IBM's Cloud Pak For Data on Red Hat OpenShift Changes the Competitive Cloud Landscape

5 min read

Looking ahead to the evolution of Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift.

IBM customers are finding significant value in our IBM Cloud Pak for Data offering. Capabilities such as data virtualization, container management, lift and shift, and quick microservice deployments are just some of the exciting features of this data and AI platform.

Looking toward a hybrid, multicloud future

As IBM Cloud goes up against Google, AWS, and Microsoft, competing for cloud business can be fierce, especially on price. Price, however, isn't always the biggest issue. It's about solving problems, helping customers become agile and providing real competitive advantages for their businesses. To accomplish this, we need to understand our customers’ existing pain points and the ability to address the pain points in an efficient manner.

Furthermore, most existing customers have very advanced on-premises environments (with some cloud deployment), and many are still struggling to develop their long-term cloud strategies. This is why IBM refers to the future as "hybrid, multicloud"—IBM believes customers will leverage both on-premises and multiple cloud environments to power their businesses. Not everything can be in public clouds.

This poses the question—are IBM's competitors focusing on moving customers towards hybrid multicloud environments? The answer is: Maybe, but let's go over some history first. 

Avoiding the trap of vendor lock-in

A few years ago, everyone expected customers to move to cloud. In most cases, it was public cloud or bust. The media created a perception that public cloud adoption was the only option, and it created the impression that most organizations were moving to public cloud practically overnight. Software sales teams were faced with questions from customers like, "We've chosen AWS as our cloud vendor! Do ALL of your products work on AWS? If not, we can't consider you as viable." This was the early attitude, but situations have changed in just a short period of time.

Today, I've noticed that firms like AWS, Microsoft, and Google have new on-premises offerings to complement their original cloud offerings (especially AWS and Google). Those offerings are primarily built on open source with some additional functionality added. Some of the offerings might be proprietary but here's the problem—whether those firms offer on-premises, hybrid, or "cloud only" offerings, they want you to use THEIR cloud!

If you're a customer, are you okay with this this? Many customers have expressed concern that these scenarios could lead to vendor lock-in.

IBM is taking a different approach

It doesn't matter what cloud environments customers are using, and IBM’s recent acquisition of Red Hat is a perfect example of justifying this. Red Hat OpenShift is built to support containerized environments in multiple clouds. IBM Cloud Pak for Data allows you to deploy microservices, govern, and virtualize your data on OpenShift. Check out this infographic for more details on the value of OpenShift on the platform. Another significant advantage of the combined offerings is that microservices are often deployed in hours vs. weeks, which justifies costs.

They also give you mobility. An example of mobility is that you'll be able to move from one cloud vendor to another with minimal impact to your business for whatever reason you choose.  If your cloud vendor isn’t in alignment with your business goals, the containerization and multicloud support allow you to move without complexity.  If you are not happy with your cloud vendor’s new pricing arrangements after contracts expire, no problem.

IBM Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift

As Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift evolve, you'll be seeing more and more products natively deployable through these platforms. This is good for competition.

In fact, you will also see competitors’ microservices available on the platform, and here's why: Cloud Pak for Data supports a growing ecosystem. Just recently, for example, IBM signed an agreement to resell EnterpriseDB, which gives IBM customers first-class PostgreSQL support.  IBM also has agreements with vendors like MongoDB, which can be deployed on Cloud Pak for Data. IBM's own products, like Db2, can be deployed via microservices in Cloud Pak for Data.

Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift will definitely stir the pot. IBM sales teams, for example, can ask AWS customers to consult with AWS sales representatives to see if they would support them running DynamoDB on other clouds (and on-premises at the same time). Google and Microsoft will be faced with the same questions.

Hybrid cloud and multicloud are finally getting the attention they've deserved.  Exciting times ahead!

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