Blue and black graphic image of a ridge

Pursuing microadvantages for the business


2 min read

Your competitive edge starts in the data center

We’ve all been there. Staring down at apps on our phones, wondering why they’re taking so long to load.

As an IT professional, you know there are plenty of potential reasons.

Latency issues between locations of data and workloads. New innovations bumping up against legacy services. Too much code or too little testing.

Of course, to the everyday consumer, none of that matters.

In one study of retail banks, customer loyalty dropped by 84 percent when digital transactions didn’t work and required a call or visit to a branch to complete.1 In another study, 51 percent of restaurant delivery app users reported being “very frustrated” with their digital experiences.2

It’s reasons like these that 25 percent of all apps are used only once.3 Sunk costs are hindering ROI. Business leaders want answers.

This is your opportunity to remedy issues like the ones above. A chance to advocate for investments in an open source strategy that promotes speed, security and interoperability across your digital landscape.

And the interesting part? That strategy can start in your data center.

Woman sitting with laptop in a small meeting with others in background

What are microadvantages – and how can you win them?

From a technical standpoint, microadvantages are non-functional attributes added to an application or service.

When you’re explaining them to non-technical executives, you can be far less technical. They’re new services, improved features, fewer clicks, less waiting – anything that makes the user experience better and moves the business forward.

With intense competition, an ever-escalating number of transactions, and the speed of innovation today, rapidly delivered microadvantages are key to the business. And with hybrid cloud, you have an ideal architecture to deliver them.

Yet enterprises may risk falling behind in the microadvantage race when they don’t take full advantage of open source and container orchestration technologies.

Public cloud is certainly crucial to open source and containers. But with multiple cloud vendors, enterprises often run up against proprietary silos that thwart interoperability, force application refactoring, jeopardize security, slow application repair and more.

So, what if enterprise decision-makers and developer teams had an alternative? One that brings open source to the data center and makes it the foundation for openness, security and flexibility across the hybrid cloud?

Making the case for open source in the data center for hybrid cloud

Public cloud has generated substantial enthusiasm. And yet, many of your IT peers still value on-premises infrastructure as a core part of hybrid cloud architecture.

Top reasons to leverage on-premises for workloads

48% Faster productivity for developers with less process required4
47% Improved application or infrastructure performance4
46% Workload performance4

By leveraging open source and containerization, these strengths in the data center can become the strengths of your hybrid cloud.

This is not an “either/or” strategy that favors on-premises over cloud, or vice-versa.

It’s a flexible, unified, secure and vendor-agnostic approach to managing data, workloads and applications wherever they are – or need to be.

This paper will help you better understand the value of an open source on-premises infrastructure as we discuss:

abstract shape of a circle
Managing hybrid cloud proactively instead of reactively.
Everyone has a plan until the unexpected happens. How can you gain the flexibility needed to spread standards, security, interoperability and faster development across computing environments in the face of any change?
launch externally icon
Turning microadvantages into modernization.
Today’s innovations are only good if they become tomorrow’s operations. How can new ideas and refactored services engineered in the data center scale with speed and security across your hybrid cloud?
person holding a presentation
Bringing value to decision-makers and developers.
Many C-suite executives have cloud migration on their minds. Developer teams like the speed and flexibility of cloud. How can you persuade them that on-premises investment in open source and containers is crucial to optimizing each environment in your hybrid cloud strategy?

Let’s explore these questions further.

Read: Forrester Consulting on the Key to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Strategy

1 Gerard du Toit and Katrina Cuthell, “As Retail Banks Leak Value, Here's How They Can Stop It”, Bain & Company, 18 November 2019.
3 J. Clement, “Mobile apps: abandonment rate 2012-2019”, Statista, 8 October 2020.
4 “The Key to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Strategy”, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of IBM, January 2021.
Blue and black graphic image of a ridge

Extracting full value from open source


2 min read

Assess the new enterprise software standard

Proprietary software has a popularity problem. According to a recent report from Red Hat, proprietary software accounts for only 42 percent of all enterprise software. Two years from now, that number could be down to 32 percent.5

Businesses have met open source technologies with open arms. They’re using them to drive innovation and collaboration across environments, modernize existing solutions, unlock business insights and free themselves from vendor constraints.

90% of enterprises use two or more open source technologies6
55% of enterprises use five or more open source technologies6
77% of enterprises expect to increase use of open source over the next year5

Yet for all of its appeal, enterprises are still working to extract full value from open source. In fact, a recent study from Forrester Consulting revealed that only 26 percent of respondents consider themselves excellent users of open source technologies.6

Forrester also asked open source users and decision-makers to rank their top support challenges when using open source technologies:6

Warning sign icon
High security and
compliance risk
Collection of square shapes icon
Global market icon
Higher cost of using commercial licenses at scale

In our always-on, anywhere-delivery world, these are business risks. Multiple open source technologies, multiple clouds and multiple applications lead to complex digital landscapes for most enterprises that must be addressed.

Many look to open source communities and their longstanding tradition of collaboration for help. But with digital innovation and competitive intensity accelerating each day, community support can fall short.

Where have peer-to-peer communities fallen short when leveraged as the only support option?

59% They cannot identify infrastructure issues5
55% There is no real-time support5
50% They cannot identify interoperability issues5
46% Response times are too slow5

What’s more, many enterprises don’t leverage support from their open source providers. Fifty-three percent of open-source users and IT decision-makers aren’t even aware vendor support services are available for open source technologies.6

This leaves enterprises looking for more control over their open source strategies. Ones architected to keep core processes and applications running smoothly in the data center, across hybrid cloud and throughout the greater digital ecosystem.

Bringing the best of on-premises to your digital enterprise

There are many reasons to place on-premises infrastructure at the center of your hybrid cloud. Locating high-value data and data-intensive workloads closer together can reduce latency. Security that’s built-in at every level – from the chip to the server to the OS and beyond – protects data and promotes compliance.

And yet it’s a data center where open source thrives that may be the most compelling reason of all. Pairing an open source data center with container orchestration technologies like Kubernetes means you can develop, run, manage and modernize applications in a consistent way, across all clouds.

video poster
Watch: Containers vs VMs: What’s the difference?

As a lightweight, portable and open technology, containers allow you to break up applications and their components into loosely-coupled microservices. This means you can run, repair or refactor different parts of an application across environments without platform or vendor restrictions. All with the open standards, security and interoperability the business requires – wherever it does business.

Explore containerization

Read: How to know where to invest with existing infrastructure

6 “Unlock Open Source Technology’s Full Value”, Forrester Opportunity Snapshot: a custom study commissioned by IBM, October 2019.
Blue and black graphic image of a ridge

Planning proactively vs. responding reactively


2 min read

Manage sudden change with on-premises flexibility

Let’s say you're summoned to an early-morning, company-wide call. The announcement is that your company and another company are merging.

Man sitting in front of laptop during a video conference call

Non-IT people are thinking about different management structures, cultures and financials coming together.

Your mind is on the realities of two separate IT worlds.

Different clouds, databases, platforms, applications, vendors, developers, security, compliance requirements … different everything.

But what if there was another difference? The one in your data center, engineered to play a crucial role in bringing this merger together.

The flexibility to respond to sudden change

Businesses with the flexibility and agility to respond strategically are in a position to win. The right investments in on-premises infrastructure can provide this.

This goes beyond handling new demand, pairing workloads and machines, reducing latency and more.

Open source technology and containerization in the data center can bring flexibility to your entire hybrid cloud. This foundational layer doesn’t replace individual cloud providers. It helps you unite applications and services across different clouds for better performance, availability and security. All while freeing your IT strategy from vendor lock-in.

Instead of racing to react to change, you can prepare for it by:

abstract hexagon shaped icon
Building once, deploying anywhere.
Cloud-native applications don’t have to be built in the cloud. The right open source on-premises environment gives developers a common, secure technology base to work from. So they can build, repair or refactor components using languages, runtimes and frameworks for specific tasks. Once built, containers can then move work across vendors and environments with a consistent operational platform.
cloud icon with square shapes around
Optimizing hybrid cloud resources.
Digital demand is a fluid thing. There may be times when an application running on-premises meets demand. But sudden surges for data center resources can impact availability and reliability. Containers and container orchestration in the data center give you the flexibility to package up and move all or parts of that application at scale for use elsewhere in hybrid cloud until demand returns to normal.
three rectangles stacked
Modernizing legacy applications.
You may have a to-do list of monolithic applications that need modernization. In the past, this has been a daunting “all-or-nothing” proposition for updating and shipping all components in the stack together. With open source and containers in the data center, you can isolate individual components, refactor and test them, re-deploy, and scale as needed – all without disrupting or updating the entire application itself. These loosely-coupled microservices carry common sets of standards and security as they travel across your hybrid cloud.
rotating gear icon
Automating repetitive tasks.
As the pace of business accelerates, so do demands on IT. Legacy processes can slow the business down. And there are only so many hours in the day to keep up with the latest technologies. An open source data center provides an environment to innovate on new ways to replace manual processes and reduce human intervention. And then containers can move that innovation wherever it needs to be, decreasing friction from legacy processes and improving service delivery.
shield icon
Placing data, services and workloads securely.
In a January 2021 commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of IBM, 83% of respondents agree or strongly agree that hybrid cloud IT infrastructure leverages open source for greater efficiency and scalability in the future.7 An IT infrastructure that promotes pervasive security from chip to hardware to OS can help address these concerns. Containers can help augment that security even further. Specific data inside of mainframes, servers and storage – protected by pervasive security – can be called upon for use by microservices, travel to destinations in the hybrid cloud via containers and return to rest securely.
7 “The Key to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Strategy”, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of IBM, January 2021.
Blue and black graphic image of a ridge

Turning microadvantages into modernization


2 min read

Scale innovation across your hybrid cloud

Man sitting at desk waving at others on-screen during teleconference call

Innovation teams have become an important staple at many enterprises. Over half of all financial services companies have one.8 Healthcare, retail, consumer goods and a host of other industries are assembling them as well.

Enterprises are committing to these groups of cross-discipline innovators to push business forward.

But a lingering question about innovation teams is whether they add business value and generate growth. One study revealed that up to 90 percent of innovation teams are failing to live up to that promise.8

Could open source and containers in the data center help those teams deliver more value? Many of your peers believe that could be the case.

What is your overall perception of enterprise open source?

86% of respondents say it’s used by the most innovative companies9

A home for both greenfield and brownfield development

Innovation teams are often given free reign over greenfield development. It’s their opportunity to create new solutions without restrictions, dependencies or legacy code.

Greenfield development is vital for business innovation. But because it comes with business risk, it’s best delivered in small, iterative versions to gauge user feedback.

By contrast, brownfield development focuses on new or updated solutions for existing or legacy systems. Innovation teams play an important role here as well, re-thinking current application components to deliver better user experiences.

Creating a home for both development strategies in the data center can help deliver microadvantages at scale.

For starters, the right IT infrastructure investments can support enterprise-wide DevSecureOps. This gives developers access to a hardened, high-availability Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline in the data center itself.

On the greenfield side, developers can leverage security capabilities inherent in the data center as they create and test new software. Packaging iterations into containers for deployment across the hybrid cloud gives the business the rapid feedback it needs.

On the brownfield side, developers can choose which application components to bring into the data center via containers. They can refactor those components into microservices without taking the application offline. And then package those microservices into containers for rapid redeployment across the hybrid cloud.

As noted earlier, 48 percent of enterprises find faster productivity with developers and less process required when leveraging on-premises resources.10 It’s a strategy that can turn innovation into operations in an environment you control – in ways you can’t with public cloud.

Making the business case for app modernization at scale

Innovation teams in greenfield and brownfield development can influence technical processes and organizational culture. Their innovative thinking and speed of releases can set a standard for other groups and provide a process roadmap for success.

This growing culture of innovation can then inform a business case for a repeatable software development model. It’s a modernization strategy that gives the enterprise new control over how and where to rehost, refactor, replace or retire applications.

That investment can go beyond physical infrastructure. The right on-premises partner can also introduce factory methods of modernization at scale, optimizing available resources against proven processes tailored for the business.

Explore infrastructure modernization to modernize in place, at your own pace

Read: 5 things to know about IBM Garage for Systems

8 Simone Bhan Ahuja, “Why Innovation Labs Fail, and How to Ensure Yours Doesn’t”, Harvard Business Review, 22 July 2019.
10 “The Key to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Strategy”, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of IBM, January 2021.
Blue and black graphic image of a ridge

Demonstrating value for decision-makers and developers


3 min read

Make on-premises IT investment a top business priority

If you’re like most of your technology peers, you believe in enterprise public cloud. In a recent study from Forrester Consulting commissioned by IBM, approximately eight in ten IT leaders expect their companies to invest more in public cloud over the next two years.11

From executives looking to cut costs to developers who want to solve business problems, public cloud has many fans. Yet public cloud is only part of the equation; a full 85 percent of IT leaders agree that on-premises infrastructure is a critical part of hybrid cloud strategy as well.11

You may be ready to invest in both on-premises and cloud architecture. But with the average IT buying committee now consisting of 21 members,12 you may face challenges convincing others in the organization.

Promoting the business value of investments in on-premises infrastructure

Not everyone shares your technical background. In making your case to others, it’s important to outline what could happen to the business both with – and without – investments in on-premises infrastructure.

IT leaders say not reinvesting in existing platforms leaves firms vulnerable to lost business value including:

50% security vulnerabilities11
44% higher costs11

Risks like these impact the business as a whole. But opportunities can be framed more personally, particularly when you know the individual challenges and priorities of different stakeholders.

On the surface, two key audiences – executive decision-makers and developer teams – may not seem to have much in common. A data center that spreads the benefits of open source across your hybrid cloud may prove otherwise.

IT leaders like you understand the power and potential of the data center in a hybrid cloud strategy. Educating others is a crucial task.

The C-suite will continue to ask about traditional financial metrics like Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI). An audit of your hybrid cloud architecture or study of cost per unit of work may reveal that the data center delivers more value relative to budget than other environments.

Open source in the data center can also extend the life of existing on-premises investments. This can reduce costly “rip and replace” activities that significantly impact budgets.

Developers accustomed to spinning up sandboxes in public clouds may take some more convincing. For starters, they may not even know they can even leverage the data center.

Its hardened, highly available environment can give them a single CI/CD pipeline to isolate and test new ideas, make repairs, deploy patches and more.

Doing this work on-premises can create a central hub to speed distribution of open innovation across the hybrid cloud. It can also raise fewer eyebrows in finance by reducing work done over the wire and cutting back on the number of abandoned sandboxes in the cloud.

Consider how much of your budget supports software licensing or development. Then think about the additional 15 percent to 25 percent that supports annual software maintenance.

There’s not much you can do to control costs on proprietary software maintenance. But maintenance on open source software can provide savings opportunities.

Developers can use the data center to break open source components down into microservices, working with languages, runtimes and frameworks of their choice. These microservices can then be deployed across multiple environments via containers, automating maintenance at scale.

This frees developers to work on new innovations – some of which may replace legacy manual processes themselves. It’s how you build a rolling culture of automation and innovation that engages the developer team, delivers savings to the C-suite and accelerates the business.

The rush to cloud has led to some unintended consequences. One of those is the concept of cloud silos.

Data, workloads, applications, standards and security measures in one cloud may not interact with those from another. Developers are forced to modify work for different environments, driving up costs and limiting their production efficiency. The whole idea of a truly open and flexible hybrid cloud architecture promised to the C-suite can fall short.

Open source that starts in the data center and spreads across the hybrid cloud via containers can connect these silos – and open them to each other. Developers can “build once, deploy anywhere” with universal standards and security. Your data center becomes a hub for vendor neutrality across applications, platforms and the enterprise – regardless of provider names on machines or in the cloud.

Hear why on-prem IT is key to hybrid cloud (24:59)

11 “The Key to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Strategy”, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of IBM, January 2021.
Blue and black graphic image of a ridge

Bringing hybrid cloud’s promise to life


2 min read

Let’s build a strategy that extends across the enterprise

In any journey, there will always be someone who asks, “Are we there yet?” When it comes to cloud, it's a question you may be hearing often.

Man seated at a conference table making a point while others look on

After all the enthusiasm of recent years, it’s estimated that most companies are only about 20 percent of the way into their cloud journeys.13 What does this mean for the remaining 80 percent? And is it even accurate the think about this journey having a destination?

Hear why on-prem IT is key to hybrid cloud (24:59)

Already, enterprises are repatriating up to 50 percent of public cloud workloads to private cloud or non-cloud infrastructure.14 Core business applications and workloads that haven’t made their way to public cloud may eventually find homes there – or they may never, based on business needs, security requirements, compliance mandates and more.

That’s why the journey to cloud is really a journey to an optimized hybrid cloud. It’s an ever-evolving strategy that adapts to changes in technology and business requirements, providing the agility to meet today’s needs with the flexibility to respond to whatever comes next.

This is where IBM can help. Starting with IBM Garage for Systems, you can work with our experts to identify and deploy first-of-a-kind strategies and solutions that address your technical and business challenges. This in-depth, co-creation process leads to a hybrid cloud strategy focused on delivering ongoing, open interoperability from the data center to the farthest edges of the enterprise.

IBM has been a champion of open source computing for more than two decades. Dating back to our initial USD 1 billion investment in the Linux® operating system to our recent acquisition of Red Hat, open source is a fundamental part of our culture – and that of our clients around the world.

IBM and Red Hat: choice and control in the data center and across your hybrid cloud

From incremental microadvantages to complete modernization strategies, enterprises are turning to IBM and Red Hat. It’s how you place open source and containers in the data center to spread flexibility, innovation and value across your hybrid cloud.

Red Hat® OpenShift® is the primary container environment for all IBM hybrid cloud offerings. By baking containerization into your mainframes, servers and storage solutions you can unleash cloud-native innovation on-premises, combining it with the security, scalability and reliability of IBM IT Infrastructure solutions.

OpenShift also sits at the heart of IBM Cloud Paks®. These containerized solutions for applications, data, integration, automation, multicloud management and security offer a faster, more reliable way to build, move and manage all aspects of your hybrid cloud.

These unique combinations are designed to bring together your entire hybrid cloud for better performance, cost savings and simplified management. Forrester recently named the IBM and Red Hat containerization combination as a leader among multicloud container development platforms.15

… both companies’ deep commitment to Kubernetes-powered modernization has paid off … Red Hat-IBM is ideal for both cloud-native organizations and large enterprises with complex legacy application modernization needs.”
Dave Bartoletti and Charlie Dai
“The Forrester Wave™: Multicloud Container Development Platforms, Q3 2020”
15 September 2020

Leading our clients into new ages of productivity like this is a longstanding tradition at IBM. Our engineers work closely with the scientists of IBM Research, harnessing their discoveries to power our purpose-driven machines. For 28 years, no other U.S. company has compiled more patents or put them to work in more ways.16

As you build a hybrid cloud strategy that takes full advantage of IBM and Red Hat offerings, you can also leverage IBM IT infrastructure expertise across:

Hear why on-prem IT is key to hybrid cloud (24:59)

For more information, contact your IBM Business Partner or learn about IBM’s open source solutions.

15 Dave Bartoletti and Charlie Dai, “The Forrester Wave™: Multicloud Container Development Platforms, Q3 2020”, Forrester Consulting, 15 September 2020.