Anant Jhingran on cloud at the IOD Conference 2009


developerWorks: This is a developerWorks podcast, I'm Scott Laningham here with Anant Jhingran, VP and CTO of Information Management for IBM's Software Group. He's here to preview the cloud computing part of his focus at the Information On Demand Global Conference that's coming up October 25 through 29 in the Las Vegas, Nevada.

Also joining is Todd "Turbo" Watson, popular IBM and developerWorks blogger who will also be in Las Vegas covering the conference. Welcome to you both.

Jhingran: Thank you Scott.

Turbo: Good to be here.

Jhingran: Scott, let me introduce myself to the audience. My name is Anant Deep Jhingran, my middle name is not as interesting as Todd Watson ... [ LAUGHTER ] ... but I hope that the things that I talk about our exciting to our audience.

I play two roles, I am the Chief Technology Officer for Information Management, but I'm also part of an IBM-wide team that is looking at cloud computing as a strategic initiative and the technologies that IBM needs to put in place to help transform our clients. And it is in this context that I've helped set the agenda for the cloud computing part of the Information On Demand Conference.

developerWorks: Now, with the cloud computing perspective being one of many things you're going to be talking about, Anant, what is IBM's perspective on cloud right now?

Jhingran: So, of course, in some way, shape or form cloud reminds me of the hype around Internet in '98 and '99, where it was "the" buzzword and if only people called themselves "cloud," then magic things would happen. But, actually me and IBM have realized that there is something transformational that's happening in cloud and the transformational thing is that it's actually delivering net new value to our clients.

But delivering net new value, not necessarily in the same way as the hype that is surrounding cloud. So, I'll give you two examples.

Number one, a lot of the hype in cloud is about the so-called public clouds: IT infrastructure that is delivered pay-as-you-go externally. You log in, you use computation resources, and you log out.

Almost 100 percent of the clients that I talk to say that's all well and interesting, but there's a large amount of our data that cannot leave our enterprise boundaries. So, can IBM do the promise of the public cloud but actually help us deliver it internally within our enterprise?

So, that is one very, very important perspective for us — that is we want to help our clients in large enterprises actually get the benefit of the cloud, but not necessarily get the benefit of the cloud solely delivered through public means. We want to make sure that public, private, and hybrid cloud delivery infrastructures are available for our clients.

And the second perspective that we have is that IBM is not just a hardware company, it's not just a software company, it's not just a services company; it is actually the best of all three. And really, as cloud is transformative, it will be transformational across all.

And what we want to do, the way we want to differentiate ourselves is actually bring the power, the best power of all three of these capabilities which we have an IBM, to actually help transform our clients.

Turbo: So, Anant, this is Todd. Thanks very much for that explanation, it's very helpful. I think our audience will find that very helpful as well. I'm just curious that the actual event in Las Vegas ... you know, it's my understanding that there is also a cloud un-conference. And some of our readers and listeners may not be as familiar with that notion. So in terms with what's actually going to be discussed to help answer some of those lingering questions about cloud computing in the information management realm, how is the attendance at the event going to help some of those questions?

Jhingran: Fantastic, Todd. So, as many of our readers will be aware, the un-conference model that has become fairly popular in the last few years is a model that allows much more spontaneous, non-scripted, not one-way directional information exchange. And what we've decided is that at Information On Demand, we will kind of, we will have two parts to cloud.

One part of the cloud will be much more structured, that will be kind of keyed off and teed off from a keynote presentation that I'll give you more details about. And followed by, of course, many, many sessions on cloud and how cloud impacts databases and business intelligence and content and what IBM is doing around cloud and others.

The second part of it deals with the opposite side of it, which is, it's great for us to talk about our perspective, but what I have learned in the last one year working with cloud, especially in the last nine months, is that all our perspectives are worth a hill of beans if they don't actually take into account what the clients are thinking about with respect to cloud.

Turbo: Uh-huh.

Jhingran: And they say what we have decided is that we want to actually do a 180-degree on the second part of our cloud agenda and do an un-conference that is completely client-centric, invitation-only, with a limited number of participation. But of course it's open and we invite anybody who is interested in participating to actually register.

And what we want to do out there is to make sure that we hear from clients, we hear from architects, we hear from CIOs, we hear from administrators, we hear from technical leaders and we hear from business leaders:

  • How they are internally articulating cloud vision within their enterprise and
  • What optimization opportunities do they see utilizing cloud computing.

Turbo: So it sounds like it's really an opportunity at the event to do some crowdsourcing and hear directly from our end constituents what's on their mind with respect to the cloud.

Jhingran: I'm so glad that you through in crowdsourcing along with the cloud discussion and I think that's absolutely right. I have been absolutely fascinated in maybe over 50 customer dialogues that I've had over the course of the last nine months, as I said, where our clients think about cloud in myriads of ways.

And our clients have technical issues and inhibitors that are all across the spectrum. And this is just a fantastic opportunity for us to share that knowledge not from my synthesizing it, but from the mouths of the actual people who are living and breathing and experiencing it day in and day out.

developerWorks: Now, this sounds great, the un-conference, Anant. But what about the main body of the conference that the majority of the people will be attending? What can you talk to ... what can you tell us about the cloud focus going on and cloud activities there?

Jhingran: So we're going to be having a keynote in a very, very large ballroom, and I will be very disappointed if that ballroom is not completely packed with standing room only, because I think cloud is extremely important. But that keynote will be made up of two parts:

  • Part one would be somewhat of a structured business-oriented part about what value IBM is seeing in cloud and what initiatives we are putting in place. And that part would be delivered by Rob Ashe, head of our Business Intelligence and Analytics business.
  • And the second part is going to appeal to the technical audience because I'm going to actually stand up and do one after the other, maybe about six or seven demos about how we are transforming for our clients based on the technological innovations that we are doing.

And I hope that people will actually understand that we are able to translate from just cloud hype to actually making a difference for our clients by innovating around our products and inventing new products and technologies.

developerWorks: Yes, Anant, that's exciting to hear, because I was going to ask you, it sounds like cloud computing certainly impacts a lot of middleware that we provide and I'm sure that there's a story right there in terms of how it impacts information management middleware. So is that kind of going to be the focus of these demos, just giving people examples of that impact?

Jhingran: Yes. If I may say slightly more strongly, and maybe I'm biased, but so be it ... I think that information management is at the center of cloud transformation. It is both at the center of that people worry about their data and therefore may act as an inhibitor, but to me far more importantly, it is going to be the real driver for the net value from cloud.

And because of that, we want to make sure that people understand that when they're dealing with our databases, when they're dealing with our integration, when they're dealing with content, [when] they're dealing with business intelligence, that all of these products not only can effectively be cloud delivered but as even more importantly by deploying these capabilities in the cloud whether it's public, private, or hybrid, clients can actually now solve problems that they could not solve before in a very cost-effective way.

developerWorks: Anant, as a wrap-up, I know Todd and I are really looking forward to attending and podcasting and videocasting from the conference, but what are you most looking forward to at this event?

Jhingran: I'm most looking forward to being able to meet customers. And I really, really want to make sure that I'm able to hear from the clients what they are thinking about on the cloud so that I do the right thing, that IBM and Information Management do the right thing, to actually help them transform their company.

developerWorks: That sounds great. And like I said, we're all looking forward to being there. Todd and I will be there with a video camera and if we see you in the hall and we can grab a moment with you, Todd might even consult with you about cool middle names. I don't know, he might have some ... [LAUGHTER]

Jhingran: Just look for an ugly mug out there and that would be me. [LAUGHTER]

developerWorks: The URL is You can go there, register for the conference, find out a lot of great information about it. And again, that's October 25 through 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, hope to see you all there.

Again, thanks to Anant Jhingran, VP and CTO of Information Management for IBM Software Group, for your participation today. Thank you, Anant.

Jhingran: Thank you, Scott and thank you, Todd.

Turbo: Thank you.

developerWorks: Yes, and thanks again to Todd "Turbo" Watson, IBM bionic blogger, for joining on this podcast. Check out new on developerWorks this week, new articles on

... and finally ...

  • "Introduction to MVC programming with Agavi," Part 5, authentication and privileges. [Editor: Part 3, actually; Part 5 is "Add paging, file uploads, and custom input validators to your Agavi application." Both are excellent!]

developerWorks: Find it all at, IBM's premier technical resource for software developers with tools, code, and education on IBM products and open standards technology. I'm Scott Laningham. Talk to you next time.

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ArticleTitle=Anant Jhingran on cloud at the IOD Conference 2009