Although it does spend time with start-up communities that were born on the web, IBM’s methodology is finely tuned to deal with the level of complexity that can be found in global enterprises. “A lot of our cloud definition, as well as the features and functions of our portfolio, is shaped around supporting the enterprise client,” Robinson said. “We’ve typically observed that only around 15 to 20 percent of enterprise workloads have landed on the cloud.
“Now, these are very different to a born-on-the-cloud company that probably has all of its business functions residing on the public cloud; for an enterprise, there are limitations with regards to security, latency and performance, predictability of workload needs, and more. So we still think there’s 80 percent or more of workloads that have yet to begin on the cloud journey – that’s IBM’s sweet spot.”
While there are a few vendors in the market currently setting their sights on enterprise clients, many of them are simply trying to either replicate portions of their public cloud in the private space or develop applications to ease the movement of data towards their public model. “At IBM, even since the early days of our cloud, we’ve always envisioned it to resemble three islands closely bound together,” Robinson added. “These islands are private cloud, dedicated public cloud and multi-tenant public cloud.”
To ensure its architecture continues to function effectively, IBM takes a more holistic approach than most. “We’ve been very aggressive in modernising our middleware, containerising it and bringing it to all of those environments,” Rajaraman said. “And we’ve put a lot of focus in a common backplane across those three environments for management, integration and [application programming interface] connectivity, which again speeds up workloads moving in that direction.”
IBM has also started adapting its public cloud to this end. Aspects such as where it stores its data centres, how data is moved between those centres and the security around them are now more closely adapted to enterprises and how they move their workloads forward. “We’re beginning to see a common platform across private and public cloud, which has common architecture around it,” Robinson said. “There really is a focus on the full enterprise cloud journey.”
“I think we’re in a very unique position to ease that transition, meet them where they are, enhance what they’re doing and allow them to make some very logical and cohesive steps as they move out.”