In working with thousands of clients, IBM has established that businesses and the world at large have become more interconnected and certainly more intelligent. Just to toss out a few factoids – data is growing at 6 trillion bytes per second, IP traffic will accelerate in 3 years to over a trillion gigabytes, and as of 2010, there were an estimated 30B RFID tags across the global ecosystem. Almost 162 million smart phones were sold in 2008, surpassing laptop sales for the first time. Soon there will be one trillion connected devices in the world, constituting an “Internet of things.” This environment provides both the individual and the organization the opportunity to adapt their thinking and actions to address the challenges of the new world.
This is where Cloud Computing comes in. Cloud has come a long way in the last few years. From being an exotic, non-mainstream idea, based mainly on public clouds for shared usage, organizations have reacted strongly and positively. Over 70% of enterprises have said that they are already using the cloud or plan to do so in the next 12 months. Why? Because technology has matured to the point where things can be done that could not be done before. This is allowing many organizations to explore new business models.
The cloud has been a catalyst for a discussion around the transformation of IT and further alignment to business. How far has cloud come in the last three years? Consider the following elements:
The debate on whether cloud can be used in an organization is settled. Enterprises now consider cloud computing as something they are doing or will do soon. The focus now is on what kinds of business and IT problems are best solved on the cloud and on where it makes sense to move services into the cloud.
Clouds are now seen as an element of a transformative process. Organizations spend time looking at their business processes and deciding which ones to change for competitive advantage as they move into the cloud. More efficient workflows that incorporate “outsiders,” such as customers, contractors, and suppliers can be created.
Cloud adoption begins with applications and workloads. Where legacy applications were previously seen as a barrier to cloud adoption, they can now be enhanced through extended capabilities and business process improvement. The ability to allow outside partners to connect to a legacy application via the cloud is an important consideration.
Developing a flexible enterprise IT architecture in the cloud era is a key task requiring very special talents. It requires the convergence of many disciplines including IT resource virtualization, ITIL based service management processes, and business support services across the range of delivery models of cloud – private, public and hybrid.
The basics still apply. Organizations must consider how to deliver on service level agreements (SLA’s), how to handle business continuity and resiliency, how to handle security, including data privacy, regulations and compliance and overall governance in the cloud. IT will also have to negotiate with the cloud provider to make sure they get the service levels agreements needed to deliver secure and reliable services to their end-users.
Implementing a secure cloud is possible, requiring a plan, and then crisp execution. Organizations should first look at their unique cloud workloads, and engage the appropriate security requirements based on their needs and culture. This approach allows the organization to aggregate or blend the appropriate assets into a solution package that aligns with their needs to realize security in the cloud.
The capability of cloud has to be put into context as it represents both an opportunity and a challenge for any organization. Cloud is not a “one size fits all” solution, nor a panacea. Cloud has to execute within an organization’s business boundaries. Every CIO needs to understand where cloud fits into their organization, and where it will help them extend their business strategy. Some organizations are moving into the cloud because of the economic benefits it can deliver in terms of reduced costs and added capabilities. Others see the cloud as a way to create new business services that can be taken to market – faster.
Organizations have a number of options with cloud. IBM along with dozens of other vendors offers both private clouds of many sizes, which are customized to solve particular customer solutions, as well as a variety of public clouds. Private clouds offer the economy and efficiency of the cloud while enabling the build and manage of secure delivery environments and integration into existing legacy applications. Public clouds offer those features, plus the ability to quickly expand the number of instances or their size by taking advantage of the greater elasticity of the public cloud.
What cloud is doing though, is changing the way everyone consumes IT, it is putting power in the hands of the end user. IT bridges the two worlds, connecting IT and the business end user in a way that makes sense to both sides. This changes the conversation to innovating new applications and services with increased agility and faster time to value. This will require a remix of the skills in IT to enable an effective move into cloud. But this also opens up the possibilities of creating whole new sets of applications that are more collaborative, more data-intensive, more available, more networked, and easier to use. At IBM, we like to think that Cloud allows organizations to – “Rethink IT and Reinvent Business”.
When CIOs are asked about the barriers to their adaption of cloud computing, they name security issues more than any other. In fact there is a great deal of confusion and misinformation about security floating in the air around clouds. Some believe a secure cloud is an oxymoron. Others believe that a private cloud might be secure, but not public clouds or hybrid environments.
In fact, it is possible to make a cloud secure, but it requires thinking, a plan, and then a crisp execution.
IT organizations need to learn that before they consider security products they must first look at their workloads and identify the security requirements each workload needs. Not everything needs the protection of high level security controls.
Next, they must assess the risk culture of their organization. Some companies have a fairly laissez faire attitude toward their communications and intellectual property. Others think every single thing the company touches should have bulletproof security. Your organization is likely to come somewhere in-between – some communications and documents will need security in the cloud, perhaps even fairly high level security, others will need only the protection of a secure ID and password.
Then your architects can step in, and using the input you’ve created, design the security architecture. If this puts controls between users and their information, you may need to take time to build consensus for your plan.
IBM believes that after assessing a firm’s security needs it should be able to offer a complete security solution, fully integrated. This allows the customer to look at their unique cloud workloads and engage the appropriate security requirements based on their needs and culture. IBM’s highly modular security software lends itself well to this kind of Lego block custom assembly. IBM’s approach allows the customer to aggregate or blend IBM’s assets into a virtual solution package which aligns directly with their needs. This also enables IBM and its ecosystem to respond to market needs. On July 29, 2011 for example, IBM and Security First Corp, announced a joint development agreement aimed at delivering increased performance, security, and high data availability to storage and cloud-based computing customers. For more information refer to http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/35157.wss
This approach to cloud security enables a security dialogue to take place, leading to greater customer satisfaction – when the mystery is taken away, it’s much easier to have a calm discussion of the limits of security for specific workloads and companies. Not everything belongs on a cloud and this is a good time to decide which of your workloads should go where.
This problem-solving approach can reduce security risks, improve financial return from the security investment, and build confidence in the use of cloud computing.
The method of identifying problems, finding security solutions, and putting them together in an integrated package will make many users and their CIOs breathe a sigh of relief as they realize that security in the cloud can indeed be achieved.
I had the opportunity to attend and speak on cloud at last month’s IDC Cloud Leadership Forum in Santa Clara. It is amazing how the conversations have shifted from “the definition of cloud” to deployments and experiences and innovating new applications and services.
Cloud is an enabler of many of the megatrends in play - big data, analytics, social media and mobility. Each of these trends offers leverage to achieve significant competitive advantage.
Let’s start with data. We all know that there is a massive explosion of information. Each day, 15 pedabytes of new information is generated and roughly 80% of it is unstructured. More interestingly, this is expected to grow by 44 times over the next decade. All this data gives organizations the opportunity to discover insights and identify patterns - and analytics is a key to unlocking this information and delivering value.
Next - the social media is creating new opportunities for businesses to interact with their clients and to understand the acceptance of their products and services first hand and real time. There is an opportunity for businesses to leverage social media into key business processes and to also gain the advantages of the consumer models for collaboration within the enterprise.
Finally, we can all relate to mobility. It’s changed the way we work and play. With our new mobile devices, we manage our professional lives, we connect with family and friends. We transact business and stay abreast of everything around us. Now we can perform all sorts of tasks anywhere, anytime.
Many organizations are starting to think about their device strategy and are working through the complex issues on how to keep these assets secure so they can extend enterprise applications to them and provide the required quality of experience.
Cloud is enabling businesses to embrace these trends and helping them use IT more strategically than ever before. CIOs are looking at cloud for efficiency – and on the journey they consolidate data centers, virtualize the infrastructure so it can be abstracted, standardize the application portfolio and automate business processes. This enables CIO’s to shift the conversation to innovating new applications and services with increased agility and faster time to value - important to the future of the organization.
Patterns of adoption are emerging. They generally can be grouped into four major categories.
- First, cut IT expense and complexity through data center optimization which addresses immediate needs for reducing expenses and complexity, while improving efficiency of service delivery.
- Secondly, accelerate time to market by rapidly building, deploying, and managing new services.
- Thirdly, some organizations want to capitalize on new business models and revenue sources by offering cloud-based services to others. Examples range from infrastructure services to industry-specific services like high performance computing, healthcare and government municipal services.
- Finally, gain immediate access to enterprise-class software as a service while minimizing risk and capital expense. Examples include collaboration, business process management, analytics, application management, service desk and marketing.
Right now, many organizations are focusing on private clouds, particularly where they have specific needs or require data security. The important thing is for those private clouds to easily connect and integrate with other private clouds, with existing data centers and with public clouds so that businesses can maintain that flexibility and avoid having isolated cloud orphans!
CLOUDS FOR DIFFERENT USERS
Clouds have become a popular vehicle for delivering a variety
of information and services to all types of users. Sometimes, selecting the right cloud (or no
cloud at all) for a particular user or workload can be confusing – so many
choices. So far, there is not enough
information readily available to provide advice and serve as guidelines.
Based on our experience at IBM, some useful advice seems
IBM participates in every part of the cloud marketplace;
that’s good. A user can choose among
private and public IBM clouds, use IBM cloud tools and services with other
clouds, and reserve for the traditional data center those applications that are
not well served by current cloud offerings.
clouds are for innovation and economics (I’ll be writing more about
the economics of private clouds in a future blog). A private cloud is appropriate when your
workloads need something not supported in the public cloud sector or when your
particular needs for security, compliance, or customized software are best met
in your own cloud computing environment.
A private cloud can offer the flexibility of cloud computing without
compromising your organization’s particular needs. Dozens of different IBM cloud case studies will give you an idea of the
breadth of solutions being implemented on the cloud.
clouds are a kind of private cloud with a wider audience. They are built as private clouds, often for
governments or systems integrators that want to provide computing services to a
constituency. For example, the
governments of Wuxi
Province in China and Vietnam each have built private clouds to share
with small companies in an emerging economy.
IBM also has an IBM Cloud Innovation
Center in Vietnam. This gives technology usage a jump start in
the most efficient way. In other cases,
a company like iTricity
builds a private cloud with IBM to sell pieces of it to its own customers
and business partners at a profit. In
both cases, these clouds are not public (because you can’t use them without an
invitation from their owner), but they are not built for a single user either.
IBM participates in the Public
Cloud market in a number of ways.
IBM offers public clouds for particular purposes; any user whose needs
are met by those clouds can buy their services.
Current IBM public clouds include Development/Test, Storage, and Virtual
Desktops. IBM also participates in
others’ public cloud environments. For
example, all the IBM development tools are available for use on the Amazon
cloud. Public clouds are all about scale
and immediate access. They are often
popular with Java and Web Services developers and can provide economical access
to shared middleware services. Of course
there are others in this market, such as Salesforce.com and Google’s
IBM expects to see Industry
Vertical Clouds become popular.
There are already clouds for particular government groups such as IBM’s Federal
Community Cloud, launched in November. IBM is also working with 15 federal
departments, including defense, homeland security, and education, to provide
clouds, as well as state and local governments.
Google has recently signed up the Federal government’s GSA for email and
office applications in the cloud. IBM
expects to see more vertical clouds in healthcare and utilities.
For a view on IBM’s vision on cloud computing and their plans
for shared middleware services, an interesting reference is Jerry
Cuomo’s video. Jerry is an IBM
Fellow and the Chief Technology Officer of IBM’s WebSphere division.
Standards for the Cloud
Cloud Computing is still in its infancy. With very young technologies it is always difficult to determine when to work on standards. Standards are what permit additions to a cloud’s platform or software to be compatible with what already exists and to what will happen next. As such, they are not merely useful, but a requirement for an efficient computing environment.
When you use a public cloud, you are agreeing to the standards (or lack of them) that the cloud employs. Most users don’t think very much about this, but it can have a great deal to do with whether your information (and the work behind it) is trapped in that cloud or whether you can move it to another environment, perhaps your on-premises data center, or another cloud. Private clouds, by definition, are private and their owners can choose their own environment, with as little standardization or as much customization as they desire. But the choice of customization without the selection of widely used standards can lead to dead-ends where information is trapped, not readily available for use in another environment.
Standards are how cloud computing offers interoperability – being able to talk to and compute across multiple clouds. Without that standardization, time and money must be spent on building, supporting, and using conversion tools. Standardization is also how we achieve portability, being able to move programs and data to another environment.
But standards are also important for using more sophisticated tools. As customers come to own or use multiple clouds (a hybrid cloud computing environment), they must deal with managing their multiple computing environments, hopefully in a single dashboard; that is most easily done when standards are in place. Metering (for chargeback) and monitoring (to be certain the systems are behaving properly) also depend on standards.
With that in mind, IBM is participating in an early effort called The Open Cloud Manifesto; you could think of it as a pre-standards idea. Its mission is to open and encourage a dialogue around the core principles of cloud computing to insure that widely accepted standards will, in time, occur. There are more than 400 members, including many familiar names, but some of the largest companies are missing. They may yet join, but discussions that might lead to a standards effort will be less than successful if too many of the big players choose to go their own way.
It’s hard not to recall the UNIX wars, when there were two vying standards bodies and a fragmented UNIX enjoyed less success than it might have enjoyed. We need to avoid that possible fragmentation in cloud computing.
Cloud Computing is becoming ubiquitous. We expect more than 70% of organizations to use cloud computing for at least some of their computing, storage, or applications over the next few years.
Efforts for cloud standards in many directions are ongoing. For example, in addition to the Open Cloud Manifesto, IBM is working in DMTF to level the playing field for software vendors, as well as open source projects like Simple Cloud API and Apache libCloud. These efforts are intended to offer customers flexibility and choice and to support concepts important to smooth enterprise computing, such as SLAs (Service Level Agreements).
At the same time, we want to encourage the experimentation that allows an infant industry to grow and become more important to its users, and build to the standards that will support that growth. It's an evolving job and one we give a high priority.
JOURNEY TO THE CLOUD
Many IT departments are looking at or beginning a journey to the cloud. They are convinced that a cloud can give them the benefits of faster time to value, more flexible response to business needs, and cost savings. It’s alluring.
But the way to safely plan and execute that journey has not yet been reduced to a well-accepted checklist. Many companies set out on the journey without a map or compass.
We’ve had thousands of cloud engagements so far and with many successful implementations behind us we can point to some of the factors for success.
· Pick the right first project, one that is important enough so that solving the problem will get lots of positive attention, but not so large or so important that exploring a new technology could interfere with your business.
· Plan. Understand the problem you’re trying to solve and how you’re going to solve it.
· Make sure a cloud solution is suitable. Look to reference accounts who have already achieved a successful cloud solution for a similar business problem.
· Pick the right business partner/vendor, one with experience in your industry.
· Get management behind the project; enlist at least one enthusiastic senior executive.
· Use this experience to build the business plan and ROI analysis necessary to deploy more broadly.
Many organizations start out with a proof of concept or pilot, to try out the new technology without making a major commitment. Often, it helps keep project momentum going if the success of the proof of concept is simply a milestone on the way to the full project. Then, that early success gives the company permission to move ahead.
Customers may have their first cloud computing experience in a public cloud, with an application like development and test. A number of vendors, including IBM, offer public clouds for this and other applications. IBM’s Smart Business Development and Test Cloud allows clients to design and develop applications on IBM’s public cloud and deploy them on their premise as private clouds. Check out this link for more information. http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/igs/cloud-development/ .
Many large enterprises and government agencies choose to go to a private cloud. They may make that their first cloud computing decision or it may follow a positive experience on a public cloud. Some organizations choose to use both public and private clouds, generally for different applications. Some customers would like to use public clouds to provide scalability for applications that require a lot of compute power, but are held back by the need for better interoperability and standards or heightened security to feel confident interoperating between private and public clouds.
However, scalability is an issue. After all, a successful journey to the cloud means increasing the customer’s demand for cloud computing over time. The ease with which applications can migrate to a private cloud encourages more migration. Some commentators believe that private clouds can’t provide the scalability that flexible response demands. But all clouds – public or private -- are finite in size. The use of modern technologies such as virtualization and automated service management makes it easier to make full use of computing resources, assign cloud resources to high priority tasks, and increase resources (with additional servers) with a minimum of effort.
In the flexible, highly exploited environment of a private cloud, organizations can quickly show success and then move on to increase their private cloud capacity, migrate more applications to the cloud, and participate in hybrid cloud environments. All of this in an environment where increasing amounts of readily accessible software and knowledgeable business partners are at hand to make the cloud experience a success.
GOVERNMENT COMPUTING FLOATS INTO ITS OWN CLOUDS
For organizations which must meet steep security and accountability compliance standards, private clouds built to meet these standards are an excellent answer. Government is, of course, a good example of this need. IBM has been working with governments of every size for many years to help them not only comply with these requirements, but also bring the best services to each situation at the right price.
This week, IBM has announced both a Federal Cloud for its U.S. government clients and a State and Municipal Cloud aimed at state and local government. Both are intended to get the benefits of cloud computing, especially quick response to technology requirements, flexible access and attractive economics, into the hands of government managers and employees.
Government agencies of any size and type face high levels of stress. All of them are facing the demand for more services, a transformation to more modern and more powerful ways of using information, and significant pressure to cut budgets in a time of lower revenue.
IBM's Federal Community Cloud (FCC) will enable data and services to reside in secure, scalable data centers that can be quickly accessed by federal organizations at a fraction of the cost. The capabilities are dynamic and scalable to help organizations meet government consolidation policies mandated by Obama administration Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra in February.
The FCC will provide a secure, private, multi-tenant cloud which will offer the flexibility to meet changing demand, a reduction in costs, and faster implementation time. This Infrastructure as a Service offering (IaaS) will soon be joined by Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. The FCC is in the process of obtaining FISMA certification.
IBM is working with fifteen federal agencies on private clouds, including the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Department of Defense (Army, Navy, and Air Force), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Health & Human Services – to provide cloud and data center capabilities to quickly build, manage, operate and analyze complex computing environments.
The IBM Municipal Shared Services Cloud integrates services from multiple providers on an easy-to-use platform that governments nationwide can share with a combination of advanced data analytics and SaaS. The new cloud platform will improve municipal operations, add Web-based citizen services, allow integrated data analysis, and provide better transparency. Government employees will save time, increase productivity, and provide better, faster information to citizens.
IBM is working with the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) and the Michigan Municipal League (MML) to help their member municipalities operate more effectively. NYCOM and MML will coordinate the participation of their members in the pilot, and both see the IBM platform as an effective way to provide constituency services.
Private Clouds like these are often called Community Clouds – meant to serve the needs of an invited group of organizations, with services directed at their particular needs. We’d expect some government agencies to do some of their computing in these Community Clouds, some in private clouds reserved for their own use, and some in their on-premise IT facilities. Of course, moving data and computing workloads between these environments will be an important theme for the future.
Tips for Building a Secure Cloud
When we ask IT customers to tell us what they’re doing in cloud computing and what their areas of concern might be, security nearly always tops the list. IT managers who view protecting their data and applications as a primary job are reluctant to give up control to some distant cloud data center, not under their physical control. It’s no wonder the chore seems daunting: Wikipedia lists three categories and nine sub-categories of cloud security to consider. Two important categories are regulatory and compliance issues, which may vary from industry to industry.
A recently published IBM study found that 50% of companies were concerned about data breach or loss in the cloud and 77% were concerned that using cloud computing might make privacy protection harder.
Clouds can be made very secure, but there are some things IT managers need to know in building (or selecting) a secure cloud. IBM has recently announced new services and products to help assess and mitigate these security concerns.
· New strategy and security assessment services to help understand risk and decide how to securely implement clouds (and what organizational information should remain in an on-site data center). This helps companies ready to use the cloud identify areas that should be considered and make appropriate plans to mitigate risk.
· Software that can centralize security management across platforms, including multiple clouds.
A report on Cloud Computing by ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) recommended that organizations use the assessment process. They also point out that, “Risk should always be understood in relation to overall business opportunity and appetite for risk – sometimes risk is compensated by opportunity.”
Having worked on a recent project with the Department of Defense (DoD), here are a few things we had to consider with security:
· Intrusion detection and prevention of the network in real time;
· Intrusion detection and prevention of the client and management data, including in the CMDB;
· Secure collaboration to enable communities of interest (COIs) work effectively together taking into account their access levels to ensure compliance;
· Workload and tenant isolation in a highly virtualized, pooled, shared and multi-tenant environment.
In fact, because clouds may offer better economies of scale, cloud-based security can be more robust, scalable, and cost-effective.
My team is working with a major university medical school in North America, helping them build a private cloud. Over lunch with the client, we discussed the definitions for various kinds of clouds and which workloads belong on which clouds. Most everyone understands private vs. public, but the variations can get tricky. So for instance, what do you call an off premise cloud which is not open to the public? Is it private? Can an off premise cloud be private or is it public ?
I see the real problem here as understanding the definitions for various kinds of clouds and which workloads belong on which clouds. Maybe a few definitions will help demystify deployment choices. In my many conversations with clients, I find that this precision is necessary because the underlying conversation is really about economics. And given the hype around cloud, it is easy to conclude that public clouds are the answer because they are perceived to be the least cost solution.
Public Clouds offer their services to any appropriate and willing buyer. They may offer only computer power and storage or they may also offer some service management and also applications. Some public clouds may be used for any reasonable purpose the user chooses; others are for specific tasks such as develop and test.
Private Clouds offer the architecture and services of public clouds (including virtualized servers and services) but are entirely within the control of their owners, providing better integration with existing applications and better security.
Virtual Private Clouds create private clouds within a public cloud. It allows for possibly more elasticity (scaling up and down), but provides less control.
Community Clouds are private clouds built for a single owner who plans to share them or a group such as an industry.
This client has a really interesting use case. They are developing a cloud infrastructure to support the needs of internal and external investigators. They must comply with applicable regulatory policies including: HIPPA, GINA, CMS, FISMA, FDA, and VA.
They want to provide investigators with a standard virtual desktop environment that supports secure access to research data. The idea here is to secure the data by keeping it at rest in the data center -- and provisioning virtual desktops to access the data, keeping it (the data) at rest while controlling the desktop. Longer term, they'd like to expand the service catalog to allow their users to go off site to get non-secure services.
So here's an example of a cloud providing data security. We don't hear that every day! To help achieve their goals, they’ll need a private cloud to meet the HIPPA FISMA and other compliance requirements, but they also need a cyber security audit to understand the challenges and plan a system that meets them. The ultimate value – control and data security.
Public Clouds offer their services to any appropriate and willing buyer. They offer their services on a variety of terms, from 30-days to longer and more formal multi-year arrangements. SMBs, individuals, and startups, as well as ad hoc projects in larger organizations, like the informality and smaller financial commitments of vendors like Amazon and Google. Larger enterprises and mid-market organizations prefer the security of longer-term commitments, with service and other guarantees. A public cloud may be compute power and storage on demand, or it may offer service management and applications, sometimes by the platform providers, sometimes by Business Partners. For example, in addition to its IBM Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud public cloud offering, IBM provides its development software on the Amazon cloud and offers collaboration cloud deployment with IBM LotusLive.
Private Clouds offer the architecture and services of a Public Cloud, but entirely within the control of their owners. So far most private clouds have been created for large enterprises and government organizations. Some are entirely private, living inside the organization's firewall, much as an enterprise data center. Others are owned by an organization, designed be shared with partners, customers, or others. For example, IBM created clouds for the government of Viet Nam and for a provincial government in China, both designed to offer computing to ISVs to speed software development. But they are private clouds in the sense that they're only available to specific users, and entirely under the control of their owners, who set the terms of usage. The term for these shared private clouds seems to be converging on “Community Clouds.”
Virtual Private Clouds create private clouds within a public cloud. It's a best of both worlds notion, combining the security of a private cloud with the ability to create new private clouds or scale them up or down, on demand (within the available capacity of the platform provider). It's not clear yet whether enterprises will consider these virtual private clouds equivalent (in security and control) to private clouds.
Cloud Computing has become the middle of several universes and Lauren States in right in the middle, as VP of Cloud Computing for IBM’s Software Group. In this blog, she will focus on the business issues of cloud computing, using a number of conversational techniques, from interviews (of herself and others) to personal blog posts, and guest posters. We’d say watch this space and see where cloud computing is going.
This first blog is based on an interview with Lauren that took place during IBM’s Cloud Service Provider Platform Launch on October 14, 2010.
Interviewer: What’s your focus for this blog? Who’s the audience?
Lauren States: I’m writing this for CIO’s and CTO’s but, of course, anyone who is interested in cloud computing is welcome. The focus will be on why and how cloud computing provides value to business. I’m going to try to demonstrate this value through actual facts, based on customer experiences, rather than make aspirational assertions. And I hope this blog will also amplify IBM’s presence in the cloud computing market.
Interviewer: What is the most important thing about today’s announcement of IBM’s Cloud Service Provider Platform?
Lauren States: While IBM announced a comprehensive set of software, hardware and services, the importance of this announcement is in the enablement of the communication service provider’s business models. IBM recognizes the strength of the carriers in networking and their access to significant subscriber bases. We see tremendous synergy with our management platform which provides the operational and business support services needed to deliver services reliably and securely to their customers. We also announced a comprehensive set of enabling services, including the rapid on boarding of cloud services, access to our large ISV and partner ecosystem and the ability to white label IBM’s Cloud Services. Our goal is to help the carriers extend their investment in infrastructure to deliver differentiated services to market – faster.
Interviewer: And what do you want to tell your CIO/CTO audience about that?
Lauren States: …Cloud-based services are emerging as an important new business model for the communications industry. I have observed that clouds are often piloted and deployed, but the targeted user base does not always show up to consume the available services. Determining the business strategy, as rigorously as the technical strategy, is critically important. With this announcement, Cloud creators, whether they’re carriers building public clouds or enterprises building private ones, can take advantage of a wide range of business planning and on boarding services to achieve the desired business outcome.
Let me tell you about a successful IBM cloud computing customer.
SK Telecom is Korea’s leading communication provider. It services 24 million subscribers, more than 50% of its market. They do this with three large data centers and about 1,000 servers.
Like most organizations, they sought to improve time-to-market, find new revenue and profit streams, and lower development cost. In order to do this, SK Telecom deployed a cloud computing platform to enable quick, easy development, testing, and delivery of new WAP services. Their partners use this platform to develop and deliver content to subscribers and take advantage of the integration provided to the backend systems
Jong-tae Ihm, Senior Vice President and head of SK Telecom’s Data Network Office said, “Our aim is to create new business opportunities by rapidly commercializing the ideas of content developers, further advancing the development of the information and communication technology industry.”
It’s important to note that we’re not talking about an experiment here; this was done to address a business opportunity and it’s up and running. SK Telecom demonstrated that by defining their cloud in the context of a business strategy and leveraging their existing infrastructure to provide differentiated services. For more information, visit ibm.com/cloud.