Wednesday, June 10, 2015

IBM Edge2015 – Preparing IT for the future - II

By Rich Ptak

This is the second part of a two part blog covering IBM’s Edge 2015 event held in mid-May in Las Vegas. The focus was on presenting strategies and demonstrating the benefits to customers and partners from the services, solutions, products provided by IBM’s newly integrated hardware-oriented business units. The first blog included an introduction and discussion on IBM’s recent reorganization. If you haven’t read that, we recommend that you do. It is available on our website. This second part has added comments and overall conclusion.

This second blog focuses on Systems Group – Middleware and – Storage Systems & Software Designed Infrastructure. The first blog focused on platforms, Systems Group - Power Systems and – z Systems. Edge2015 covered a lot more detailed topics including Services, Analytics, IoT, Cloud, Watson, etc. Limited time and space meant they won’t be covered in this series.

Let’s take a look at what was said at the event.

Systems Group – Middleware[1]

Under Marie Wieck’s direction, this is the software underlying IBM’s platforms & solutions to enable and accelerate the enterprise trans-formation needed to successfully compete in the digital world. Starting with management, it includes configuration, development, operations and delivery, extending all the way to the end-user experience.

Encompassing the entire systems lifecycle, it optimizes the user experience at every stage of interaction. It manages fully integrated software elements (WebSphere, Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure, Bluemix etc.) for security and performance by making access easier and use simpler. Four imperatives define its role: 
  1. Use of data analytics on ALL relevant data to speed effective decision-making,  
  2. Enhance infrastructure agility to accelerate enterprise transformation,  
  3. Reinvent to improve processes to speed and simplify complex activities,  
  4. Personalize the user-experience to make the consumer more successful.
Client success stories related in conversations, presentations and keynote covered the full spectrum of enterprise size and market segments. Presentations from such companies as WestJet, CenterPoint Energy, Citibank, Swiss Mobiliar and Wimbledon document the effectiveness of IBM’s approach.

Systems Group – Storage Systems & Software Designed Infrastructure

With IBM’s investment of $1B in each of Flash and Software Designed Storage, GM Jaime Thomas leads a merged storage solutions and software business unit. IBM ramped up its product, sales and marketing efforts to provide a balanced set of offerings as they identify and pursue the highest growth parts of the storage markets. They are doing this with solutions that optimize and manage storage for control (analytics-driven cut costs up to 50%), protect (backup reduces costs up to 38%), archiving (reduces active data TCO up to 90%), virtualization (store up to 5x data), acceleration (deploy storage in minutes), scale (for unstructured data). IBM is focused on providing enterprise-grade storage solutions that are open, secure, scalable and fully integrated for standalone, private and hybrid cloud environments.

In February, Software Defined Storage was beefed up with cloud-focused IBM Spectrum Storage family of six “specialty engines” for control, protection, archiving, virtualization, acceleration and scale-up. March 2015 marked the GA of IBM FlashSystem 900 Flash system with >40% more capacity at lower cost/capacity price points. In April 2015, IBM FlashSystem V9000 went GA with fully integrated system management that scales up to 2.2 PB.


We’ve commented before on IBM’s visionary recognition and embrace of the enormous trans-formation that must take place in enterprise operations. The pressures to do so are a direct result of and enabled by the rapid evolution of technologies, as well as by emerging new technologies.

Radical transformation is being forced on both the providers and consumers of technology, products and services. IBM is not alone in recognizing the need for change. They are, however, among the most aggressive in pursuing the transformation internally at the same time they work to educate and enable their customers in their efforts to deal with the challenges. Both are faced with an undertaking that is massive in scale and reach. It is not simply in the immediate impact of changes and pressures from technology. We are on the cusp of what is clearly going to be an on-going upheaval in markets, consumption patterns, innovation, workforce structure, delivery methods and enterprise operations.

Considering just IT and the necessity for it to be agile, scalable, adaptive, hybrid and heterogeneous, any enterprise wishing to survive has little choice, but to plan and determine how they will be impacted and what they must do. That is a task that requires a partner, and the task IBM is preparing itself to provide.

It is at Edge2015, as well as their other events, where they must convince the attendees of the success and benefits of IBM”s own on-going transformation. IBM must also demonstrate the wisdom and payoff realized by the clients, customers and partners joining in the effort. It’s our opinion that Edge2015 has made a significant contribution to that effort.

[1] Middleware barely encompasses the scope, significance and pervasiveness of the software underlying, enabling all infrastructure.