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Thoughts on Cloud asked a virtual roundtable of cloud experts and analysts to weigh in on the IBM Multicloud Manager announcement and the future of multicloud. Check out part one for each participant’s bio and additional insight.
Thoughts on Cloud: How important is avoiding vendor lock-in with regard to enterprise cloud environments?
Jo Peterson: It’s a concern that we hear clients discuss. The issues we hear raised are just how difficult it would be to move to another provider if things were to go sideways. Customers think about the risk associated with data transfer, application transfer, infrastructure transfer and something I call “tribal knowledge.”
Tribal knowledge is the idea that perhaps there is a key team in your organization that has been working with a cloud solutions provider (CSP) for a period of time. This team has gained a strong understanding of CSP tools and configurations. What if it’s only one guy that deals with the CSP and that guy leaves the organization? It could be a big deal. The organization would have to quickly replace that person or outsource management of the cloud services.
Chris Penn: From both a marketing technology and IT perspective, where cloud computing has gone wrong, and where IBM Multicloud Manager as well as IBM Cloud Private for Data can help remediate, is the lack of governance, policy and security that cloud computing’s ease has created. Developers are spinning up containers all over the place, marketing technology vendors have hooks into multiple clouds with no clear governance and executives are buying things they don’t really understand as long as it has the word AI in it. The ability to set master policies in Multicloud Manager and IBM Cloud Private for Data and have those policies translated and rolled out across the enterprise is vital, and the centralization means speed of reaction.
So, avoiding vendor lock-in isn’t as big a deal today as it was 20 years ago, in the days when you would park millions of dollars in proprietary hardware in your server room and hope to the deity of your preference that you made the right choice. A benefit of cloud
Sriram Subramanian: In my view, avoiding vendor lock-in is not as important as interoperability. Lock-ins happen at various levels and enterprises invariably get into some type of lock-in. Instead of focusing on vendor lock-in at the infrastructure level, they are better off focusing on interoperability and portability.
Bill Mew: CIOs still bear the scars from mistakes made with the last generation of technology. Many found themselves locked in to vendor platforms for decades as a result, with some of these vendors gaining a reputation for hostile license review practices. Few CIOs are willing to make the same mistakes again. And many see multicloud as the answer and want to ensure that they have the portability to be able to move workloads to optimize their cloud usage.
Tony Flath: No vendor is key. Open source is key. Kubernetes is key, as well as true big data analytics and data science design enablement. Companies need the ability to effectively manage multiple cloud providers and multiple platforms all through one console without vendor lock-in. It is so important to stop data bias, data silos and other roadblocks that exist today.
Swarna Podila: “Lock-in,” in general, is inevitable. The “type” of lock-in is purely dependent on enterprise preferences and their internal team’s abilities. One extremity of this spectrum consists of enterprises that tie themselves tightly with a commercial vendor. On the other end of the spectrum are users that lock themselves in with their IT team and adopt open source solutions. The user needs to understand their strengths and weaknesses before deciding where on this spectrum they’d like to position themselves. In my opinion, IBM Multicloud Manager positions IBM strongly with users at any position on this spectrum.
ToC: Do you think enterprises will see IBM Multicloud Manager as a solution to an oncoming problem with complexity? Why or why not?
Sriram Subramanian: Yes. Multicloud management is not trivial. Ensuring consistency across different platforms, abstraction layers, APIs and price points increases non-linearly across multiple environments. One can expect that enterprises will see IBM Multicloud Manager as an end-to-end solution to tame this complexity.
Jo Peterson: Absolutely. Keeping an environment consistent and being able to support the agility that the business demands via governance and scalable upgrades, all enabled by a common control panel is a big deal. All the better if it’s an open source tool that can work between clouds.
Bill Mew: Complexity has always been an issue, given the heterogeneous nature of most IT environments. The latest generation of container technologies, like Kubernetes and cloud management tools like IBM Multicloud Manager, are part of the answer. All too often, though, the focus is on application migration — the main challenge when moving to the cloud — rather than data management, the main challenge once in the cloud. Organizations have data volumes growing at exponential rates, but budgets that are flat at best. Multicloud data storage and management will come back to bite them in the future if they don’t plan ahead.
Bill Jensen: For 30 years, I’ve been studying enterprise complexity and searching for better paths to simplicity. Multicloud Manager is one of the best simplification tools I’ve seen in a long time.
Tony Flath: Yes. Emerging technologies like AI, deep learning, predictive analytics, and neural networks require mass amounts of data, advanced data analytics capabilities and thousands of VMs running across various clusters to support advanced capabilities.
Swarna Podila: When implemented and executed well, IBM Multicloud Manager has significant potential to reduce the complexity of managing through multiple systems of truth for IT admins.
Ready to explore how to more efficiently run your enterprise multicloud environment? Learn more about IBM Multicloud Manager. With built-in support for security and compliance, IBM Multicloud Manager simplifies and organizes large environments. Read how the complementary IBM and Red Hat cloud strategies support companies on their hybrid cloud journey.