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IBM's Cloud Pak For Data On Red Hat OpenShift Changes the Competitive Cloud Landscape

By THOMAS HRONIS posted Fri November 15, 2019 10:19 AM


IBM customers are finding significant value in our Cloud Pak for Data offering. Virtualization, container management, lift and shift, and quick micro-service deployment are just some of the exciting capabilities of this new platform. 

As IBM goes up against Google, AWS, and Microsoft, competing for cloud business can be fierce, especially on price. Price, however, isn't always the biggest issue. It's about solving problems, helping customers become agile and providing real competitive advantages for their businesses. To accomplish this, we need to understand our customers’existing pain points and the ability to address the pain points in an efficient manner. Furthermore, most existing customers have very advanced on premise environments (with some cloud deployment), and many are still struggling to develop their long term cloud strategies. This is why IBM refers to the future as "hybrid", as IBM believes customers will leverage both on premise and multiple cloud environments to power their businesses. Not everything can be in public clouds.

This poses the question. Are IBM's competitors focusing on moving customers towards hybrid environments? The answer is: Maybe, but let's go over some history first. 

A few years ago, everyone expected customers to move to cloud. In most cases, it was public cloud or bust. The media created a perception that public cloud adoption was the only option, and it created the impression that most organizations were moving to public cloud practically overnight. Software sales teams were faced with questions from customers like, "We've chosen AWS as our cloud vendor!" "Do ALL of your products work on AWS? If not, we can't consider you as viable." This was the early attitude, but once again, situations have changed, in just a short period of time.

Today, I've noticed that firms like AWS, Microsoft and Google have new on premise offerings to complement their original cloud offerings (especially AWS and Google). Those offerings are primarily built on open source with some additional functionality added. Some of the offerings might be proprietary, but here's the problem - Whether those firms offer on premise, hybrid or "cloud only" offerings, they want you to use THEIR cloud! 

If you're a customer, are you ok with this this? Many customers have expressed concern that these scenarios could lead to vendor lock in. 

IBM is taking a different approach. It doesn't mind what cloud environments customers are using. IBM’s recent acquisition of Red Hat is a perfect example of justifying this. OpenShift is built to support containerized environments in multiple clouds. IBM Cloud Pak for Data allows you to deploy micro-services, govern, and virtualize your data on OpenShift. Another significant advantage of the combined offerings is that micro-services are often deployed in hours vs. weeks, which justifies costs. They also give you mobility. 

An example of mobility, is that, you'll be able to move from one cloud vendor to another with minimal impact to your business for whatever reason you choose. If your cloud vendor isn’t in alignment with your business goals, the containerization and multi-cloud support allow you to move, without complexity. If you are not happy with your cloud vendor’s new pricing arrangements after contract's expire, no problem.

As Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift evolve, you'll be seeing more and more products natively deployable through these platforms. This is good for competition. In fact, you will also see competitor's micro-services available via the combined offerings, and here's why. Just recently, IBM signed an agreement to resell Enterprise DB, which gives IBM customers first class Postgres SQL support. IBM also has agreements with vendors like MongoDB, which can also be deployed on Cloud Pak for Data. IBM's own products, like Db2, can be deployed via Cloud Pak for Data "Cartridges". 

Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift will definitely stir the pot. IBM sales teams, for example, can ask AWS customers to consult with AWS sales representatives to see if they would support them running Dynamo DB on other clouds (and on premise at the same time). Google and Microsoft will be faced with the same questions.

Hybrid and multi-cloud are finally getting the attention they've deserved. Exciting times ahead!

Don't believe me? See for yourself. Take a product tour of Cloud Pak for Data on Red Hat Open Shift (on managed IBM cloud). Go to IBM demos to find out how powerful this combination of products is for our customers.