IBM Cloud

How Multicloud Management Can Unleash More Value and Innovation

Q&A with Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President, IBM Hybrid Cloud

As organizations continue to ramp up adoption of cloud technologies, they are increasingly running into the challenge of how to manage hybrid environments that can comprise public cloud services and private cloud platforms from different vendors and service providers. To help companies manage these growing environments, IBM is introducing Multicloud Manager, a new, open platform that can help them move and manage applications across clouds environments.

To understand the challenges many companies face as they continue to expand their cloud infrastructures, and how IBM Multicloud Manager can help, we talked to Arvind Krishna, IBM Senior Vice President of Hybrid Cloud.

IBM is introducing a new cloud management technology, Multicloud Manager, for managing public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. What is the challenge it addresses for clients?

Today, we are finding that companies are only 10% to 20% into their cloud journeys. Much of their initial focus has tended to be on low-end infrastructure as a service. Renting computing capacity.  However, clients see a higher value opportunity with cloud. They see an opportunity to liberate their valuable data, in the cloud, and apply new services to it, such as AI, analytics and Blockchain. But to do that, they need to be able work across cloud environments – to move apps and workloads across their own multiple clouds, regardless of the vendor. 

Imagine you’re an airline. You have thousands of moving parts. Aircraft, crew, food, luggage, parts, maintenance staff, ground staff, fuel – all of which are managed in different processes, different clouds – but all of which need to be optimized in the context of each other, for the airline to really unleash the value of the cloud.

That’s why airlines have been so aggressive in moving to the cloud. And IBM Multicloud Manager is designed to make it much easier for them to work and deploy across those business processes, in the cloud, and optimize across the airline. 

How does support for multi-cloud environments fit into IBM's overall cloud strategy?

Like the rest of IBM’s portfolio, we have always been focused on delivering business value with the cloud. It is not about scale for the sake of scale, but helping clients leverage the cloud to optimize their business, launch new business services rapidly, or enter new markets.

To accomplish this, companies today want to deploy across multiple cloud environments, regardless of vendor, and today’s announcement is a major breakthrough in accomplishing this.  It will help unlock the next 80% of business cloud innovation. 

What are the key features and capabilities that make Multicloud Manager unique? What clouds does it support?

IBM Multicloud Manager is a cutting-edge technology designed to help enterprises move and manage applications across multiple cloud environments. This means that companies can now integrate different clouds from different vendors and different environments - all in one spot. 

But what makes this technology truly stand out is the operations console we have built for it. While other services may give users a siloed view of their different clouds, IBM Multicloud Manager lets them take action on it and manage one unified environment and with one “version of the truth.”

While it is optimized on the IBM Cloud, Multicloud Manager is based on open standards and lets companies also manage and integrate workloads on clouds from different providers such as Amazon, Red Hat and Microsoft, as well as their own private clouds and on-premises environments.

Why is it important to have an open approach to cloud?

First of all, it’s important to note that IBM has a long standing open-standards approach to emerging technology, whether it’s Linux, Java, or the work we’re now doing with Hyperledger on blockchain.  As we enter a new era defined by cloud and artificial intelligence, IBM is bringing that same approach, based on our experience, to these new markets. 

As for cloud, while cloud adoption is growing, companies are still being held back by a lack of interoperability and concerns about performance and security. Companies with legacy IT infrastructure want a gradual transition to the cloud, and want choice for which platforms to use rather than being locked in to proprietary providers. Despite the ability to containerize and manage apps with ease using Kubernetes and other container technologies, moving and deploying apps across different platforms and providers remains difficult.

Right now, companies are typically manually stitching together a patchwork of environments and platforms which can be slow, expensive, and complicated.  It’s simply not sustainable as cloud deployments increase.

By taking an open approach to cloud, IBM gives our clients the ability to mix and match their cloud environments based on what they need to accomplish. It’s no secret that openness and interoperability are built into the very fabric of IBM’s long history, and we see these capabilities continuing to be a critical factor as we enter into this next phase of cloud and AI.