IMB has just announced its plans to embrace OpenStack in an effort to help enterprises better balance private and public cloud resources. The new initiative will see Big Blue switching all of its cloud services and software to open-cloud architecture, allowing customers to easily alternate between equipment and service vendors, and do away with any worries of vendor lock in.
To get the ball rolling in this newest venture, IBM plans to set up a new private cloud service based on OpenStack, which will be introduced alongside new software called SmartCloud Monitoring Application Insight that’s able to monitor cloud application availability and progress in real-time. In addition, it also plans to release two more applications, although these remain in beta.
We’ve known for some time that IBM has had big designs in the cloud services arena what with projects like MobileFirst and its various “Smart” initiatives, and with good reason – this year the market for cloud services will top $130 billion, according to the latest forecast from Gartner. Moreover, IBM already has a big presence in the cloud of sorts, with around 5,000 of its customers currently running private or mixed public-private clouds.
Open Cloud – Moving Towards An Industry standard
IBM’s move is in sharp contrast to its origins, when it was one of the chief practitioners of the so-called lock-in strategy. But IBM is a company that likes to move with the times, and it understands that the cloud computing industry will soon to have to embrace an accepted standard if it’s ever going to move forward.
Angel Diaz, IBM’s vice president for software standards, open source and high-performance computing, explains this strategy:
“Everyone is talking about the cloud, but in order for it have real scale and impact, it’s pretty clear that standards and open source are going to be pretty important. Without standards, the cloud is going to be complex, not simple, and clients will be stuck with one vendor.”
The benefit of being at the cutting edge of open platforms is, from the customer’s view point, obvious – more freedom of choice, and more options to create solutions and tie things together. As far as the IBM announcement goes, customers will have the unusual freedom to choose between different public and private cloud resources, allowing them to develop increasingly dynamic workflows whilst maintaining a better balance between services and costs.
More subtle is the advantage that open-cloud offers to vendors. The fact is that locked-in strategies are expensive to establish, resulting in the need for vendors to aggressively recoup those costs. Ultimately, lock in leads to a situation where the customer’s needs are given less attention, while the fees for increasingly substandard services consistently creep upwards, leading to increased antagonism in the vendor-customer relationship. This simply isn’t good for business in the long term, as the customer can always sever the relationship and go elsewhere, even if such a move is costly.
Fact is, to facilitate good business the needs of the customer cannot be ignored, and chief among these is the flexibility to move and switch between vendors more easily. IBM understands this, which is why its now focused on becoming a leader in open-cloud. Today’s announcement that IBM is embracing OpenStack is part of the company’s broader strategy to assure its long-term future – a future that its convinced lies fully in the cloud.