MEASURED MIGRATION is Smart for the Datacenter and Clouds

Published by: Srini Chari

Imagine the solar energy needed to convert the earth’s water mass to clouds! Likewise, with legacy IT investments estimated to be in the trillions of dollars in an interconnected global IT environment, the sheer effort to migrate even a modest fraction of these environments to the cloud can be colossal.

Yet in the past few years the predominant debate in enterprise IT seems to be around the rate and pace of the transition to the cloud starting with the need to make the datacenter smart and agile.

While we believe that cloud computing will dramatically impact the way IT services are consumed and delivered in the future, we also believe that this transition must be thoughtful and measured. Companies must have a MEASURED MIGRATION trajectory that is staged to minimize risks and maximize returns. They must take great care to examine which business and IT processes can be migrated with an eye to optimizing their business metrics without assuming needless risk.

Numerous surveys suggest that cloud computing will be over a $100 billion opportunity by 2015 and a large fraction of IT solutions will be delivered over the cloud in the next few years. While we could debate on the precise estimates, we believe that:

  • The market opportunity is large with growth rates much faster than the overall IT industry,
  • Private and hybrid clouds will become the dominant cloud delivery models as enterprise workloads begin to leverage the promise of clouds and security concerns persist with public clouds,
  • Before making substantial new cloud investments, businesses will carefully examine the business case that will be primarily driven by their current and future workload needs, and lastly,
  • Customers will rely on cloud providers who have the deepest insights into their workloads and can deliver a broad portfolio of cloud software, services, and systems optimized to these workloads with a MEASURED MIGRATION strategy.

The winners, we believe, will be those IT solution providers who will not only have promising technology solutions in such cloud enabling technologies as virtualization, scalable file systems, end-to-end systems management, etc., but also have a strategic vision and execution path that facilitates this through MEASURED MIGRATION.

IBM in its Systems Software Division which is part of the Systems and Technology Group (STG) is one such large solution provider with an impressive array of over 16 cloud enabling IaaS technologies ranging from virtualization, systems management, to scalable file systems, to high availability and disaster recovery. But more importantly, in recent briefings, we were impressed by the strategy and vision articulated by the leaders of these IBM units. These leaders consistently emphasized the need to build end-to-end solutions and staged engagement methodologies that not only deliver the best in class technology solutions but also help clients with MEASURED MIGRATION as they modernize their datacenters or embark on the transition to cloud computing.

We heard these senior executives articulate the need for IT environments to be “tuned to task”, “optimized through comprehensive systems management”, “staged migration to private clouds and then seamlessly integrated with public clouds to manage spiky workloads”, etc. All this is critical for MEASURED MIGRATION.

In fact, at a later briefing, we learned that IBM has a growing Migration Services group that has grown by almost a factor of 10 in just these past 6 years or so. This “Migration Factory” is, we believe, a major driver of IBM’s substantial recent revenue growth across STG especially in the Linux/Unix market.

With thousands of successful migrations and competitive wins, we believe IBM and its ecosystem partners have the resources and track record to scale this MEASURED MIGRATION to the cloud. It’s a strategy that will ultimately – over the next decade or more – transition a significant part of today’s IT investments on our earth to the clouds!

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