IBM is betting on the third wave of cloud implementations
IBM has had a mixed start into cloud computing. The first wave of cloud computing was characterized by cloud-only vendors with neat ideas and fast growth rates. Those could have been point solutions or infrastructure services. The next, or second, wave of cloud adoption was characterized by enterprise-ready applications, such as CRM, ERP and a broad offering of infrastructure services. However, enterprises ended up with the deployment of a plurality of cloud vendors maintaining a plurality of vendor relationships and contracts. Moreover, none of these offerings was a true, integrated solution ready for the modernization of traditional on-premises applications. IBM’s enterprise customers have a large variety of home-grown as well as packaged on-premises applications in addition to the growing number of cloud-only applications from a growing number of cloud vendors. Enterprises are struggling with getting all the various puzzle pieces of mixed deployment under control again and operating them from a single point of control. This seems to be the right time for IBM to step in and solve that dilemma. IBM is addressing this industry need with a new Hybrid Cloud Manager (beta in Q3 2018 and GA in Q4 2018) that brings all deployments under one management umbrella again. There are competitive offerings in the market (e.g., Docker EE, Rancher 2.0, Cross OS Tectonic). However, with its competitors matching features in the infrastructure space and its focus on and advantages in application management, IBM should quickly win market share with its new offering that is almost completely based on open source technology. So, the clock is ticking in IBM’ interest. The more pressure is felt by the enterprises to modernize their existing application landscapes and the more different cloud deployments are present in enterprises, the better for IBM.
Bottom line: IBM needed its time to become cloud-ready. But it has now developed a portfolio to address all kinds of hybrid deployment scenarios that can barely be copied.