Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Harry Trott, Ken Schwaber, Aruna Ravichandran, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, IBM Cloud, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

IBM & Cloud Computing: Exclusive Q&A

Exclusive Q&A with Dr Kristof Kloeckner, IBM's VP of Cloud Computing Platforms

The IT industry is faced with a complexity and affordability crisis – explosive information growth, heavily interconnected and interdependent systems, on average 70% of IT spending going to maintenance, low utilization of resources driving up fixed cost, energy consumption becoming an ever bigger drain on budgets.

At the same time, business needs for flexibility and responsiveness continue unabated. This creates an urgency for enterprises to rethink the way their data centers are set up and managed, and how they receive and deliver services.

Bring this together with advances in technology - from service orientation, automation and service management to virtualization - and you have what Dr Kristof Kloeckner, VP of Cloud Computing Platforms at IBM vividly calls "a perfect storm." Kloeckner was a Keynote speaker at SYS-CON's 3-day 2nd International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo (March 30-April 1, 2009), the industry's leading worldwide Cloud Computing event, now held three times a year, in New York, Silicon Valley, and Europe.

In this interview with Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, conducted in March, Dr Kloeckner discusses a wide range of Cloud Computing issues and give a very clear insight into IBM's vision with regard to Cloud Services and the substantially improved delivery economics that Cloud Computing is making possible.

Jeremy Geelan: What are the main business drivers for Cloud Computing - for this overall technology trend?

Dr Kristof Kloeckner: In the end, it’s all about money – how much do you spend for just maintaining the status quo, and how much on supporting truly differentiating business initiatives. This drives an imperative for dynamic infrastructures, increasing resource utilization and reducing labor costs, and for more flexible economics in the consumption and delivery of IT based services.

Geelan: And how about from a specifically IBM perspective – what do you think is missing right now from the Cloud Computing Ecosystem, that you can uniquely provide?

Kloeckner: While IBM invented many of the technologies that form the basis of cloud computing (virtualization, for instance, was first implemented in our mainframes), our greatest asset is our deep understanding of our clients, and our experience running the worlds largest data centers.

We are using this experience to build a comprehensive portfolio of cloud related project based services as well as products to build their own clouds, as well as providing cloud delivered services ourselves. Our spans infrastructure services, platform services and application, process and information services.

We also have a strong and long-standing commitment to open environments, and we will work with the industry to ‘keep the clouds open’. This is a major prerequisite for the emergence of a cloud eco-system.

Geelan: How important to IBM strategically is its Blue Cloud Group?

Kloeckner: Well, we are actually calling the new organization that was formed under Erich Clementi “Enterprise Initiatives’, indicating that it brings together all of IBM to build and deliver offerings that enable cloud computing.

Cloud Computing is important to us because the promise of substantially improved delivery economics will have a massive transformative impact on IT based services and business processes. There is a tremendous amount of energy around cloud computing across IBM, and in our clients and partners.

Geelan: What’s the best way, do you think, to define “cloud services” – from an Enterprise IT perspective?

Kloeckner: From a provider perspective, cloud services are characterized through self service, economies of scale and hybrid (public, private and mixed) modes of delivery. Self-service drives client satisfaction and standardization of services. Economies of scale are enabled through large virtualized and automated shared environments, and hybrid delivery models combine external and internal services.

From a user perspective, the most important aspects are ease of use, new economics derived from cost structures that are achieved by greater sharing of resources, and flexible sourcing.

Geelan: How big an issue is security for enterprises who wish to migrate toward this kind of an infrastructure wholly or in part?

Kloeckner: Enterprises have a choice among a spectrum of delivery modes, from private to virtual private to public clouds, and they are making these selections based on workload characteristics. We find many clients opting to keep their most sensitive applications and data private, behind their firewalls (or virtually private with limited access). In these setups, all the existing best practices apply for data and application access and trust and identity management.

As for public clouds it’s important to remember that as in the Web in general, clients need to fully understand the security policies and practices of their providers. I believe that federated identity and trust management will be extremely important here.

Geelan: And what about management, how’s that being taken care of? Can the deployment and management of computing clouds really be automated, or is that in the far-off future still?

Kloeckner: We’re getting there. In February, IBM launched The Tivoli Service Automation Manager, which facilitates dynamic instantiation of cloud delivered services and their management along the entire life cycle, drawing on IBM Service Management capabilities and platform management services.

Geelan: How big a part are standards going to play in the success of the Cloud?

Kloeckner: Standards are essential for customer choice and eco-system growth. We believe the area most important to address is interoperability between clouds and the integration between clouds and other enterprise IT services. Work done on service oriented architecture in recent years will greatly help us address the issue of keeping the clouds open.

Geelan: Tell about the partnerships you just announced with Juniper and Amazon. What do they indicate about the future trajectory of IBM’s endeavors in this area?

Kloeckner: IBM has a broad ecosystem of partners and we have a long history of supporting customer choice. We chose to work with Juniper in this instance of demonstrating connectivity between clouds based on the combination of features, ease of integration and ability to leverage their MPLS technology for secure remote access. Amazon represents yet another venue for IBM to sell its software. We will continue to work with partners to advance the adoption of technologies like cloud computing, and especially to ensure open clouds.

Geelan: Moving beneath the hood for a moment, how does IBM handle the virtualization layer of its Cloud infrastructure?

Kloeckner: What we do depends upon the choice of underlying platform(s). Increasingly, virtualization technologies will be provided as integrated capabilities of the IT resources themselves. This has long been our practice on System z and Power Systems, and overall the industry is moving in this direction. The benefits include greater simplicity, efficiency, resiliency, and security.

Our service management software builds upon these virtualization technologies to provide much greater IT benefits, especially in terms of productivity and agility. Key virtualization-based capabilities of value to Clouds include resource pool ("ensemble") management and virtual resource object management. What sets us apart from others is our strength in management across the diversity of physical and virtual resources (at both the hardware and application levels) - diversity which will continue to increase driven by accelerating innovation.

Geelan: When you unveiled you new cloud strategy at a press conference during Pulse 2009, you underlined that IBM had a great deal to offer smaller businesses, in terms of offering them ready access to best practices and saving them from re-inventing the wheel. What offering/s in particular did you have in mind?

Kloeckner: IBM has a number of cloud offerings that suit small and medium sized businesses well because they offer superior function that would not affordable for smaller businesses to build and run themselves. As an example, LotusLive is a cloud-delivered portfolio of social networking and collaboration services designed for businesses. Launched in January, the service already has 30,000 businesses signed up. As another example, IBM’s Information Protection Services offer enterprise-grade data back up and recovery services to SMB clients like Neighborhood Centers, Allscripts and The Unites States Golf Association. For smaller cloud service providers, IBM’s Resilient Cloud Validation program allows businesses who collaborate with IBM on a rigorous, consistent and proven program of benchmarking and design validation to use the IBM logo: “Resilient Cloud” when marketing their services.

Geelan: Previously you’ve been VP of development for Tivoli, what parts of that experience help you most in formulating IBM’s cloud strategy?

Kloeckner: Tivoli lives in the world of service management and service delivery, so the experience I gained in Tivoli gives me an appreciation of the operational considerations of establishing and running a cloud. Tivoli also works very closely with our Systems and Technology Group and with IBM Research to drive the management of virtualized environments. Clearly, (service) automation and virtualization enabling a dynamic infrastructure, are essential to deliver a large part of the efficiencies and savings clients want to gain from cloud computing. Essentially, our ‘operational support system’, to use service provider terminology, is based on the Tivoli service management portfolio, in particular Tivoli Service Automation Manager.

Geelan: SYS-CON had the pleasure some years ago of interviewing Willy Chiu – who I believe was a colleague of yours – and his vision of HPC seemed already to anticipate much of what we’re now calling cloud computing. How long has IBM in fact been cooking its Cloud in the kitchen?

Kloeckner: While November 15, 2007 marked the official unveiling of IBM’s Blue Cloud initiative, you can find many of the business considerations and technology components that drive and enable cloud computing already as part of our ‘On Demand’ initiative – service orientation, automation, virtualization, and especially the notion that business and technology need to come together to develop transformational force.

As Sam Palmisano defined it in 2005, “On Demand Business is our way of describing a fundamental shift in computing architecture and how it is applied to business — a shift toward integrated solutions and quantifiable business value, not just technology features and functions.” Sounds pretty similar to what folks are saying about cloud today. We are now in the next phase of technology evolution, with a high sense of business urgency.

Geelan: What of the future – what are some of the most interesting infrastructure technologies being developed at IBM right now?

Kloeckner: Within IBM Research and Development, we are working on a number of exciting technologies, for instance management of ensembles of virtualized resources, service life cycle management, multi-tenancy support, image management, tools for development and deployment of services, the whole notion of ‘connectivity as a service’, to name just a few. We are also learning a lot from direct engagements with advanced clients, and working on application areas that can benefit from the cloud, like analytics or massive event processing.

As a general remark, we are seeing more ‘smart’ applications emerging in an interconnected world of ‘intelligent’, instrumented systems, in industries like energy and utilities, health care, logistics and many others. We believe that many of these applications will need clouds for efficient delivery.

Geelan: 2009 is a year of obvious challenges, from both a CapEx and an OpEx perspective, for anyone involved with Enterprise IT. Finally, what’s your top tip, as a seasoned software executive, to those other CTOs out there right now – especially CTOs of embattled start-ups who may be looking for some magic bullet to ensure they’re alive (and well) as a company in 2010?

Kloeckner: Take a careful look at the challenges and opportunities that cloud computing offers in your specific situation, develop a strategy and choose a strong partner for implementation. We are confident that IBM has much to offer in this space…

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
@ThingsExpo has been named the ‘Top WebRTC Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @ThingsExpo ranked as the number one ‘WebRTC Influencer' followed by @DevOpsSummit at 55th.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
"What is the next step in the evolution of IoT systems? The answer is data, information, which is a radical shift from assets, from things to input for decision making," stated Michael Minkevich, VP of Technology Services at Luxoft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...