A future of powerful clouds

By | 5 minute read | December 10, 2019

In a very good way, the future is filled with clouds.

In the realm of information technology, this statement is especially true. Already, the majority of organizations worldwide are taking advantage of more than one cloud provider.[1] IBM calls this a “hybrid multicloud” environment – “hybrid” meaning both on- and off-premises resources are involved, and “multicloud” denoting more than one cloud provider.

Businesses, research facilities and government entities are rapidly moving to hybrid multicloud environments for some very compelling reasons. Customers and constituents are online and mobile. Substantial CapEx can be saved by leveraging cloud-based infrastructure. Driven by new microservices-based architectures, application development can be faster and less complex. Research datasets may be shared more easily. Many business applications are now only available from the cloud.

Container technologies are the foundation of microservices-based architectures and a key enabler of hybrid multicloud environments. Microservices are a development approach where large applications are built as a suite of modular components or services. Over 90 percent of surveyed enterprises are using or have plans to use microservices.[2]

Containers enable applications to be packaged with everything needed to run identically in any environment. Designed to be very flexible, lightweight and portable, containers will be used to run applications in everything from traditional and cloud data centers, to cars, cruise ships, airport terminals and even gateways to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Container technologies offer many benefits. Because of their lower overhead, containers offer better application start-up performance. They provide near bare metal speeds so management operations (boot, reboot, stop, etc.) can be done in seconds — or even milliseconds — while typical virtual machine (VM) operations may take minutes to complete. And the benefits don’t stop there. Applications typically depend on numerous libraries for correct execution. Seemingly minor changes in library versions can result in applications failing, or even worse, providing inconsistent results. This can make moving applications from one system to another — or out on to the cloud — problematic.

Containers, on the other hand, can make it very easy to package and move an application from one system to another. Users can run the applications they need, where they need them, while administrators can stop worrying about library clashes or helping users get their applications working in specific environments.

Nearly half of all enterprises are planning to start utilizing containers as soon as practical. In terms of use cases, the majority of these IT leaders say they will employ containers to build cloud-native applications. Nearly a third of surveyed organizations plan to use containers for cloud migrations and modernizing legacy applications. That suggests that beyond using them to build new microservices-based applications, containers are starting to play a critical role in migrating applications to the cloud.[3]

But no one will be leveraging containers to build and manage enterprise hybrid multicloud environments without a powerful, purpose-built infrastructure.

IBM and Red Hat are two industry giants that have recognized the crucial role that IT infrastructure will play in enabling the container-driven multicloud architectures needed to support the ERP, database, big data and artificial intelligence (AI)-based applications that will power business and research far into the future.

Along with proven reliability and leading-edge functionality, two key ingredients of any effective infrastructure supporting and enabling multicloud environments are simplicity and automation. Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and the many IBM Storage Solutions designed to support the Platform are purpose-engineered to automate and simplify the majority of management, monitoring and configuration tasks associated with the new multicloud environments. Thus, IT operations and application development staff can spend less time keeping the lights on and more time innovating.

Red Hat is the market leader in providing enterprise container platform software.[4] The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is an enterprise-ready Kubernetes container platform with full-stack automated operations to manage hybrid cloud and multicloud deployments. The Platform includes an enterprise-grade Linux operating system plus container runtime, networking, monitoring, container registry, authentication and authorization solutions. These components are tested together for unified operations on a complete Kubernetes platform spanning virtually any cloud.  

IBM and Red Hat have been working together to develop and offer storage solutions that support and enhance OpenShift functionality. In fact, IBM was one of the first enterprise storage vendors on Red Hat’s OperatorHub. IBM Storage for Red Hat OpenShift solutions provide a comprehensive, validated set of tools, integrated systems and flexible architectures that enable enterprises to implement modern container-driven hybrid multicloud environments that can reduce IT costs and enhance business agility.

IBM Storage solutions are designed to address modern IT infrastructure requirements. They incorporate the latest technologies, including NVMe, high performance scalable file systems and intelligent volume mapping for container deployments. These solutions provide pre-tested and validated deployment and configuration blueprints designed to facilitate implementation and reduce deployment risks and costs.

Everything from best practices to configuration and deployment guidance is available to make IBM Storage solutions easier and faster to deploy. IBM Storage provides solutions for a very wide range of container-based IT environments, including Kubernetes, Red Hat OpenShift, and the new IBM Cloud Paks. IBM is continually designing, testing, and adding to the performance, functionality, and cost-efficiency of solutions such as IBM Spectrum Virtualize and IBM Spectrum Scale software, IBM FlashSystem and Elastic Storage Server data systems and IBM Cloud Object Storage.

To accelerate business agility and gain more value from the full spectrum of ERP, database, AI, and big data applications, organizations of all types and sizes are rapidly moving to hybrid multicloud environments. Container technologies are helping to drive this transformation. IBM Storage for Red Hat OpenShift automates and simplifies container-driven hybrid multicloud environments.

The future may be filled with clouds, but that doesn’t mean your vision for success needs to be anything but crystal clear. Learn more about how you can leverage the innovation and market reach of IBM Storage and Red Hat OpenShift to transform your business.

[1] IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Enterprise Infrastructure 2018 Predictions, October 2017, IDC #US43137417

[2]MarektsInsider: New Research Reveals Record Growth in Microservices Is Disrupting the Operational Landscape, May 2018 https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/new-research-reveals-record-growth-in-microservices-is-disrupting-the-operational-landscape-1023107303

[3] Diamanti: 2018 Container Adoption Benchmark Survey, https://diamanti.com/wpcontent/uploads/2018/07/WP_Diamanti_End-User_Survey_072818.pdf

[4] Forrester: The Forrester New WaveTM: Enterprise Container

Platform Software Suites, Q4 2018, October 2018 (q42018-analyst-paper-f14768-201810-en.pdf)