If you follow enterprise computing, you know that hybrid multi-cloud technologies and solutions are driving many companies’ IT discussions, strategies, plans and implementations. The reasons for that are pretty straightforward; though organizations continue to enjoy the easy access of public cloud, few are embracing those platforms for most or all their IT needs.
In fact, a recent Forrester study found that 85% of respondents are increasing funding for IT infrastructure outside of public cloud. But how and how effectively businesses achieve their hybrid multi-cloud goals is another thing entirely. The vast majority enlist trusted vendors to help them on that journey, but the results of those engagements can vary significantly. That’s why IBM’s recent announcement of new hybrid cloud capabilities spanning its IT infrastructure portfolio is worth investigation.
Let’s consider what the company is doing and how it will impact IBM customers.
The IBM Cloud Pak advantage
Beyond the sheer complexities of implementing, managing and maintaining hybrid cloud environments is the fact that, like organizations, no two projects are completely alike. Even businesses that are ostensibly similar in size, focus and strategy can have significantly different strengths, challenges and goals.
That makes experience and flexibility vital for vendors that aim to assist clients with hybrid multi-cloud. However, just as important are reliably replicating and successfully scaling solutions across customer populations, markets and industries. IBM is taking an especially interesting approach to addressing these challenges via its Cloud Pak solutions and services.
It is reasonable to consider Cloud Paks a natural extension of IBM’s early work in containers and support for the Kubernetes open source project, which are fundamental parts of the company’s hybrid cloud offerings. Cloud Paks take those efforts several steps further with lightweight, modular, enterprise-grade solutions that integrate a container platform and containerized IBM middleware and open source components, including Red Hat OpenShift, that support common services for development and management.
- Portable: They can run on-premises, on public clouds or in an integrated system, including hybrid clouds.
- Open and Secure: They are certified and maintained by IBM to provide full-stack support, from hardware to applications.
- Consumable: They are pre-integrated for specific use cases and priced so customers pay for what they use.
IBM Cloud Paks are available for six enterprise IT use cases: applications, automation, data, integration, multi-cloud management and security.
IBM’s new hybrid cloud capabilities
What did IBM announce that adds significant heft and capabilities to its hybrid multi-cloud strategy and offerings?
First, the company noted how its solutions are gaining traction among IBM customers, including over 100 LinuxONE, Linux on Z and Power System clients that are running mission critical applications on hybrid cloud. Those companies represent industries, such as healthcare, retail, transportation, financial and technology services and the public sector.
Additionally, the company said that many top IBM Z and Power Systems customers are running proofs of concept with Red Hat OpenShift, and over 100 more are ready to begin. Finally, more than 40 clients are already using IBM Storage as a persistent, secure, highly available repository for Red Hat OpenShift.
The company also announced new and upcoming capabilities for implementing hybrid cloud environments with IBM IT infrastructure solutions:
- Infuse AI throughout the business and consolidate databases with IBM Cloud Pak for Data, already available on IBM Power Systems and planned for November for IBM Z
- Accelerate digital transformation and connect cloud native applications to existing workloads with IBM Cloud Pak for Integration on IBM Z
- Speed cloud native development with integrated runtimes enabled by IBM Cloud Pak for Applications for IBM Z and Power Systems
- Increase visibility, automation, and governance across the hybrid multi-cloud with IBM Cloud Pak for Multi-Cloud Management for IBM Z and Power Systems
In addition, the company said the IBM Storage Suite for Cloud Paks is expanding support for container-native data access on Red Hat OpenShift which should increase flexibility for continuous integration and delivery for file, object and block as software-defined storage. IBM Spectrum Scale adds a fully containerized client and run-time operator to provide access to scalable data lakes on any Red Hat OpenShift cluster. IBM Cloud Object Storage adds support for the open source s3fs file to the object storage interface bundled with Red Hat OpenShift.
These new solutions and examples suggest that IBM is substantially broadening its cloud solution set while continuing to help customers pursue and successfully complete their implementations of hybrid multi-cloud environments. Those parallel efforts should steadily grow the value of both IBM’s hybrid cloud portfolio and go-to-market strategy.
At the same time, these efforts underscore the importance and opportunities inherent in three key IBM efforts; the ongoing evolution of its homegrown IBM Z, LinuxONE, Power Systems and Storage solutions, the substantial investments the company has made in IBM Cloud and Red Hat, and its longstanding commitment to open source and open systems technologies.
IBM’s leadership position in enterprise-class computing reflects the value and trust that business organizations have historically placed in the company’s solutions. Its solutions for hybrid multi-cloud computing highlights the path forward IBM sees for itself, its customers and business computing.
Charles King is a principal analyst at PUND-IT and a regular contributor to eWEEK. © 2019 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.