By Sramana Mitra and guest authors Pablo Chacin and Saurabh Mallik
SM: Why don’t we go through the six towers? This would just be a small exercise in validating that.
PT: Sure. So for business analytics, obviously it’s based on Cognos, based on the Linux on System z platform. For collaboration, we are using LotusLive – that is the software group’s offering – and for desktop cloud we are using GTS – that’s the virtual desktop where we have a thin client. We manage the environment through a cloud, and in the area of production, we have an offering that comes from GTS in Raleigh, North Carolina. And, of course, the storage cloud is an offering from the hardware and software group. For the last one, the test cloud, IBM has an offering there as well. I outsource my environment to IBM Global Services, so they manage that development and test cloud for me.
SM: So essentially, all of these functions, the desktop cloud, the production cloud, the storage cloud, and development and test cloud, are managed by IBM GTS, and this is out of the data center outsourcing service that GTS offers to other large clients as well.
PT: Yes, with the exception of the development and test cloud, I am not sure of the logistics behind that because the application development work is done by GBS and I am not sure where they get the environment from, if they do it themselves or they go to the sister organization, GTS. In any event, the point is, broadly speaking, Global Services provides it for me.
Jen: Sramana, if I could just add, the test and development cloud is delivered to the clients out of the global technology services, but certainly the benefit to IBM is being able to use some of these environments internally and to take some of the key lessons learned and best practices and deliver them to clients.
SM: That’s exactly the point I was probing. You are testing and learning from your own offering through your own organization and taking it out to your other external clients.
PT: That is very true for the Blue Insight Cloud we have for business analytics. We worked in partnership with GBS to develop a pilot, implemented and scaled it, and now it’s a commercial offering to all our clients.
SM: Ok, so that all checks out. In terms of external vendors, are there any specific external cloud vendors you are working with that are outside of the scope of IBM products and services?
PT: No I can’t think of any. Jen, are there any I am missing? None come to my mind.
Jen: No, I don’t think so.
SM: So everything is basically IBM.
PAT: At this point , yes. As an example, we are working with partners to figure out how we may implement their products in the cloud environment. As an example, take SAP. What would it mean to run SAP in the cloud, you know obviously, we got our software from SAP and they are helping us think through for enterprise of our size what might it look like.
SM: And that’s still in exploration; it’s not really in deployment yet.
PT: That’s correct.
SM: Are most of your large-scale deployments of these different towers being deployed in a private cloud architecture?
PT: The collaboration space is a public cloud through LotusLive. Then the desktop virtualization cloud is a Global Services offering. I am not sure how they manage the back end, but I imagine they are a hybrid, and in the area of the production cloud it’s a multitenanted environment, like a private cloud in a public offering.
SM: The production cloud is offered by some other vendor?
PT: It’s offered by IBM to customers, and another company and IBM are in a shared multitenanted environment there. But in general, we’re using private clouds very heavily. The entire analytics tower is on a private cloud. It has to be. Data security is crucial for such an effort, and I believe is something that is yet to be fully sorted out in the industry. Similarly, storage needs to be on private cloud.
SM: I see. So what you are saying is that IBM is using the private cloud architecture to get around data security concerns. That means you are going to sell that same architecture to your enterprise clients. They will all be going to private clouds for those types of applications.