This post was contributed by Darren Argyle, World Wide Security Solutions Market Leader for IBM Security. Connect with Darren on Twitter @D_Argyle.
It's been over a week since I attended IBM InterConnect in Singapore, and with some great customer feedback still ringing in my ears, I thought it timely to provide some reflective thoughts.
For the most part I was sharing my days and evenings with our valued customers from the region, either in the �meet the expert� sessions, hosting them in the evening or sitting in with them in the 'hot topic' sessions (Defending Against Cyber Threats with Security Intelligence) that Brendan Hannigan (IBM GM Security Systems division) was leading. Mitigating new attacks from cyber-criminals, hacktivists, espionage, & disgruntled insiders dominated client discussions, and in an evolving multiple-perimeter environment, and particularly when using cloud computing, being confident that your data is safe becomes an even greater challenge.
The business benefits of cloud are well documented, reduced costs and increased flexibility, but many still fear taking those first steps toward optimizing their IT because of concerns about security. These concerns reminded me of the early days of outsourcing, a perceived loss of control and visibility of their enterprise systems, however with agreed security controls and operational security governance in place, outsourcing vendors, such as IBM, have been able to demonstrate a level of control that clients and auditors find satisfactory. At the foundation of cloud computing is the broader concept of converged infrastructure and shared services, so it�s easy to see where these concerns come from. For private/hybrid clouds in particular, it�s especially important that the security solution technologies are scalable, integrated and intelligent to protect against new threats, regain visibility and demonstrate compliance with activity monitoring and security intelligence.
EXA Corporation was in attendance at IBM InterConnect, and their experience provides us with an excellent case study for securing private/hybrid cloud. EXA has multiple offices across Japan and was faced with the challenge of how to best manage various servers located in each office, while also providing secure access and defending the enterprise from attacks. Working with IBM they embarked on a risk based security approach to cloud computing and built a secure hybrid private cloud. They were able to integrate proprietary and external data centers as one virtual data center and by deploying federated identity manager software they were able make it transparent to users. This mechanism has unified the management of user information, enabled the single sign-on based on a single ID, improved the customer experience and usability of the system, and created a secure authentication environment. See full case study here.
Moreover, in a �meet the expert� session I was hosting on cloud security, a similar discussion started with a CISO from an Indian organization; they were looking to build a private cloud to improve SAP service delivery speed and quality to their distributed business units across India. The CISO was particularly concerned about defending against the increasing cyber attacks that were highly publicized during 2011 and the first half of 2012 (see IBM X-Force Reports 2011/2012) and was curious as to what additional security controls he�d need to consider for cloud. Having quickly established that he�d already gained support from his senior executive team and security was already embedded into the design phase of this new project, his organization was well on its way to a successful outcome. So, we talked about the next set of priorities and I offered some advice based on the approach we have taken with other customers, using the IBM security framework as a reference point to show how security solutions need to integrate and enable security intelligence, to stay ahead of the threat and be protected against the latest sophisticated attacks (learn more in the IBM Cloud Security Solutions brief)
When securing cloud there is no one size fits all, so building a cloud strategy roadmap with security at its heart and using a proven security framework as a reference point (including - people, data, applications and infrastructure), you have transparency of the risks and appreciation of the accelerated value that can be gained from using the cloud. In today�s multi-perimeter environments corporate data is stored in so many places, making sure that data is safe and can be accessed securely is now a business priority when competing on a world stage. The media headlines about a business should be about growth and profitability, not being a victim of a security breach and causing shareholder confidence to drop. A �secure� cloud environment provides the opportunity for business to innovate with confidence, be more agile and be faster to market.
Please engage with me directly for further discussion on twitter @D_Argyle, also see IBM SmartCloud Security video.
This post is contributed by Darren Argyle, World Wide Security Solutions Market Leader.
After nearly falling asleep at the wheel of my car one evening and narrowly avoiding slamming into a wall, I was reminded of just how important having good brakes on my car is. When we consider safety on our cars, I think we can draw some comparisons to the safeguards we can apply to cloud computing; let me explain.
Security remains the biggest objection to cloud computing, and the number one inhibitor to broad scale adoption. IT leaders are expected to enable the business, innovate and do more for less; cloud computing presents this opportunity. However, IT departments are concerned with reduced visibility into cloud data centers, less control over security policies, new threats facing shared environments and the complexity of demonstrating compliance. These concerns are especially magnified in public-cloud environments in which there is no physical access to the cloud infrastructure. In the rush to build out new cloud computing capabilities by new entrants to the market, we�re seeing concerns being raised by those responsible for making the decisions on the purchase of cloud. As long as these perceptions persist in the minds of those leaders considering cloud, concerns about security and lack of trust will continue to hamper broad cloud adoption.
Changing perceptions about cloud security
So can these perceptions be changed? Back to the car; let us consider the safety that is built into our cars and how understating these principles helps us see security as an enabler for cloud. In your car, firmly pressing the accelerator pedal increases the speed, but without brakes on your car, you�re more likely to take things a little more steady, in fact you may even decide not to drive in that car at all. Having good brakes on a car gives you the confidence to accelerate faster and reach your destination safely. This same principle applies to the cloud, to take advantage of everything that cloud computing promises; scalability, flexibility and reduced costs, we need to ensure the security controls (brakes) are built in, are fit for purpose and regularly tested.
As more organizations consider embracing cloud, whether its designing a new cloud service, deploying data and workloads to the cloud, or consuming information from cloud-based services, a holistic view of security and a strong understanding of risks associated with each domain (people, data, applications, infrastructure) are necessary to keep up with constantly-changing cloud infrastructures. A responsive, integrated, end-to-end security framework is needed, centered around three distinct phases: design, deploy and consume. These phases are very similar to those of a traditional application development life cycle, security control points are included as part of a quality checkpoint, as we move through each phase. For building private/hybrid clouds in particular, it�s especially important that the security solution technologies are scalable, integrated and intelligent to protect against new threats, regain visibility and demonstrate compliance with activity monitoring and security intelligence.
Managing risks in a new environment
We should still apply existing good practice security standards and controls, but we need to recognize what�s different and where we need to pay special attention. Multi-tenancy is one such example; protecting against unauthorized access to system resources, business applications and data becomes even more of a priority, cloud introduces a new tier of privileged users: administrators and operating personnel working for the cloud provider. Handing some level of control of security to a third party in a multi-tenanted cloud infrastructure can be daunting, but with proper security agreements, process, technology and trained people to manage these environments, risks can be managed to a satisfactory level.
As cloud computing advances forward they�ll be a greater need to address security concerns collectively, rather than in industry silos. The cost of not working together will be a lack of trust and cloud computing could fall short of its promise. Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC) is dedicated to accelerating cloud's successful adoption, and drilling down into the standards, security and interoperability issues surrounding the transition to the cloud. IBM is founding member of CSCC and is working across industry, helping shape secure cloud computing for the future.
A �secure� cloud environment provides the opportunity for business to innovate with confidence, be more agile and be faster to market. Visit http://www.ibm.com/security/announce/ to learn more about the newest in cloud security offerings from IBM.
IBM to make its cloud services and software open source-based. The move ensures that innovation in cloud computing won�t be hampered by locking customers into proprietary islands of insecure, difficult-to-manage offerings. This was easily the most clicked-on item in our Pulse recap. Read the press release, and learn more about IBM leadership in cloud open standards.
Grady Booch and Tim O�Reilly share five secrets for building engaging apps. In this webcast, IBM Fellows Grady Booch and Jerry Cuomo joined O�Reilly Media founder Tim O�Reilly (who will also be speaking at IBM Impact 2013) and Google�s Angela Chang to discuss five development principles for creating enterprise-quality, high-value, engaging customer apps � and for creating them fast. Replay the webcast on demand.
Celebrate 30 years of DB2 for z/OS � with a glimpse at the next release. It�s true: IBM DB2, which began its life on the mainframe, turns 30 this year. This recent webcast covers the latest advances in DB2 10 - including the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator and new synergies with IBM zEnterprise� EC12 � PLUS provides a peek at plans for the next release, DB2 11. Watch it on demand.
Guest post from Kathy Konkel, Product Marketing and GTM Strategy, IBM Business Analytics
At one of the recent IBM Performance events, Paul DePodesta, vice president of player development with the New York Mets, talked about his experiences working with the Oakland A�s Billy Beane to create winning teams and completely change the business of professional baseball.
One of the techniques they used to test the way they were approaching the business was to relentlessly ask �the naive question.� This is a concept he credited to Peter Drucker and, in everything they did, they would ask, �If we weren't already doing it this way, is it the way we would start?�
This is not always easy to do and this question is not always met with open minds, but it can be very effective when a new kind of thinking is needed in order to survive.
I thought about this in terms of some of the challenges our customers face when it comes to deployingbusiness analyticswithin their organization � from operational process to infrastructure to culture.
Most organizations today are still not at the point where they are able to take advantage of analytics. (Those interested can measure your organization�s analytics maturity by taking theAnalytics Quotient (AQ) assessment.)
Part of this reason is that IT organizations are spending 70 percent of their resources just keeping the lights on. That�s a lot of overhead and doesn�t leave much room for innovation.
So let�s ask the naive question, �If you were starting over with your IT infrastructure � would you build it the same way?� Maybe the answers are in the cloud.
When Chet Karwatowski was building the infrastructure forSupplier Connection, a web-based portal that makes it easier for small businesses to become recognized as potential suppliers to large companies, he knew business analytics was going to play an important role in his application, but he knew he didn�t have the skills or resources to set up the infrastructure he needed. He turned toIBM cloud computingsolutions to help him deliver his solution with fewer resources and on a very aggressive schedule.
Organizations like Chet�s are using the power of cloud to build enduring customer relationships, deliver IT without boundaries, improve speed and dexterity and transform the economics of innovation.
Putting the two together, cloud-based analytics could be a way to help organizations advance in their analytics sophistication � and quickly.
Part of this forum included a panel discussion with customers who had implemented analytics solutions using a cloud-based infrastructure.
The main message from all of the panel participants was the benefit of lower costs and allowing them to focus on adding value to the business instead of managing a complex IT infrastructure gave them a competitive advantage.
In addition to Chet, Kevin Hurd fromAssimil8, an IBM Business Partner, talked about the efficiencies they were able to achieve when they implemented a solution for Energy Saving Trust (EST) in the UK. Read the recent press release.
EST launched a new �Home Analytics� service based onIBM Cognosand IBM SmartCloud Enterprisethat is the primary tool in its efforts to help energy suppliers, green deal providers and local government reduce domestic CO2 emissions across the UK.
They were able to deliver a solution in just a few weeks that would have taken months if they would have had to build up the infrastructure themselves, while still satisfying its own stringent criteria for energy efficient solutions.
Like Paul Depodesta, the Supplier Network and EST, staying on top of the game means always asking the naive question � even when it�s not obvious that a change is needed.
Have you considered a cloud based infrastructure for your next set ofbusiness analyticssolutions?
Following the success of the inaugural IBM InterConnect last year, Singapore has again been selected to host this IBM global event that is expected to receive more than 2,500 clients, business partners and industry leaders from around the world at Marina Bay Sands from October 9th to October 11th, 2013.
IBM InterConnect 2013 is uniquely special as our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ginni Rometty, will be speaking at InterConnect to share her vision on the New Era of Smart.
As our key priority, we want to feature the broad range of our client successes at this event. We are looking for YOUR stories and best practices with topics covering Cloud, Mobile, Social, Big Data & Analytics, Expert Integrated Systems, Security, and Smarter Commerce. If your role is in marketing, finance, IT, HR or operations, we want to share your real-world examples. Take a look at the dates below and speaker guidelines here.
Call for Speakers closes - August 16, 2013
Speakers notified - August 30, 2013
Final presentations due - September 20, 2013
Conference begins - October 9, 2013
Register and submit your experiences today at www.ibm.com/interconnect! For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm not normally one to engage in bad puns, but in this case I couldn't resist. You see, when more than 8,000 service management professionals descend upon the MGM Grand for our annual IBM Pulse conference and start tweeting, it's bound to cause some tremors in my social channels.
The theme of this year's conference is "Enabling Business Without Limits," and over the next four days attendees will learn how to fundamentally and cost-effectively change the economics of IT and speed the delivery of innovative products and services.
With a curriculum boasting top-notch education, networking and just a little big of fun, Pulse 2012 is helping today�s leaders react with agility in changing competitive landscapes, reduce vulnerability throughout the service lifecycle, and continuously improve the business impact of the technology.
Pulse 2012 will address a multitude of audiences and industries with sessions that demonstrate how to apply the tools and best practices to help your organization achieve business without limits through:
Transitioning to smarter, more flexible delivery models such as cloud
Converging digital and physical infrastructures to improve economics and speed service delivery
Managing rapid growth in data, security threats and compliance requirements
Leveraging mobile, web and instrumented endpoints
The discussion started in the opening general session, in which IBM Tivoli VP Scott Hebner, SVP Software Middleware Robert LeBlanc and Tivoli GM Danny Sabbah outlined the ways in which organizations can gain the Visibility, Control and Automation they need to achieve said "Business without Limits.� Live video was available through our Livesstream channel and we'll be covering the opening keynotes for the next three days, so be sure to check the schedule over on the Pulse Web site.
Speaking of staying connected:
Here are the other ways you can feel the Pulse and even help speed it up from wherever you are:
Follow the #IBMPulse Twitter tag or any of our Twitter accounts like @ibmpulse, @ibmtivoli or @ibmcloud.
Follow our intrepid and inexhaustible blogger, "Turbo" Todd Watson for a relentless stream of insightful posts on the event in near real-time or watch him and his partner Scott Laningham interview IBM experts on Livestream.
Bookmark the IBM Pulse Web site for info on speakers, agenda topics and live video.
Pulse comes to a close with nothing less than a discussion with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and we're giving you the chance to ask the questions! Submit your question via Twitter with the tag #askwoz and be sure to watch if your question is selected!
My counter-argument was that they had the wrong culinary simile in mind.
Cloud computing, or so it seems to me, is not like ice cream in winter. Instead, it's more like a super-efficient oven in winter. Less about the eating, more about the baking. And if you're a baker, baking is a big deal.
So, for instance, let's take the case of commerce. How do you best implement that in a problematic economy?
Well, it stands to reason that any architecture responsible for the flow of business transactions needs to be as efficient, and scalable, as possible. That way, you can minimize costs when demand is lower, and maximize market responsiveness when demand is higher. And the more unpredictable demand is, the more appealing that idea becomes.
Cloud computing services are a perfect match for that description. So it�s easy to agree with a recent blog post I read hat predicted continued steady growth of cloud computing -- even in a �challenged� economy -- over the next five years. With cloud, organizations don't have to shell out for the sum total of the hardware and software of the cloud. They can simply lease someone else's cloud as they see fit, to handle specific requirements they have at any given time. If they need more resources, they can pay for those resources as they go, dialing back at will. More, they can zero in on exactly the services they want, and skip the ones they don't, making changes month by month as circumstances change.
Added up, this amounts to remarkably flexible, granular control over how much they pay to handle commerce over time. It also substantially reduces the business risk that would have come from a private, on-premise commerce infrastructure -- a huge investment that might not pay off at a time when demand isn't something that can clearly be foreseen.
So, to a risk-averse business leader, commerce on a cloud probably looks better in a cold economy -- not worse.
Cloud-ifying your commerce architecture can really pay off -- if you get it right
�Probably� is, admittedly, a little dodgy as qualifiers go. So I thought I should probably confirm this opinion with someone who knew better than I did.
A chat with Dave Carmichael, Manager of Cloud Business Solutions at IBM, was a major help. Carmichael's take was similar to mine -- though he also suggested the story was more complex than that.
�Economically, things are volatile right now, and that's having a real impact on the world of commerce,� he said. �A volatile economy brings with it threats; companies need a strategy to handle the threats. But they also need to take advantage of the opportunities that volatile economies have historically presented.�
Opportunities? This was something I hadn't really considered, but on reflection, it makes perfect sense.
If you think of a volatile economy as exerting pressure on organizations, you can see that the pressure probably forces them to take a new look at how they get things done. It acts, in other words, as a catalyst for change: steering organizations toward smarter, more efficient, more capable and more cost-effective strategies.
If the sum total of that change is effective enough, then a volatile economy has, in a practical sense, become an opportunity.
Carmichael sees commerce in the cloud in much this way. �Cloud can be more than just a part of commerce -- it can be central to business strategies in this area,� he said. �That's because cloud can deliver IT without boundaries, help organizations build enduring customer relationships and, in doing so, transform the economics of innovation.�
How specifically does this work -- this idea of �building enduring customer relationships� via cloud?
Regular readers of this blog may recall that I wrote about the IBM Smarter Commerce initiative some weeks ago. The idea there was very similar: to put customers at the center of every phase of the commerce cycle, from Buy to Market to Sell to Service. By improving each phase in sequence, the overall customer relationship could be both strengthened and extended.
The IBM cloud commerce strategy is, in essence, a super-efficient, super-flexible way to pursue that idea. Software capabilities brought to IBM via recent acquisitions -- Sterling Commerce, Unica, Coremetrics and ILOG among others -- are now providing the technical foundation of commerce solutions hosted in an IBM cloud.
This means IBM clients can simply pick the commerce solutions they need to get the outcome they want, targeting some or all of those four commerce phases. And when they do, they'll receive best-in-class performance and features without having to worry about any of the implementation and management required by a private cloud architecture.
Weigh the pros against the cons
Carmichael was careful to point out, though, that cloud-based commerce -- like everything else in this world -- has its cons as well as its pros.
Cloud Commerce Pros
Higher business acceleration. Because you don't have to implement or manage the cloud itself, you can concentrate on what really matters: your services. This significantly reduces the time needed to bring those services to market; collaborate with customers, suppliers and partners; and analyze incoming data in real time to understand, and serve, your customers better. You can also scale services up or down far more quickly than you could without a cloud.
Lower business risk. No capital investment is required in IT infrastructure (hardware or software). Your IT team can worry less about technical details, and more about business strategies. And your total cost for cloud services becomes both remarkably predictable and remarkably adjustable -- helping you dial in just the right commerce formula while keeping a close eye on the price tag.
Cloud Commerce Cons
Long-term versus short-term costs. Not leveraging the cloud and looking to an on-premise, private commerce implementation is a huge capital expenditure, but since you own it, it costs less month by month than cloud services over time.
Lower customization potential. If you don't own the cloud, you can't customize the cloud and cloud services -- at least, not to the same degree as if you owned it.
The IBM approach, though based on cloud services, really aims at a best-of-both worlds. It gives organizations the option to stay in-house for some capabilities, but outsource others to the IBM cloud whenever that makes good business sense.
True Value, for instance, decided to leverage IBM Software supply-chain management capabilities in this way. The retailer-owned hardware cooperative�s logistics challenges come as a natural result of their distributed presence worldwide: every year, they distribute more than 600 million pounds of freight to more than 5,000 stores in more than 50 countries.
Via the IBM Sterling supply-chain visibility solution, True Value was able to establish more quickly, and more easily, where different shipments are at different times, and why delays are occurring -- contributing to a 57 percent reduction in lead time, a 10 percent increase in fill rate and a stunning 85 percent reduction in backorders.
A different organization might find there�s no problem with supply-chain management, but that, instead, analytics of customer purchases are weak. Organizations in this situation could buy analytics services from IBM and call it a day, leaving supply-chain capabilities as is. The IBM idea, in every case, is simply to give customers the best available range of choices.
Carmichael's expectation, though, is that going forward, more and more organizations will pursue an approach to commerce that involves cloud to at least some extent, because the pros will increasingly outweigh the cons.
�Cloud is changing the game for companies, forcing them to rethink their IT so they can reinvent their business,� he said. �Cloud really is one of those once-every-fifteen-years phenomena, like the world wide web, the PC, the mainframe and the typewriter. All of them really were paradigm shifts. And notice that all of them have IBM in common, too. For the last hundred years, we've been helping our clients get the best possible business value from all kinds of change in technology. Commerce in the cloud is no different.�
About the author Guest blogger Wes Simonds worked in IT for seven years before becoming a technology writer on topics including virtualization, cloud computing and service management. He lives in sunny Austin, Texas and believes Mexican food should always be served with queso.
Guest post by Brandon Hurter, IBM Segment Manager, Private Cloud Strategy and Market Segment Management
It isn't surprising, given the prognosis that the number of enterprises moving to Cloud will double within the next two years, that there's going to be a strong focus on Cloud computing at the IBM InterConnect 2012 conference in Singapore Oct 9 - 11. While some companies are approaching Cloud from a cost and complexity reduction perspective, others are viewing it as a fundamental shift from IT being a cost center to a center of business innovation.
At Interconnect, the Hot Topic �Rethink IT and Reinvent business with cloud computing� will be exploring the cloud computing phenomenon from across this spectrum of perspectives.
The centerpiece for Cloud @ Interconnect will be the Cloud Mini Main Tent, hosted by IBM General Managers Danny Sabbah and Tom Rosamilia. Danny and Tom will outline IBM�s SmartCloud strategy and its alignment with our clients� business imperatives for cloud adoption. You�ll also have the chance to see SmartCloud in action, with real-world stories from our clients in a panel discussion hosted by Paul Moung, IBM VP of Cloud and Smarter Planet, Growth Markets.
Last but not least, Angel Diaz, IBM�s VP of Cloud Standards will spend some time sharing our leadership in the standards community and discussing the importance of building a smarter approach to cloud standards.
No doubt if you are seriously investigating Cloud solutions, you�ll want to understand how Cloud computing can underpin the effectiveness of other initiatives your organization is exploring, like Mobile, Social, Business Analytics and Big Data.
Through Cloud and other hot Hot Topics at Interconnect, you will have the chance to see how Cloud computing underpins the effectiveness of your most strategic initiatives. For details on the other Hot Topics, as well as information on how to register for the conference, visit the IBM InterConnect web site
Also, be sure to follow the latest news from IBM Interconnect via Twitter and Facebook.
The cloud has fueled the rise of small business. Even though small businesses do not have the diversity and depth of capabilities that exist in the enterprise, they are able to bring a new dimension to users; especially users who rely on mobile devices. That dimension is the ability to move with agility. Because small businesses are able to recognize and react to customer needs quickly they are able to provide new services in less time than their enterprise class competitors. This speed to delivery advantage is not often attributed to the enterprise environment, which despite having large development resources they are hampered by a certain amount of technology baggage that negatively impacts speed to delivery.
Imagine what would happen if enterprises could also develop applications with the same speed and agility as small businesses. That would certainly - as they say - level the playing field. Such a level playing field could benefit both small and big businesses.
The IBM® Redbooks® publication Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services (SG24-8324) discusses the real world experience of an enterprise that developed and implemented IBM z/OS® cloud services. This book shares the experience of a team at Walmart Technology, Walmart Stores, Inc.® and some of the decisions they made to create business critical cloud services.
By embracing the ideas and approaches presented in the book Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services, enterprises have the potential to match the speed and agility of small businesses through born on the cloud applications. Embracing such a model is simpler than you might think.
One key aspect of embracing a services model involves cherry picking enterprise applications and then developing corresponding services. If the services are designed in an easy to use manner then applications programmers will enthusiastically accept and adopt the usage of the services. This will make it easier for an enterprise to compete agilely with small business.
Conventional wisdom would say that building and managing services on z Systems (particularly z/OS) is hard and time consuming. As it turns out, such wisdom is a myth. This myth is dispelled in two new IBM® Redbooks® publications Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services (SG24-8324) and How Walmart Became a Cloud Services Provider with IBM CICS (SG24-8347).
Companies who have developed services on z/OS have found some interesting benefits. The most obvious benefit is that z/OS can solve a set of problems that are often difficult or expensive to solve in traditional x86 cloud environments. Companies who have added z/OS to their cloud ecosystem have found that it can be a powerful and inexpensive (that's right, inexpensive) addition to their portfolio.
They have also found that they can hide the technical complexities in services allowing application developers to focus on the business issues rather than the technical ones. This not only allows them to develop more quickly, but allows them to solve problems across multiple lines of business thus bringing expertise across what was once relegated to each LOB technology silo.
A few companies have even embraced the idea that they can provide these services (at a price) to their external niche competitors, turning them into value added resellers of their capability. The neat thing about this is that everyone benefits. The enterprise gains a new revenue stream from what was once only an expense. The small business now has the power to provide services it could not provide on it's own. The consumer wins because they can take advantage of multiple providers in new and different ways. The cool thing is that everyone in the chain benefits.
It might seem like science fiction to you, but this is the direction a number of enterprises are exploring. The enterprises that successfully build marketable services will be the service providers of the future. This disruptive technology will bring new life to aging enterprises, new capabilities to small developing businesses and new choices and opportunities to consumers.
Frank De Gilio is an IBM Distinguished Engineer. He works at the IBM World Wide Client Technology Centers with a global focus on client enterprise infrastructures. He is the IBM Systems Chief Architect for cloud computing. Frank's recent projects have been focused on providing enterprise-wide cloud solutions to IBM clients who are interested in using cloud computing. His unique approach looks at the holistic requirements on cloud of an enterpr, uniting the development, operational, and business aspects of the cloud deployment model to ensure that a business is considering at all of the implications when implementing the technology. Frank is one of the authors of the IBM Redbooks Creating IBM z/OS Cloud Services.
Cloud computing has become, in certain ways, the eat-right-and-get-some-exercise of IT infrastructures.
By this I mean that everybody's heard the message, and everybody knows the potential benefits... but not everybody actually follows through to the degree they could, or should, to get the best possible results. Even in 2012, the world is full of organizations that remain cloud holdouts. (I won't go so far as to call them cloud Luddites.)
Now, there are a number of valid reasons for this reluctance -- security and compliance, for instance, are major worries for certain sensitive applications, which aren't likely to migrate outside company walls any time soon.
Guaranteed performance is another common issue. For certain particularly business-crucial applications, like ERP, many organizations are simply not willing to trust a shared architecture like cloud in which many different services execute in parallel. So instead they're sticking with a tried-and-true, dedicated architecture to play it safe.
This, however, means that the information locked away in those applications can't easily be leveraged in other ways, and for other reasons -- very awkward and unfortunate for business purposes.
Fortunately, there's a good compromise: hybrid cloud models that deliver a sort of best-of-both-worlds approach. In short, you put your cloud-friendly apps in the cloud, leave the other apps (perhaps compliance-sensitive or ERP apps) in your conventional, in-house infrastructure and then integrate them as cleanly as you can to meet your needs.
Getting this done, however, means finding clever ways to get information flowing as it should between the two architectures. And by clever, what I really mean is fast, cost-efficient and yet complete, migrating all the information you want (and none of the information you don't) into the cloud.
How to make that happen? One way would be to try and custom code the interfaces between these apps.
But anybody with IT experience is probably already cringing at that idea. It might yield complete results, but it's not likely to be either fast or cost-efficient.
Is there a pragmatic plan B? Turns out there is.
Accelerate almost any hybrid cloud initiative via fast, seamless information integration
Recently I talked with Chandar Pattabhiram, who drives go-to-market strategy for the IBM WebSphere� Cast Iron product line. And he confirmed for me that indeed hybrid cloud models are increasingly attractive -- if you can take care of your information-migration needs in a business-optimized way.
�It's a hybrid world today and will continue to be so for a long time,� said Pattabhiram. �Integration has become a critical component of this hybrid world because companies need to rapidly connect the new cloud services they're adopting with the rest of the on-premise applications. And that's where IBM WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud Integration capabilities can really lend a helping hand.�
Does �Cast Iron� ring a bell for you? If you're an IT pro, you may recall that in 2010 IBM acquired Cast Iron -- a leading provider of solutions designed to integrate cloud and in-house apps in an accelerated way.
The Cast Iron technology thus turns out to target the exact 2012 scenario I describe above -- a company wants to link its own apps seamlessly with cloud apps in a hybrid model, generating the least possible complexity, costs and risks along the way.
�Integration has become the 'productivity application' for cloud computing,� said Pattabhiram. �Without integration, cloud users can wind up 'swivel chairing' -- trying to alternate between two completely different architectures to get access to critical business information in a rather clumsy way. But with integration, they get all the information they want in one place: the cloud. Net result is that integration helps companies maximize productivity, increase adoption and also maximize the value of their cloud investment.�
Drag and drop your way to cloud nirvana
How exactly does IBM WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud Integration work this magic? The answer is basically threefold: (1) Out-of-the-box templates and (2) special functions, both of which are managed via a simple drag-and-drop interface, and, if necessary, (3) custom scripting to handle the rare odd case.
Let's look at the templates first -- the heart of the solution. These have been developed based on the premise that companies struggling with integration issues are quite often dealing with the same groups of applications.
I mentioned ERP before; SAP apps are a good example along those lines. And migrating the information from SAP into the cloud really means, typically, migrating it into a particular cloud environment/application. One very common example: Salesforce.com.
So, to reflect this situation, the Cast Iron solution includes hundreds of templates to perform such jobs, each designed for a particular type of migration such as SAP-to-Salesforce. And in the majority of cases, a template will be found that (following a wizard-driven Q&A and basic validation checks) does the necessary job right out of the box.
How does that sound in terms of our previous evaluative criteria (�complete, fast and cost-efficient�)? Pretty fair, I'd say.
Now, there are certainly going to be cases where not every data record lines up perfectly between the two infrastructures; a little jiggering may be required. In scenarios like that, the Cast Iron solution also provides a range of handy data modification functions. Imagine, for instance, that you need to combine two text strings from the SAP data set into a single text string in the Salesforce application. To do that, you could use the concatenation function, which glues the two strings together. Problem solved, and we still haven't left the drag-and-drop interface.
So when you add up the convenience and capabilities, IBM WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud Integration strikes me as a tidy solution to a very common problem. Furthermore, thanks to the way it can be tweaked and modified as needed, it works well even in cases where the in-house app is completely homegrown, and there's therefore no template available.
Pattabhiram sees things the same way. �The templates are remarkably comprehensive, but, no, they won't work for all scenarios,� he said. �Still, even for home-grown applications, Cast Iron's �configuration, not-coding� approach is the way to go -- much faster and much less expensive than trying to custom code the interfaces between these apps. �
The final step, following the new orchestration across the two architectures you've just created, is to export it to an appropriate form factor for your needs. Specifically, we're talking about one of three options: (a) a physical server, (b) a virtual server or (c) a cloud-based service. The Cast Iron solution can be used for all three. That's a range of choices to fit any customer's requirements, and it also avoids locking them into a specific architecture or business process that, down the road, they might want to change.
�Integrating the cloud doesn't always really mean integration in the cloud,� said Pattabhiram. �What we've seen is that customers choose amongst a variety of form factors -- physical appliances, virtual appliance or integration as a service -- for their cloud integration needs. The key is to provide this flexibility of deployment options to customers depending on their size and IT environment.�
Maybe all of that sounds a little theoretical to you, and you need a little proof-of-concept? Take a look at the situation faced by Siemens Energy.
These guys faced the exact scenario I describe above -- an SAP-to-Salesforce hybrid cloud integration for significantly faster mirroring of information and key performance metrics across the two environments. And not only did the Cast Iron solution get the job done, it got it done in under two weeks.
How does your organization measure up? What's your cloud integration strategy?
Guest blogger Wes Simonds worked in IT for seven years before becoming a technology writer on topics including virtualization, cloud computing and service management. He lives in sunny Austin, Texas and believes Mexican food should always be served with queso.
Java and all Java-based trademarks and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.
With already 20 million end-user clients using its Cloud software and services, making it one of the world's largest providers of software-as-a-service, IBM expects to drive $7 billion in revenue by 2015. IBM differentiates itself with extensive research and experience in developing and implementing Cloud solutions across different business models. Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive - IBM Software & Systems, sums up IBM's perspective well with, �We have a track record of helping clients safely embrace and accelerate enterprise adoption of new models and technologies � from e-business to Linux and open source � and we're doing it now for Cloud.�� IBM demonstrates its Cloud commitment as a member of Cloud Standards Customer Council, "joining with 40 of world�s leading enterprises to help advance cloud adoption prioritizing key interoperability issues such as management, reference architectures, hybrid cloud, as well as security and compliance."
Today, IBM is announcing that, "For the first time, enterprise clients will be able to select key characteristics of a public, private and hybrid cloud to match workload requirements from simple Web infrastructure to complex business processes, along five dimensions," including:�
Security and isolation
Availability and performance
Management Support and Deployment
Payment and Billing�
IBM Software plays a very important role in these announcements with solution offerings such as:
As a social business strategist, one of the areas I'm particularly interested in around these announcements is how clients, like educational institutions, use our social business Cloud offerings. A great example, in the video below, is how the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising uses LotusLive for its social collaboration needs.
As I mentioned before, keep your eye on the #ibmcloud tag in Twitter this week. And stay in touch with these networks to follow the IBM Cloud conversation:
The annual Impact follow-up issue of the IBM Software Newsletter is always popular, and this year's was no exception. What WAS exceptional was how evenly reader interest was divided among the Impact related articles in the issue � based on click-through, it was basically a 9-way tie for first among the top stories. So in case you missed the issue � or, for some unimaginable reason, aren�t an IBM Software Newsletter subscriber � here are quick links to ALL the Impact items in the newsletter:
Did you know that 92% of breached organizations don�t know they�ve been breached?
I follow a lot of security industry news, so it�s no surprise to me that every morning I see alerts of new breaches, vulnerabilities and �hacktivist� style threats. But what does surprise me is the impact this news is having in traditional news streams. Thanks to groups like Anonymous and Lulzsec, multiple high profile breaches, and new malware threats appearing all the time (think Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame), people everywhere � and especially those outside of IT, such as CEOs and boards of directors � are finally talking about cybersecurity and the roles we all should play in preventing loss of corporate intellectual property, defending against targeted attacks and APTs, and thwarting insider threats. At the same time, businesses are clamoring to embrace innovative new technologies like mobile and cloud � which leads to increased opportunity but also increased risk.
This has led to increased visibility � and opportunity�for CISOs, putting them in a much broader leadership position that expands outside of IT and security and into a closer relationship with business unit executives.
Why does security intelligence matter?
This coming fall, IBM is hosting an event in Singapore, designed to help business leaders turn �opportunities into outcomes.� What does this mean? At Interconnect 2012, IBM wants to help connect the dots between business functions across the organization, driving towards smarter business operations, and of course, a smarter planet. Security Intelligence is an integral part of this event because the knowledge that drives such intelligence is produced from data collected from users, applications and servers, network security devices and other parts of the IT infrastructure across the entire enterprise. It�s hard to imagine that there might be meaningful security data coming from your thermostat, but trust me (and this victim) there is!
But this topic goes beyond security and is a conversation starter for leaders across the organization. If you�ve ever stopped to think about the cost of securing your organization, that certainly brings the conversation outside of the IT corridors. And, if you�ve ever considered the impact a breach or loss of data has had on an organization, particularly its customer base and brand value, the c-suite should be banging down your door! There are ways security intelligence can help streamline the operations of a business, reducing the amount of manual work required with automated and intelligent solutions. Security intelligence also helps move an organization from reactive to proactive, by pinpointing risks and vulnerabilities before they become problems and allowing you to automate policy enforcement without requiring additional man power. Finally, security intelligence also makes the demonstration of compliance much less of a burden because it consolidates data sources and makes it easier to report and show adherence to regulations and policies.
Join us this October 9-11 at InterConnect in Singapore for an opportunity to explore this topic further. Brendan Hannigan, General Manager, IBM Security and Kris Lovejoy, former CISO of IBM Security and now General Manager of IBM Security Services, will be presenting in a hot topic session, �Defending against cyber-threats with security intelligence & behavioral analytics�. This session will include feedback from actual customers sharing their experiences securing diverse, highly sensitive and regulated environments and addressing today�s IT challenges created by BYOD, mobile and cloud trends. They will also discuss the new and constantly evolving role of the CISO and give insight into how IBM runs its own security organization by keeping senior management actively involved along the way.
You can stay connected with us prior to, during and after the event by following us on Twitter @IBMSecurity or joining our LinkedIn Group. And, to become an active part of the security conversation, be sure to register at the Institute for Advanced Security, where security leaders across the globe are sharing the best practices they�re adopting to better protect themselves as their companies adapt to IT trends like cloud and mobile computing. You�ll gain access to videos, blogs and exclusive webinars focused on key issues concerning security professionals.
Hope to see you at Interconnect this fall, and look forward to continuing this conversation as we get closer to the event.
Keep your eye on the #ibmcloud tag in Twitter this week. IBM is hosting an IBM Cloud Forum tomorrow (April 7) with more than 150 C-level executives and direct reports in San Francisco to discuss Cloud in the enterprise and will be making quite a few IBM Cloud announcements.
The forum will cover:
Cloud insights based on thousands of IBM client engagements
Opportunities cloud presents to clients to transform their IT and business operations
The unique role IBM will play in this transformation
For more information, try the following social networks:
For now, I'll leave you with an interview Scott Laningham did with one of our IBM Cloud Computing executives, Jose Spagnuolo, at the IBM Pulse conference. They discuss some of the questions our customers are asking about Cloud today.
In this era of interconnected industries, businesses and consumers, a new kind of leadership is required to turn opportunity into business outcomes. Smarter businesses are capitalizing on information as an indispensable resource and using technology as the catalyst for unleashing innovation. They are expanding the digital world of the back-office into the front-office.
Given this new reality, Business and IT leaders are collaborating to better align business and technology investments in order to respond to three business imperatives:
� Re-invent relationships and uncover new markets
� Manage the velocity of business change
� Implement the new economics of IT to fund new innovations
At InterConnect 2012, collaborate with business decision-making peers, and see how they�re working with technology leaders to fulfill the vision of their senior leadership. Meet face-to-face with technical decision-makers and industry experts, and define new ways to achieve your organization�s strategic goals.
Hot Topic Sessions
At InterConnect 2012, participate in a rich selection of Hot Topic Sessions hosted by senior IBM thought leaders. Learn directly from IBM clients and business partners from a variety of industries, around the globe, as they showcase successful strategies that leverage the breadth and depth of IBM software and systems. Hot topics include:
� Changing the Economics of IT with IBM PureSystems
� Defending Against Cyber-threats with Security Intelligence and Behavioral Analytics
� Rethink IT. Reinvent Business with Cloud Computing
� Transforming Critical Business Processes
� Unlocking Opportunities with Big Data Analytics
� Gaining Competitive Advantage through Software Innovation
� Creating Exceptional Experiences by Combining Social and Commerce Best Practices
� Speeding Innovation and Extending Reach with Mobile Enterprise
� Transforming IT for Insight and Efficiency with Smarter Storage
� Enabling Growth with Enterprise Systems
Dig deeper into the initiatives that are shaping successful businesses by participating in subsequent facilitated Exchange Sessions, where you�ll learn to apply the lessons learned to your organization. End each day of InterConnect 2012 with a clear plan of how to share the expertise with your teams and begin charting the path to future value.
The InterConnect Solution Center will be open throughout the event, situated at the heart of InterConnect within the Compass Ballroom at Resorts World Sentosa. With topic-focused zones and interactive demonstrations, the Solution Center will bring IBM Business Partners and Subject Matter Experts together with customers and select IBM executives to form a single, unified Software and Systems showcase.
Network with peers in a comfortable, informal setting on the evening of Tuesday, October 9th at the Solution Center Welcome Reception, and at a special event at Universal Studios on the evening of Wednesday, October 10th.
At a glance, the conference agenda is as follows:
IBM InterConnect 2012 Agenda Day 1: Tuesday 9th October
08:00 � 9:30 Pre-Event: Business Partner Forum AND Pre-Event: Press & Analyst Forum
09:30 � 10:00 Networking Break/Solution Center
10:00 � 10:15 Opening General Session Host & Special Guest Speaker
10:15 � 10:35 A source of Global Innovation, the art of the possible in Growth Markets (Jim Bramante)
10:35 � 11:05 Turning opportunities into Outcomes (Steve Mills)
11:05 � 11:45 Unleashing Innovation: The New Economics of IT ( Rod Adkins)
11:45 � 12:00 Customer Guest speaker
12:00 � 13:30 Lunch/Solution Center
13:30 � 14:10 Managing the Velocity of Change (Leblanc)
14:10 � 14:50 Re-inventing Relationships and Uncovering New Markets ( Mike Rhodin)
14:50 � 15:05 Customer Guest Speaker
15:05 � 15:40 Special Guest Speaker
15:40 � 16:00 Networking Break/Solution Center
16:00 � 18:00 Connections: PEER � EXEC � SOLUTIONS EXPO � EXCHANGE SESSIONS by Business Imperative
6:00 � 7:30 Solutions Expo Reception
IBM InterConnect 2012 Agenda Day 2: Wednesday 10th October
08:30 � 09:30 General Session - Clients and BP Best Practices
09:30 � 09:45 Break
09:45 � 11:15 Hot Topic Sessions
11:15 � 11:30 Break
11:30 � 1:00 Hot Topic Sessions
13:00 � 14:00 Lunch Break/Solution Center
14:00 � 15:30 Hot Topic Sessions
15:30 � 16:00 Networking Break/Solution Center
16:00� 17:30 Connections: PEER � EXEC � SOLUTIONS EXPO � EXCHANGE SESSIONS by Hot Topic
17:30 � 19:00 SOLUTION CENTER Reception
19:30 � 21:30 Gala Event at Universal Studios Singapore!
IBM InterConnect 2012 Agenda Day 3: Thursday 11th October
08:30 � 09:30 General Session - Clients and BP Best Practices
09:30 � 09:45 Break
09:45 � 11:15 Hot Topic Sessions
11:15 � 11:30 Break
11:30 � 1:00 Hot Topic Sessions
13:00 � 14:00 Lunch Break/Solution Center
14:00 � 15:15 Connections: PEER � EXEC � SOLUTIONS EXPO � EXCHANGE SESSIONS by Hot Topic
15:15 � 15:30 Break
15:30 � 16:30 Closing General Session