IBM Tries to Paint the Computing Cloud Blue
IBM's chief, Virginia Rometty. IBM said it was opening corporate cloud centers in Australia, Canada, India and Italy.Credit Kazuhiro Nogi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images IBM hopes everything looks better in IBM blue.
The company Monday announced at a conference in Las Vegas a series of technologies and investments designed to win business customers over to IBM’s version of modern computing. As the chief executive Virginia Rometty sees it, the future is about using computers both inside corporations and in remote cloud computing systems.
Companies need these, the thinking goes, to rapidly create mobile and data analysis-intensive applications. That leaves a potentially profitable opening for IBM’s thousands of consultants to work with corporate customers.
In a nod to the current passion for computing that can be broken apart into different suppliers’ components, IBM is also stressing a newfound passion for letting the competition play alongside IBM. To some extent.
“This is a big deal. People are trying to make a diversity of clouds behave as one, with applications that bring together the best of breed from lots of suppliers,” said Angel Diaz, vice president of standards and open technology at IBM. “They want services from us, our partners and competitors to work together.”
IBM, not surprisingly, thinks they should be running the diverse abundance on a uniform suite of IBM stuff. And they are doing what big companies in tech do best to get the word out – announcing their moves in front of 20,000 people at a conference http://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/us/en/interconnect/ in Las Vegas.
The technologies and services announced include software containers http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/13/business/a-small-software-company-sees-a-future-in-containers-of-code.html, or ways of developing and deploying software over multiple computers, with extra security and quality agreements.
IBM has also added tools for moving between corporate and public computers, particularly for using different types of data and services and development resources for Bluemix, its cloud application business, that tie into IBM’s cognitive computing products. The latter includes stuff like speech, text and image recognition.
IBM also said it was opening corporate cloud centers in Australia, Canada, India and Italy. These follow a company effort to best Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft by renting computation in more locations. “Mega clouds are great, but not that great if you’re not in their geography,” Mr. Diaz said.
What IBM appears to be doing is both cutting edge, in terms of using cloud and open source software resources, and very traditional. Older companies that want to survive in tech must almost always seek a way to throw off the less profitable businesses they are in, and get customers into new, higher-margin products.
In this case, IBM wants those people to leave Las Vegas keen to use development tools that draw on IBM’s most valuable resources. For some time now, the company has been shedding less valuable businesses that do not serve this goal, most notably when it sold http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/ibm-happy-to-be-rid-of-low-end-server-business/ its commodity computer server business to Lenovo of China last year.
IBM is hardly alone in moving fast to an enterprise tech world with lots of cloud computing, open-source software and products that supposedly embrace all technologies, while offering a one-stop shop.
Last week, Hewlett-Packard said http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/hp-to-sell-open-source-networking-gear/it was getting into commodity networking using open-source technology. HP will announce quarterly earnings on Tuesday, and the chief executive Meg Whitman is expected to talk more about her efforts to split the company into two more focused consumer and business companies.
EMC, a leader in data storage that also owns big server, networking and open source businesses, has plans to put more storage software into open source later this year.