IBM’s Cloud Announcements – Not Just Fluff

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System management announcements can be vague; stir in the cloud and you have a recipe for complete incoherence. But IBM’s cloud announcements have substance, analysts say.

IBM has blitzed the IT management world with a set of announcements designed to show it can manage clouds, and can give CIOs the ability to keep control of the ever-increasing flexibility of virtualized and cloud-sourced IT structures. 

While virtualization and the cloud have become popular visions for more sustainable and cost-effective IT, the management part of the puzzle has been lacking, according to analysts commenting on a “dynamic infrastructure” strategy to handle the new wave of corporate IT, announced by IBM’s Tivoli division at the Pulse 2009 service management event in Las Vegas.

Alongside the slogan, IBM also appointed an executive, Erich Clementi, to managed the company’s cloud computing services, which offer outsourced web-based IT to customers including Elizabeth Arden, and partnered with Juniper Networks to boost its cloud offering, while it also announced several new storage-related products.

Like all strategic announcements in the system management field, whether from IBM or rivals such as CA Unicenter and HP OpenView, “Smart Planet”, looks vague and amorphous – but analysts believe the company is addressing a real concern, once you penetrate the marketing veneer.

“Dynamic infrastructure represents the place that the IT community has been talking about trying to get to for a long time,” said analyst Martin Atherton, research director at Freeform Dynamics. “Today we’re talking, bluntly, about virtualising the pants off everything and managing the hell out of it. Do the first bit and ignore the second, and we’re in danger of making a really big mess.”

Virtualization has entered the mainstream market’s collective unconscious, and some leading edge companies are moving virtual servers around in data centres, and IBM bought specialist company MRO Software a few years ago to help make this all manageable enough for the average firm, said Atherton.

“The big question is, where do I start?” said Atherneton. “IBM is addressing this with a framework that is pragmatic and sensible – and it is also actionable, as it gives organisations something to take and build on, in whichever combinations they need to.” .

“Tivoli was criticised in the past for having enterprise solutions that were too complex and took too much time to derive value,” said Nick Drabble, Datacentre Transformation Leader, at IBM Tivoli. “We went though a process to re-engineer the old framework approach to a modular approach that users can implement a piece at a time.”

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