Vegas, IBM, innovation, cloud, and a good scotch
11/21/2012 by Greg O'Connor
Vegas to Boston, with a nice glass of scotch in my hand, I settled in for yet another red eye flight (I am getting way too old for this). There was plenty of time to reflect on what had been a jam packed couple of days at the IBM Impact 2012 global conference themed, “Innovate, Transform, Grow.” Already in high gear, our partnership with IBM was highlighted in a 451 Research report IBM chooses AppZero as application virtualization partner for SmartCloud written by Rachel Chalmers @rachelchalmers.
The 451 report walks readers through IBM’s strategic vision and business drivers, right into the challenges and obstacles of getting Windows applications on to their SmartCloud as seen through the eyes of IBM Distinguished Engineer Mac Devine. The Director and CTO for IBM’s SmartCloud portfolio, Mac was the one who initiated a partnership between appzero and CohesiveFT to smooth cloud on-boarding as well as enable hybrid and federated SmartCloud deployments.
The piece concludes with the observation that appzero is, “strategically critical to IBM's ability to extract workloads from its customers' proprietary environments and run them on IBM's own relatively open cloud.” It was a good way to kick off appzero’s run at Impact in Vegas.
The theme of innovation was underscored by the opening keynote delivered by Steve Jobs biographer, Walter Isaacson. Walter did a masterful job of weaving Steve stories into the 100 year history of ground breaking, mind-bogglingly innovative IBM firsts. He then launched into an exploration of the attributes great innovators have shared throughout history — Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and of course, Steve Jobs.
Seeing Jobs on stage, in spirit, as the opening keynote for IBM, talking about innovation made me think of how I would remake Apple’s iconic commercial “ Why 1984 Won’t Be Like 1984”. In my version
“Why Cloud Won’t Be Just for New Apps,” with Amazon cast as Big Brother. It would go something like this:
"Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Cloud Purification Directives. [IBM's hammer-thrower enters, pursued by a horde of Bezos clone troopers.]
We have created for the first time in all history a developer pure sand box, where each developer may code, secure from all annoying considerations of any business needs.
Our unification of one-button click-to-buy is more powerful than any Pure System or Linux Cloud on earth.
We are one Cloud, with one sandbox, one large EC2 instance, one giant S3 LUN.
Our enemies shall talk themselves out of private or hybrid cloud and we will bury them with their own confusion. [Hammer is thrown at the screen]
We shall prevail!” [Boom!]
Did I mention that I had not really slept in 4 days and might have had a scotch or two before getting on the plane? With or without scotch, we are seeing cloud mature beyond dev/test and new/greenfield apps only – shifting from the early day developer-lead paradigm to a maturing, top-down focus on business needs.
Meeting with some of the largest technology innovators, we are seeing two interesting trends:
1.) For born-in-the- enterprise apps, our customers want to migrate just their application to the cloud (private, hybrid or managed). In effect, they are leaving their “mess” behind, exchanging it for a consistent operational stack at cloud scale.
2.) For born-on-the-cloud apps, our customers want to take control of the dev sand box and move newly developed applications back in house, or to a provider with a higher SLA – perhaps even a dedicated provider. The developer may well have started off in the Amazon sand box, but where does the business want to conduct business?
These questions, which call for moving enterprise applications, are not well answered by moving machines/VMs/OS/servers. With a nod toward Steve Jobs, I’ll take a note from Apple’s old well known, if grammatically challenged, tagline:
And here’s how to start. We have this strange little video that shows our zapp migration tool in action. zapp extracts an application from AWS and moves it, along with all of its configuration and data to the SmartCloud in under 5 minutes. You can zapp a SQL Server 2008 DB to the cloud in 8 minutes; a Websphere Application Server (WAS) and app in 7.
Consider that to just install either one of these assets takes 1 hour and many more hours to configure and turn into production apps. App zapping with appzero is 50-500 times faster than any other way to move an app to the cloud. Which lets you do something that can be even tougher than thinking differently…….