company officials. Yet the high degree of automation built into the IBM solution has greatly reduced Dutch Cloud’s administrative workload.
Now the IT team spends 80 percent of its time on client migrations and only 20 percent of its time on administrationa more than 70 percent decrease in administrative time. Dutch Cloud’s monthly recurring revenue has tripled twice in the last six months, but its operational costs have remained flat, the company said.
“With our original tool, it could take almost an hour to provision an extra 200 virtual machines for a client,” says Martijn Van Zoeren, CEO of Dutch Cloud, in a statement. “With IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, we can do it within five minutes. Previously, we had to keep changing our tool to support all new versions of VMware, KVM and Microsoft software coming out, and all the new storage versions. It was easy to do that when we first started, but we couldn’t maintain it as we grew. We were spending 80 percent of our time maintaining the tool and 20 percent on supporting client requirements.”
With IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, new services also can be deployed in minutes rather than hours, Van Zoeren said. “This places Dutch Cloud in an ideal position to respond rapidly to fluctuating client needs. The IaaS market is going to continue to mature, and we’ll see more competition in the coming years. Our technology choices have given us the ability to thrive in this competitive market.”
Meanwhile, as enterprises look to accelerate delivery and realize agility, many are starting their cloud implementation journey around their development, test and deployment operations.
For example, SunTrust bank is working with IBM’s DevOps solution to increase its business agility while increasing operational discipline, quality, customer satisfaction and governance. Utilizing a cloud environment, SunTrust developers have been able to achieve application build times up to five times faster.
Building on that and other experiences with clients, IBM will be releasing new capabilities with IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery, Hebner said. The new software is a suite of best practice patterns for enabling integrated lifecycle management of cloud services, combining Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management solutions with IBM SmartCloud Provisioning. IBM’s recent Green Hat acquisition will further extend these capabilities, reducing development lifecycle times by streamlining test cycles as applications are transitioned to cloud deployments, the company said.
IBM said customers using the software have seen dramatic results, including shortened delivery time from months to days through end-to-end automation, standardization and repeatability; 20 percent reduction in resource costs while increasing predictability of deployments through low touch and self-service; 40 percent more agility by streamlining operation and development collaboration with in-context communication; and 20 percent increases in application service availability and performance by improving stakeholder alignment of development, test and operations.