Think You’re Ready for Software-Defined Everything? Get Hip to the Culture Shift | #IBMEdge


Jamie Thomas, GM Software Defined Systems at IBM, and Matt Hogstrom, CTO, Software Defined Environments at IBM discussed infrastructure and “software-defined everything” with theCube host Dave Vellante, live at the IBM Edge 2013 conference this week.

New to her position which she had been appointed to six weeks ago, Jamie Thomas commented on her role and IBMs strategy with Software Defined Systems. “First of all, I think it’s a very exciting role,” she said. “We’re bringing together the thought leaders that we think are going to make a difference,” not only from a strategic perspective, but also executions, she said, explaining her plans for the SDS team.

Matt Hogstrom said “the big shift that we have had is that we now have programmable infrastructure. Now I can create infrastructure on demand, so consumers are driving infrastructure.” The software defined notion is really moving the ability to get infrastructure closer to the consumers requirements.

“As an execution team, we have experts who work on defining the next generation of capabilities and experiments we need to run,” Thomas said. IBM interacts with our clients for these experiments. It has a dedicated software defined lab where experts can execute them and share them with the clients.

Culture shock? Shifting to the software-led world


“Typically, what we all end up doing when we have expertise in an area, we stay in that silo,” Hogstrom stated. Organizations have silos and silos are where people spend time. With software defined, people in the silos have to be much more aware of the needs of the programmers. The shift is in looking at from a holistic approach.

In order for organization to take advantage of software defined systems, that will require not only a technological shift, but also a cultural shift, allowing application developers to have more freedom, managing the life-cycle, understanding workloads,” Thomas explained.

“Our view is that we can encapsulate software patterns, but the next change is the encapsulation of infrastructure patterns,” she said. “A lot of the automation around infrastructure is in the form of scripts.”

“The ability to capture that knowledge in a pattern through metadata, that will be the key going forward,” Hogstrom added. The ability to keep up with the development is what will drive these changes.

As far as cloud and software-defined “everything” is concerned, different enterprises take different steps, Thomas said. Some create a unique role, they have one person focused on both software defined and cloud. Others “move skills around to get that cross-cutting perspective. Some culture change is going to be required as we go forward.”

Commenting on IBM’s future plans, she said: “I think we want to try to be much more open about our plans and where we’re going. You can expect to see us as a very visible player in OpenStack and OpenDaylight.” The company will also be announcing a software defined network controller this week, “and we want to integrate our storage products with the OpenStack API.” The company plans to announce its plans just to start stimulating conversation around what it aims to achieve.

As far as next year’s edition is concerned, there is a big possibility for there being a lot more developers.