IBM InterConnect 2017: Hybrid Cloud Offers IBM the Best Chance to Differentiate

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • In contrast to HPE and Cisco, which have recently retreated from maintaining public clouds, IBM continues to assert its strengths as a public cloud provider.
  • IBM should build on its capabilities to deliver hybrid cloud solutions, while also preparing for strong competition from Microsoft, Dell EMC and VMware.

The cloud was the central theme at this year’s IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas, with IBM emphasizing the growing strength and competitiveness of the IBM Cloud, while also launching several new initiatives to support enterprise hybrid cloud deployments. These include a new strategic alliance with Red Hat that is intended to make it faster and easier for enterprises to deploy OpenStack-based hybrid clouds and the launch of a suite of tools for managing hybrid and multi-cloud environments – some of which utilize IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning engine, Watson, to offer predictive management capabilities. Read more of this post

SDN Offers Hidden Benefits That Enterprises Shouldn’t Overlook

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

• Core network enhancements can benefit enterprises from a network performance and service cost point of view.

• Flexible bandwidth services and pricing models are maturing and are worth a second look.

In 2015 and early 2016, SDN was the buzzword du jour of the telecoms industry, but the attention has now shifted to SD-WAN. Perhaps this is inevitable since SD-WAN is the newer technology and is at the forefront of several recent or upcoming service launches from providers such as Telstra, Orange Business Services, and BT, amongst others. SD-WAN also seems to offer more tangible benefits to the average enterprise customer, particularly those with a large number of smaller sites, or those seeking to adopt virtualised network functions such as firewalls and session boarder controllers. Read more of this post

Google and Microsoft: Suite Spots for Team Collaboration Apps?

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• There will be a resurgence in the suite versus best-of-breed debate, as organizations look to simplify and rationalize their IT environments.

• A combined ‘best-of-suites’ approach is likely to dominate until vendors can eliminate redundant functionality and provide better integration within their single offering.

Recently, there have been some significant advances in the team collaboration space from Google and Microsoft. This burgeoning market has seen some early pioneers (e.g., Slack and Atlassian HipChat), garner considerable success; however, history oftentimes shows that latecomers grow to dominate markets and both Google and Microsoft have advantages that do not apply to the likes of these first movers. Google and Microsoft have significant customer bases, strategic partnerships, plus the combined assets of their respective G Suite and Office 365 services. Indeed, application and service integration is a key selection criteria for team collaboration apps and consequently, purchases are likely to be influenced by a customer’s preference for a specific office productivity suite vendor. Read more of this post

The Top Five DevOps Takeaways from Google Cloud Next

C. Dunlap

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Google made its play for the enterprise based on hefty investment abilities and innovation in app development platforms and data analytics.
  • Google says it’s doubling down this year, and already winning over half of its cloud deal bids.

Pitted against Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, Google understands its messaging needs to address its ability to cater to the mission-critical businesses of global enterprises embarking on new digital initiatives. In a word, it’s about innovation. That’s exactly what execs focused on this week during Google Cloud Next in San Francisco: a shift from consumer to enterprise apps that will carry large organizations into the next wave of cloud computing, which spans from high-level concepts around applications that leverage AI and machine learning to build apps that actually learn outcomes to emerging DevOps app development models and architectures. (Please see this Advisory Report for more coverage.) Read more of this post

AI and Machine Learning Need Developers More Than Data

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• Google wants to democratize AI and operationalize machine learning (ML) with the release of Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine, a platform that includes developer-friendly APIs and pre-trained data models.

• But what the company really needs isn’t just data, algorithms or even data scientists but instead a new breed of developers, who can build software that can anticipate outcomes.

It’s always the same at the end of a company’s keynote address. After all of the important messages have been conveyed and all of the product announcements have been made, a mid-level corporate mouthpiece will take the stage and provide the audience with some positive reinforcement of what went before. It’s like the closing credits of a film, something that may contain a nugget of interest to the cinephile. More often, it serves as filler, a thematic soundtrack to accompany attendees as they make for the exits.

Read more of this post

At Cisco Live! EMEA 2017 Cisco Showcased its Ongoing Transformation and Unveiled its Vision of an IoT Future

 

C. Drake

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • This year’s Cisco Live! EMEA event showcased Cisco’s DevNet initiative, which fosters cooperation between IT engineers and application developers and promises to change future networking and data center technologies.
  • Cisco’s latest initiatives reflect the recognition that future network and data center architectures must evolve if they are to handle the sort of data processing, storage and analytics that will be needed in an IoT era.

At this year’s Cisco Live! EMEA event, Cisco demonstrated the extent to which it’s transforming from being predominantly a hardware supplier into a provider of software and services that help enterprises grasp opportunities in IoT.  Ruba Borno, Vice President of Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff to Cisco’s CEO, expounded on the different elements of this transformation and Cisco’s vision of positioning itself further up the technology stack to become a complete solutions provider for enterprise IoT initiatives. In order to fully realize this vision, Cisco is embracing a more comprehensive and layered approach to security, as well as increased infrastructure automation, the use of analytics to optimize application and infrastructure performance, and the full utilization of multi-cloud environments. Read more of this post

Question: What Is Watson Workspace?

T. Banting

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • IBM has much to do to ensure Watson Workspace is comparable to other competing services already established in the market prior to its mid-2017 release.
  • IBM’s unique differentiation is in the power of Watson Workspace Services APIs – utilized in Watson Workspace and made extensible to other platforms.

With IBM Connect 2017 (IBM’s conference dedicated to all things collaborative) at a close, I have some time to digest and share my reflections regarding Watson Workspace. Anchoring on the Watson brand (yes, that 2011 computer champion from Jeopardy!), Workspace is one of a long line of collaborative team apps made famous by market-making vendor Slack. Currently in private preview, Watson Workspace is far from a finished service; indeed, compared to many of its counterparts that offer real-time communication alongside collaboration (e.g., Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Rainbow, Cisco Spark, Slack, Unify Circuit, etc.), Watson Workspace could be dismissed as a rudimentary persistent chat service. However, IBM is leveraging its Watson might to differentiate through ‘cognitive’ computing (as opposed to the artificially intelligent bots offered by all too many vendors), while integrating with other companies such as Box, GENBAND, Cisco, Vidyo, Zoom and over 500 ecosystem partners exposed through IFTT, Workato and Sapho web automation services. Read more of this post

At IBM the Future of Collaboration Isn’t Rosy. It’s Pink!

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• IBM has a problem. How can it present a viable alternative to the Microsoft collaboration juggernaut that is Office 365 while simultaneously bringing its still sizable IBM Connections customer base forward?

• The answer, apparently, is to turn pink. After Connections 6 rolls out, IBM will completely reinvent its collaboration platform, quite literally throwing aside internal obligations, existing software investments and technical dependencies.

Usually I find it hard to take a man dressed in a pink linen pink suite seriously. That’s especially true if the man is standing in front of a huge PowerPoint slide adorned with an animated, dancing puffer fish. So, when I sat down this week at the IBM Connect 2017 conference in San Francisco to listen in on a session by IBM’s Baan Slavens and Jason Roy Gary on the future of IBM Connections, I was prepared for disappointment. Rather, I was prepared for “yet another” grand but ultimately unachievable view of how collaboration might be, if only IBM were free from corporate obligations, past engineering investments and technological dependencies. I was entirely mistaken. Read more of this post

Safe Enough for Government Work? Bringing in the Internet as Part of UK Hybrid Networks

G. Barton

G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

• The UK Government Digital Services (GDS) statements about moving to the Internet may be over ambitious, but they are not wholly wrong.

• SD-WAN is making the Internet a more viable and better-performing WAN alternative.

Internet connectivity has been an accepted part of hybrid WAN infrastructure for a while, but traditionally this has focussed on remote/home workers and small branch offices or retail stores. However, the public Internet is becoming a more mainstream connectivity medium. A big indicator of this shift is the UK GDS announcing that it intends to kill off the Public Services Network (PSN) ‘network of networks’ programme in favour of public Internet services. GDS has been lukewarm on PSN for a while now so the announcement is not a wholly unexpected shock. However, the seemingly open-armed embrace of Internet connectivity is more surprising, particularly for a public sector body where the data held is both sensitive and politically charged. Is this announcement a watershed moment or an overly ambitious/foolhardy move? Read more of this post

What Should Avaya Do Next?

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Assuming Avaya exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the next few months, what should the company do to succeed going forward? We entertain five changes we feel necessary for Avaya not just to continue, but to thrive within the rapidly changing unified communications and collaboration market.
  • We emphasize a focus on the public cloud and advanced analytics as well as a return to a more unified product portfolio.

A few days have passed now since I returned from my visit with Avaya at its annual user conference (Avaya Engage) last week in Las Vegas, Nevada. And my opinion hasn’t changed substantially. Avaya is in trouble. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel of its self-administered Chapter 11 filing with the bankruptcy courts. The question, of course, concerns the type of light that awaits Avaya. Will it be the warming rays of our modest sun, or will it be the blinding glare of an oncoming train? I believe it will be the former. I believe that Avaya can succeed long-term within a marketplace that is undergoing a highly disruptive change from hardware to software and services. Read more of this post