IBM reviews: Securing cloud data without vendor lock-in
By Carol Ko 30-Dec-2010
Any proper review of IBM's cloud initiatives and achievements in 2010 would have taken up more pages than most other vendors if left unchecked. In the past year, IBM's extensive 'cloud' footprint wasn't marked by a busy agenda of data center expansion, but by big wins in cloud computing contracts and concrete steps taken to forge security standards through partnerships with other key stakeholders in the IT industry.
A quick look at the official launch date of IBM's cloud portfolio wouldn't suggest that the Big Blue was a particularly early starter in the cloud race, as the first IBM Blue Cloud Initiative wasn't announced until 2007. But as of today, IBM is already serving "hundreds of cloud clients in the Asia Pacific," while maintaining eight data centers in Asia.
In terms of R&D investment, IBM has invested billions of US dollars globally, including 13 IBM Cloud Labs which houses concept proofs, cloud development projects and custom pilots. Locations of these cloud labs in Asia include China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, South Korea and Japan.
Moving forward, IBM has stated publicly that as part of the 2015 earnings roadmap, the company will invest for growth by driving US$20 billion in new revenue from four initiatives, which includes cloud computing alongside with growth markets, analytics and Smarter Planet.
Below is the excerpt of an interview between IBM's Paul Moung (picture) and Asia Cloud Forum. Moung is vice president, cloud, IBM growth markets. The dialog below outlines IBM's key cloud offerings and customer wins in 2010, detailed insights into the major cloud trends in 2010 and 2011, and various steps IBM has taken to forge cloud security standards and practices.
Asia Cloud Forum: What is the current state of cloud computing adoption in Asia?
Paul Moung: Cloud adoption has been growing considerably in the second half of 2010 and we see that trend continuing in 2011. We're seeing many clients investing in exploratory cloud projects where they are selecting certain workloads for pilots. We're also seeing more clients recognizing that cloud can help transform both IT and the business. The possibility to transform a business is truly exciting.
Client requirements are still emerging, but China, Australia, South Korea and Singapore seem to be early leaders in cloud. The other countries in Asia Pacific will increase adoption in 2011, with infrastructure and business maturity the main consideration for adoption.
What specific trends in cloud computing have you observed in the past year?
Moung: From a client perspective, we have seen awareness, understanding and exploratory adoption of cloud computing increasing rapidly across the Asia region. Because of the successes in other parts of the world like North America and Western Europe, many clients in Asia are now viewing cloud computing not as much an "unknown technology," but rather an alternative delivery model that deserves serious consideration.
|"Cloud computing is a delivery methodology that is about putting the power into the hands of the end user and removing the traditional constraints."|
-- Paul Moung, VP, cloud, IBM growth markets
Another key trend has been the reasons for adopting cloud computing. We are now starting to see cloud adoption happening predominantly motivated by four possible scenarios:
- An infrastructure focus to increase flexibility and velocity of service delivery, reduce costs and improve overall capacity of existing environments;
- A business focus on more effectively managing a mobile workforce and improving employee productivity;
- A business focus to dramatically improve time to market for new Web-based or Web-accessed services usually in response to market conditions; and
- Recognizing the possibility that cloud could deliver value but not fully understanding how and where to begin, and thus engaging a third party like IBM to develop an overall enterprise cloud strategy and roadmap.
The most significant technology breakthroughs in cloud computing relate to improved end user devices for rapid access and greater user comfort and secondarily, but just as important, the significant improvements in software to manage the cloud environments, manage the integration of cloud environments with traditional computing, and management between cloud computing environments.
What specific trends in cloud computing do you foresee for the next three years?
Moung: Over the next three years we will continue to see a rapid adoption of private cloud computing deployments among larger enterprises and organizations created to support or supporting today collections of smaller organizations.
We will continue to see a continual rollout of public cloud services from both traditional and upcoming cloud providers. For example, communication services providers (telecommunications) are rapidly looking at ways to provide cloud computing solutions for their small to medium business customers, and IBM has personally been involved with government projects focused on providing cloud computing solutions for key target constituencies.
We will see adoption of public cloud services continue to gain speed as trust in providers becomes more established, and the services being provided increase in variability and specialization. However, most large organizations will need to integrate public cloud services with existing systems so we expect to see a rapid growth in the hybrid cloud models.
Finally, a major trend that is occurring is the specialization of cloud computing services to fit certain specific industry needs. IBM believes that trend will continue to develop rapidly over the next three years.