UPDATED 17:28 EDT / FEBRUARY 22 2016

Jamie Thomas - IBM InterConnect 2016 NEWS

Open source critical part of cognitive journey, says IBM | #IBMInterConnect

While IBM once had a public image of a virtually monolithic corporate entity, that image has softened in recent times, in part due to its support of and interest in open-source technologies. At the IBM InterConnect event taking place in Las Vegas, the open-source projects being fostered and developed by IBM are a significant part of the conversations between the company and its clientele.

Jamie Thomas, GM of systems strategy and development at IBM, joined John Furrier and Dave Vellante, cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, to talk about some of these projects, the ideas behind them and the anticipated futures for their use.

Open-source and selective growth

Describing open-source as a “critical part of our strategy as we help our customers embark on this cognitive journey,” Thomas highlighted the importance it has to IBM’s initiatives on a range of platforms.

“One thing that we’ve learned is that you need to be involved early on [with new technologies],” Thomas said. “For IBM to be effective in these open-source efforts, we need to have critical mass around them.”

However, she also noted that with such support, being selective is a necessity. “You have to decide which projects you want to be at the table with,” she stated.

Tailored to the customer

Moving on to other tech focuses at IBM, Thomas touched on their developments with composable infrastructure, API connections and service-based apps, along with intelligent systems, but a large examination was given to the ways IBM is trying to keep these new technologies accessible to clients who have entrenched systems.

Finding “purpose-fit environments” for big data and analytics is one of the ways the company is “making sure that our clients can attain a true cognitive computing environment,” as is providing unique security elements on the mainframe “that will allow clients to have peace of mind as they enter into this bold new world.” Spark, block-chain and docker containers are all on IBM’s radar as ways to improve these transitions, and emergent tech in the next few years is already being considered.

Partnerships and investments

Moving toward these new developments is not an immediate step for every customer. As Thomas put it, using cloud services as an example, “Cloud is not a destination. It’s about taking advantage of what you can do in the cloud, but also what you can do with the infrastructure you already have.”

Looking toward the future is another concern. “This data explosion that we keep talking about is definitely driving trends,” Thomas stated, with the need to keep up with it presenting distinct new challenges. To her, the problem of economically dealing with data seems like a strong argument in favor or emphasizing development of better hybrid-cloud understanding.

As Thomas recognized, “None of this is going to happen by a single vendor by themselves,” and partnerships between companies will be the key to providing customers with satisfactory solutions. Considering the reception she’d encountered at the IBM InterConnect event, Thomas added, “Feedback I’m getting from the clients is an appreciation of the partnerships we’ve brought forward today and that we’re working to create a viable ecosystem for them.”

Watch the full interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM InterConnect 2016. And join in on the conversation by CrowdChatting with theCUBE hosts.

Photo by SiliconANGLE

Since you’re here …

Show your support for our mission with our one-click subscription to our YouTube channel (below). The more subscribers we have, the more YouTube will suggest relevant enterprise and emerging technology content to you. Thanks!

Support our mission:    >>>>>>  SUBSCRIBE NOW >>>>>>  to our YouTube channel.

… We’d also like to tell you about our mission and how you can help us fulfill it. SiliconANGLE Media Inc.’s business model is based on the intrinsic value of the content, not advertising. Unlike many online publications, we don’t have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.The journalism, reporting and commentary on SiliconANGLE — along with live, unscripted video from our Silicon Valley studio and globe-trotting video teams at theCUBE — take a lot of hard work, time and money. Keeping the quality high requires the support of sponsors who are aligned with our vision of ad-free journalism content.

If you like the reporting, video interviews and other ad-free content here, please take a moment to check out a sample of the video content supported by our sponsors, tweet your support, and keep coming back to SiliconANGLE.