Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Jeev Trika, Karyn Jeffery, Yakov Fain

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
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss 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). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
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, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...