IBM’s new platform could well be the base that enterprises have sought for firing up a next wave of business innovation
Unarguably, cloud has been a hygiene IT factor ever since it moved past the hype cycle a good few years ago. Over time, various components of IT hardware, software, and platforms have been moved to cloud by varying degrees. However, certain core pieces of IT missed the cloud bandwagon due to various reasons. Often, the legacy nature of IT applications has been a deterrent, while compliance and regulation have been other important factors.
In the absence of a platform that could bridge the data center applications with cloud applications, enterprises have been unable to leverage the full potential of their IT assets. That hinders business process innovation and delays the realization of business goals.
An agile private cloud has been a long-pending need. According to a Mckinsey IT as a service survey, the number of enterprises provisioning on-premises private cloud workloads is expected to double from 24% to 46% in large enterprises by this year.
While some private cloud platforms have evolved to accommodate some of the agility needs of enterprises, only a few of those platforms are able to truly transform the legacy environments and turn those agile.
As contended in the first part of this two-article series, when deploying a private cloud, enterprises need to be extra mindful of their choices they make.
In this article, we take a closer look at the possibilities specifically around the Big Blue’s Cloud Private offering and the ways in which it could benefit the enterprises. For the uninitiated, IBM Cloud Private is a private cloud platform that is truly infrastructure agnostic. It enables data center applications to continue running behind the enterprise firewalls and yet work with data and applications residing in the public clouds:
#1. Make the most of legacy investments
With IBM Cloud Private, Big Blue has addressed that long-standing need to cloud-enable legacy applications and make those available and accessible across an enterprise in a secure and compliant manner. This means that applications that were faced with the risk of getting extinct could get a fresh lease of life, thus also doing away with the need for new application development and deployment.
With IBM Cloud Private, enterprises can leverage their existing investments across both middleware and infrastructure. With new containerized versions of industry leading IBM middleware such as WAS, Db2, and MQ, enterprises can modernize those investments by utilizing them within the Kubernetes environment. IBM Cloud Private also runs on top of the client’s existing infrastructure, so no additional investment is required.
#2. Move data between environments- Securely
Today, big data has become a key driver of business agility. To respond to customer needs and market dynamics in near-real time, businesses must continuously work with data sourced from internal as well as external sources. Often, while the applications would be lying within the confines of the enterprise firewall, data could be lying out in the open, including on the social web. Vice versa, enterprise applications running in the cloud may need access to data residing within the enterprise firewall.
Due to compliance requirements, core data or application could not be moved to the cloud. At the same time, it makes no economic sense to move massive amounts of cloud data to the data center. IBM Cloud Private, by making use of Kubernetes containers, could seamlessly accommodate both the scenarios while ensuring that no security or compliance conditions are breached.
#3. Switch to public clouds on the fly
It follows from above that legacy applications in the data center are effectively separated not only from external sources of data but also from compute resources lying in a public cloud. This does away with the need to build storage and compute overheads for the legacy application within the data center, even if it were to work with a web-scale database during run time. IBM Cloud Private could orchestrate with public cloud storage and compute utilities for just-in-time usage, thus drastically bringing down such asset creation and maintenance costs for the enterprise.
#4. Support multiple-cloud architecture while embracing open source frameworks
IBM Cloud Private provides the API consistency with public clouds, enabling enterprises to open up their data centers to integrate with data and services across clouds. IBM provides and supports several key open source technologies, including MongoDB and Postrges. Since the platform is based on open technologies, it allows enterprises to also take advantage of a growing ecosystem of software and services that have been enabled for Kubernetes.
IBM Cloud Private also makes use of a less-publicized resource called Terraform, which is a next-generation infrastructure as code (IAC) tool. Terraform enables automated provisioning and management of datacenter infrastructure both in physical and virtual server environments. It can work seamlessly not only with IBM Cloud, but also with Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, VMware, OpenStack, and PowerVC platforms.
#5. Built for business innovation
IBM Cloud Private drives enterprise transformation by providing developers with choice of languages, frameworks, runtimes and services to build cloud-native applications and microservices. It also drives innovation based on existing and new services such as Blockchain, machine learning, and cognitive capabilities.
A peep into the future
IBM Cloud Private has been architected to make native use of machine learning so that business logic gets auto-defined to align with business goals. This is perhaps the most understated capability that’s been integrated into the Cloud Private platform. It significantly boosts the business agility of an enterprise by leveraging machine learning techniques to build business logics on the fly while dealing with datasets. This reverses the traditional paradigm that has so far worked the other way round by force-feeding data into predefined business logics. The biggest benefit of using this upside-down approach is that it shakes off all preconceived notions about data and hence removes all bias that may lead to errors in business decisions.
As a next-generation platform, IBM Cloud Private has an inherent adaptability to work with IT environments of all scales, maturities, and complexities. It gives administrators the flexibility to stay grounded in existing technologies while also enabling them to transition to new platforms of their choice. The possibilities with IBM Cloud Private are rich, diverse, and many.