IBM: Every business is a hybrid, multi-cloud enterprise
By Tracy Burrows for IBM South Africa
Cloud is a front and centre priority for every organisation, whether it has shifted its core workloads to cloud or has yet to do so; and every enterprise is set to become a hybrid, multi-cloud enterprise.
This is according to IBM Services MEA experts, speaking at an IBM Cloud Services Executive Forum in Johannesburg this week.
“94% of enterprises already use a mix of cloud models – or hybrid cloud – and 67% already use more than one cloud provider, each with their own proprietary tools and management systems. This trend will accelerate, and every enterprise will inevitably become a hybrid, multi-cloud enterprise in future,” said Anthony Butler, CTO and distinguished engineer.
IBM said the hybrid cloud approach would likely remain as enterprises would always keep certain systems and applications on-premises.
The multi-cloud model had been driven by the way in which cloud-based services had evolved and come to market; but in future, multi-cloud would be the model of choice to deliver stability and agility, allowing enterprises to avoid vendor lock-in, and move workloads and applications around to achieve cost benefits and geographic reach.
But this hybrid, multi-cloud environment could prove challenging to integrate and manage, IBM said.
“Around 70% of enterprises have not yet moved because of the complexity,” said Mark Hancox, director, IBM Global Technology Services.
“IBM Services has positioned itself to help enterprises make the move – no matter where they are in their journey and no matter what legacy infrastructures, cloud vendors and applications they want to manage in their environment.
“We have helped clients navigate multiple shifts in technology trends over the decades and this one is no different. We have invested in AI-based automation platforms that are cross-cloud and also cover onsite data centre operations, be they legacy or private cloud.
“We have also partnered with key vendors to enable a joined up and integrated platform for managing the next-generation open multi-cloud architectures,” noted Hancox.
“Open standards and open source are crucial in this new environment. Open allows you to write once, deploy anywhere and innovate anywhere,” explained Butler.
He said this year’s acquisition of Red Hat had enabled IBM to bring in a secure, open standards abstraction layer that overcame many of the challenges and concerns organisations had about their journey to the cloud.
IBM has transformed its software portfolio to be cloud-native and optimised it to run anywhere Red Hat OpenShift runs. This has resulted in new IBM Cloud Paks, pre-integrated sets of containerised IBM software that sit on Red Hat OpenShift and provide a common operating model and set of services.
Red Hat CTO Quentin Geldenhuys said: “Containers enable portability and flexibility, breaking development into micro-services so organisations can build fast, fail fast and move on. It allows them to innovate faster.”
With the ‘low-hanging fruit’ already in the cloud, IBM Services has positioned itself to take enterprises into the next chapter of cloud, where mission-critical workloads are migrated and modernised, giving enterprises the type of cloud-native agility their disruptive competitors have.
Nikitas Rigos, IS sales leader, Southern Africa Global Technology Services, noted the IBM Garage methodology helped customers make the move.
“Our customers are either modernising legacy applications or migrating infrastructure to the cloud. IBM Garage helps them achieve up to 25% acceleration on modernisation and migration, and up to 50% faster time to market on new product innovation,” he said.
Security is another critical factor in the journey to the cloud, emphasised Sheldon Hand, head of security software and services at IBM Southern Africa.
“Cloud can actually add complexities to data security; and these need to be carefully considered during the cloud journey.
“We can’t just assume the cloud service is providing all the security controls, governance and accountability that will be needed when data is no longer securely within our own data centres.
“Enterprises have to look at encryption and multi-factoral authentication, and they need increased visibility and control over the entire end-to-end environment.”
IBM Services delivers the advice, tools and resources to help customers mitigate security risk in their journey to the cloud, he said.
The division has also positioned itself to help customers overcome challenges such as vendor lock-in and skills shortages, said Bishu Panigrahi, managing partner, and Anél Strydom, digital strategy and interactive lead, enabling them to drive innovation “with the speed of a start-up at the scale of an enterprise”.