As every year, IBM invited the analyst community to Stamford, CT, for a deep dialogue on today's most important topics in enterprise IT. Here is a short overview for everyone interested in IBM's current world view.
1. It's all about the service. This is the core lesson to take away from the event. IBM has created a rating system for IT services, where the ones that are easy to consume and are architected for scalability and elasticity receive the highest score. Whenever new applications are created, developers should first explore how far they can get without any actual coding, just through combining existing services.
"The best code is the code you never write" - Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and WebSphere CTO
2. OpenStack is IBM's IaaS technology of choice. The company's goal is to ultimately enable workload portability and interoperability, based on the OpenStack platform. However, it is important to note, that despite the company's heavy OpenStack investments, IBM's next generation cloud could also work based on another IaaS framework, should OpenStack not turn out to be the winner of this race.
"It's all about the abstraction of the service" - Dave Lindquist, IBM Fellow and Tivoli Software CTO
3. OASIS TOSCA is the key standard to enable workload portability and interoperability between clouds. IBM is working on making OpenStack Heat TOSCA compliant, so that any workload that is described through the TOSCA standard could run on any OpenStack cloud.
"Having standards is irrelevant unless you have a way to validate compliance" - Jason McGee, IBM Fellow, CTO PureApplication System
4. The main goal of any cloud is to be developer friendly. Ultimately, cloud is today's new server and must provide developers with easy access to the services they need for scripting, authentication, data storage and so forth. CloudFoundry offers a standardized platform for developers to access standard frameworks and services.
"To enable your developers, you have to meet them where they are" - Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and WebSphere CTO
5. Analytics is key, not only for the business, but also for IT operations. IBM is heavily investing into adding analytics capabilities to pretty much any of its software solutions. Ultimately, any type of data -structured and unstructured- available to an enterprise can and should be analyzed and leveraged.
"A lot of technologies deal great with structured or unstructured information. The current and future challenge is bringing it all together" - Robert LeBlanc, Senior VP Middleware Software
6. System Patterns and Application Patterns are key for efficient workload deployment, operation and management. IBM is looking to gradually shift focus toward Application Patterns, as these offer a higher level of abstraction and therefore enable better agility when compared to System Patterns.
"Patterns understand the service context, while scripts are blind to their surroundings" - Jason McGee, IBM Fellow, CTO PureApplication System
7. Open standards are key at the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS level. IBM feels strongly about converging toward a core set of standards on each one of these levels for optimal support of the underlying storage, network and compute systems on the one hand and of developer centric services and application environments on the other.
"It's all about the app" - Danny Sabbah, CTO and GM, Next Generation Platform
8. Design is essential for any type of software. IBM's recently opened design center in Austin, TX, and the company hiring large numbers of user experience experts, demonstrate that IBM is serious about enhancing the user experience of existing and new software systems.
"It's about designing a vase vs. creating a way to better enjoy flowers in your home" - Phil Gilbert, Head of IBM Design
9. The SoftLayer acquisition was all about software, namely IMS (Infrastructure Management System). The ability to provision network, storage and server resources independently of the presence of a hypervisor, as well as the performance and security of the triple network architecture, make SoftLayer a key puzzle piece, as well as the next deployment target for systems and application patterns, within the IBM strategy.
"SoftLayer is all about speed" - Jim Comfort, General Manager, GTS Cloud Development & Delivery
10. PureSystems is one of IBM's areas of growths and like SoftLayer, PureSystems is a software play. Intelligent management software enables the consolidation and ongoing optimization of application workloads.
"Just turn it on and it works and learns" - Marie Wieck, General Manager, WebSphere Software