New Capabilities Announced For the IBM SmartCloud Portfolio
Pulse 2012, you can get a peek at IBM's latest cloud solutions, strategies, and innovations.Never mind the Chinese calendar. Going by the latest signs, 2012 will be the Year of the Cloud—and at
Why cloud? According to recent studies, some 48% of CIOs evaluate cloud options first, over traditional IT infrastructures, before considering making any new IT investments. And that trend seems unlikely to slow down as Forrester estimates that total cloud spending will more than triple from 2011 to 2015, going from $41 billion to $150 billion.
IBM, as a world leader in cloud computing, will unquestionably play a major role as cloud architectures and usage models continue to evolve. In fact, that's been happening quite a bit in the last year alone.
Consider: last April, IBM introduced the initial generation of SmartCloud, leveraging IBM's own cloud resources and expertise as a set of managed services. In October, the second generation of SmartCloud emerged, offering organizations a quick and easy way to deploy and manage a private cloud via IBM SmartCloud Foundation solutions.
While full details are reserved for Pulse 2012 attendees, IBM plans to focus on building an even more comprehensive, powerful, private cloud via a suite of new capabilities for SmartCloud that provide enhanced Visibility. Control. Automation™ of IT services to drive down costs and risks and drive up business value.
Among other things, IBM has made it easier and faster to migrate from a conventional virtualized infrastructure to a true cloud—smoothing the bumps in the road that might otherwise prevent organizations from getting the job done.
Specifically, IBM's new SmartCloud offering will:
Interested in knowing more? Read on... but also be aware that to get the best insights and see it all up close, you'll want to register now to attend Pulse 2012 (March 4-6 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas).
Optimize Cloud Usage/ROI Through Clear Visibility
"IBM's SmartCloud continues to rise to our client’s challenges—and surpass them."
A significant first step in getting the best business performance from a cloud architecture lies in being able to visualize what's happening inside it.
While clouds can and do work as models of automatic efficiency, minimizing IT oversight or action in a general sense, it's still essential in certain special cases to be able to lift the hood and look at the engine.
One of those special cases, of course, is security. Thanks to the rapid rise of threats including sophisticated malware, increasingly adept hackers, and well-funded criminal organizations, security is at the forefront of cloud topics today that demand extra visibility.
Cloud security also comes into play in related areas, like the oversight of trusted insiders with unique access privileges and compliance with the ever-increasing number of industry and government regulations that specify how data should be managed and monitored over its lifecycle.
IBM's SmartCloud continues to rise to our clients’ challenges—and surpass them.
Thanks to new cloud-savvy solutions for endpoint management security, for instance, IBM will be making it easier, faster, and more cost-effective than ever to give team members secure cloud access to internal services and resources from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. That means higher productivity from the team, wherever they happen to be, with lower security risks and compliance vulnerabilities.
And across the entire cloud infrastructure, identity and access management—key functions for any security architecture—are now centralized and optimized for all cloud services. This also has the effect of accelerating rollout of new services, because they'll simply inherit the existing identity and access framework in the cloud.
Also pertinent to cloud visibility: asset monitoring. To deliver best value from the myriad of deployed services in a cloud, IT must be able to ensure that all the sub-assets that comprise the cloud are online, properly configured and maintained, and thus contributing their full potential.
In this context, IBM plans to broaden the performance and availability capabilities of the SmartCloud Foundation by enhancing IBM SmartCloud Monitoring with additional capabilities and platform coverage. In addition, new analytics capabilities in a number of offerings deliver predictive trending and historical performance to put cloud performance on a quantified footing going back in time—or projected forward into the future.
Control Change and Costs
One of the strongest points in favor of cloud architectures is the way they drive agility—allowing an organization to rapidly change its service delivery to suit new business goals or implement new business strategies. To do this, clouds also need exceptional change management capabilities to address new changes in an efficient, governed fashion, and determine when and how those changes might be needed.
Pulse 2012 attendees, as well as all IBM customers, will be pleased to discover IBM has more than anticipated this issue; IBM has in fact delivered a blockbuster suite of new features and functions that provide these much needed capabilities in an exceptionally powerful way.
Here's an example. There will now be an integrated control desk that not only integrates but automates processes across change, asset, and service request management. This means that cloud service creation and subsequent management, spanning all business silos, have become even easier than before; in fact, only IBM brings together both the digital and physical management of service delivery on a single platform. A clear, intuitive interface will make it simple to manage IT and smart assets via a self-service user interface. Users can, in many cases, resolve their own issues pertaining to cloud services, and also request services through the Service Catalog, freeing IT team members for tasks with a higher business priority.
Because storage is a critical resource for practically all cloud services, and because in a cloud architecture it's also fully pooled—for allocation and reallocation on dynamic demand—IBM knew it would be important to address storage by providing clients with a means to automate the management, administration, and provisioning of storage, wherever and whenever it is or is needed, across the complete architecture and all supported services. Among other key features: capacity assessment and visualization; pooled resources from virtually any tier, array, or solution provider; near-instant volume relocation across the cloud at will; thin provisioning; mirroring; and many others.
Finally, server provisioning is certainly among the most crucial of the underlying functions that make a cloud work properly (or not work properly). In addition to groundbreaking acceleration and performance, IBM will give managers compelling capabilities designed to get the most out of their servers—while also simplifying overall management in a way that works with the cloud's deeply-virtualized nature.
The next planned release of IBM SmartCloud Provisioning may provide more value to businesses with new and enhanced SmartCloud Foundation capabilities in the area of management and administration, such as enhancements to image lifecycle management that provide rich analytics, image versioning, and a federated image library to standardize images, reducing image sprawl.
Improve Agility and Efficiency
Agility, of course, is the sum total of many factors—and while cloud agility is important, the overarching goal should be business agility. In today's competitive, turbulent economy, it's important for organizations to be able to turn on a dime, then accelerate rapidly in whatever new direction they've decided to go.
Organizations that generate their own software, of course, have both the blessings and curses of that extra capability. IBM SmartCloud Foundation is focused on helping dial down the curses and dial up the blessings.
For instance, SmartCloud's previously mentioned provisioning features are very useful for deploying new application test builds into predefined test environments. These servers can be created in minutes—not days. And because each new build can then be tested in a clean, completely consistent test system, finding and eliminating software issues is a much faster job, meaning the total time elapsed before arriving at a release candidate falls dramatically.
Cloud architecture can be used to increase business agility in other senses as well. One good example: best practices. Why reinvent the wheel when it's already been done, tested, and shown to work? An established best practice can save organizations enormous time and money in development and deployment costs over time, and in cases where best practices can be combined logically, the value received by the organization won't just be increased—quite often, it will be multiplied.
As it happens, best practices pertaining to cloud service delivery not only exist, but they are already in use inside IBM in the successful pursuit of all of those goals. And at Pulse 2012, you'll get a chance to see just how that happens... and how your organization can benefit from the same ideas via SmartCloud.
IBM plans to provide an agile, scalable and flexible solution for end-to-end lifecycle management and automation, creating an environment that takes collaboration between development and operation teams to the next level with IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery.
The result? Better software, with fewer bugs, brought to market (or production environments) faster—the very definition of business agility for the software development field.
IBM looks forward to seeing you at Pulse 2012 to discuss how SmartCloud can assist you and your organization in meeting your business objectives.
Business Without Limits World Tour
Pulse Comes to You (PCTY) 2012 delivers the experience, value, and education of Pulse 2012 around the world with local events. IBM Executives and Industry Leaders will share how Integrated Service Management can deliver the Visibility Control Automation™ needed to deliver differentiated services and build competitive advantage on a Smarter Planet.