It’s about the journey and the destination

On the road to better IT 

I guess it is entirely possible to relocate to another city and bring none of your possessions with you.  Fly in, buy a house, and go shopping – everything new and shiny.  Furniture bought specifically for that house.  The realm of possibilities though is not the same as probability.  It is more likely that you will need to assess your belongings, decide what to take, pack up your stuff, and make it work in your new home.

This is also the scenario when an enterprise moves to cloud computing.  It might be possible to just get rid of all the applications you support today and start from scratch with all born-in-the-cloud applications, but it wouldn’t make a lot of practical sense.  The cloud destination requires a journey that allows you to bring along and transform your existing infrastructure and applications while developing new applications for the cloud.

This thought of the “journey and destination” is what I took away from recent announcements by IBM.  IBM’s strategy is to help with both elements of IT transformation, and to provide the expertise required to make it a smooth ride.  Let me give you a few examples.

With any journey, you have to have a plan – a roadmap.  A good cloud plan starts with a workload analysis – what are the applications you run and manage today, and what is the cloud affinity of each?  There are a number of ways to move workloads to the cloud but you need to know what is possible and what the options are.  IBM is leveraging years of experience and thousands of customer engagements in the newly announced services for “Strategy and Planning for Cloud.”  IBM’s experts can help an enterprise layout a strategy and plan for an orderly transition and transformation to the cloud.

Another key consideration for IT transformation is making sure you have a strategic infrastructure plan that will accommodate your existing applications in a cloud-delivered model – both private and public.  Any reasonable-sized enterprise will have some applications running inside the firewall in a “private cloud” model while running other applications outside the firewall in the “public cloud” model.  Having a vendor that understands this requirement and can deliver an infrastructure in both settings is critical. IBM’s recent announcements of “IBM PureFlex System” and “IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+” address this need.

IBM PureFlex is designed for cloud, a next generation system for deploying heterogeneous workloads all from one secure and scalable infrastructure.  IBM PureFlex System is an 800-plus core compute monster that can run both Intel and Power workloads.  It supports all the major hypervisors and has a built-in provisioning engine for rapid spin-up and deployment of virtualized workloads.  Networking and storage systems also coexist in the rack, so you essentially get a private cloud-in-a-box that can handle a wide range of your existing applications.

IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ was developed with the same design point but for a public cloud infrastructure – running existing workloads on a secure, scalable, pay-as-you-go public cloud infrastructure.  IBM took the years of knowledge and expertise gained from running hundreds of client data centers around the world to build a cloud delivery model that meets the stringent requirements of production workloads.  The “plus” in “Enterprise+” represents the built-in managed services that are included with the infrastructure, including back-up, monitoring, intrusion detection, and patch management.  Enterprise+ has been designed with the most demanding workloads in mind, including instances of SAP.

Finally, when you get to your destination, you want to have your next generation of applications built for the cloud and exploit the power and efficiency that a cloud delivery model affords.  Once again, this needs to be true for workloads developed for both the private cloud environment and that can run in a public cloud model.  IBM’s vision of a true “platform-as-a-service” (PaaS) has been delivered in the recent announcements of “PureApplication System” and “IBM SmartCloud Application Services.”

Both of these systems contain the same platform technology – a robust set of Application Lifecycle, Application Runtime and Application Management services – that moves the role of middleware into the cloud.  As with any good PaaS environment, this allows you to develop for the cloud and then seamlessly deploy into the cloud.

PureApplication System is built on the PureFlex System, so inherits all the benefits mentioned above for running a highly scalable private cloud.  It contains a set of pre-defined patterns that allow for easy provisioning and management of even the most complex multi-tier applications.  This same infrastructure is delivered on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise to provide a PaaS model that works across both a private and public cloud infrastructure.

Team IBM is ready to help you with your journey and your destination – talk to your IBM representative to see what is the best path for you in transforming an IT infrastructure to the cloud.