Hybrid cloud steals the show at IBM Edge2014


You would think with Sheryl Crow headlining Tuesday night’s entertainment, this would be a debatable title, but after three days on site at IBM Edge2014 it’s clear that cloud—specifically hybrid cloud—has stolen the show. With over 5,500 technology leaders and practitioners from all industries descending upon the Venetian hotel this week, the discussion around the market movement towards hybrid cloud (and what this means for IT, developers and business leaders) has shown up threaded throughout the conversation.

Case in point, the opening video presented by Kelly Beavers, Vice President of IBM PureSystems, estimated that 61% of enterprises will be using a hybrid environment this year.

Personally, I’ve watched the cloud conversation evolve over the years from “a new computing paradigm” to dialogue dominated by buzz around public cloud. Through this evolution, there is a fundamental topic that often gets overlooked, which Senior Vice President Tom Rosamilia addressed best in his remarks on Day One:

“No matter what you hear about cloud, it’s running on infrastructure somewhere.”

hybrid cloud infographic small

Click for full size.

At Edge2014, this point was encouraged through leadership and IT discussions focused on innovation in cloud-ready systems and infrastructures—systems that business, government and cloud service providers rely upon to gain competitive advantage through a variety of private, hybrid and services cloud models.

I was lucky enough to sit in on a press interview with Cloud Business Development Director Sam Werner (@Werner_Sam) where he hit at the core of the hybrid cloud discussion: customers aren’t asking, “What cloud model do I need?” or “What workloads do I need to move to the cloud?” They are asking, “Can you help me deploy a cloud with these characteristics?” This question then moves the conversation towards building a hybrid cloud:

  • What kind of cloud infrastructure would work best for their specific IT, business and developer requirements?
  • What kind of model makes it easy to deploy X number of workloads on their own on-premise infrastructure, while easily connecting them with third-party service providers (or SoftLayer) to run X number of workloads on an off-premise services based environment?

Highlighted across both executive and technical sessions, hybrid cloud was pointed to as the most dynamic cloud model able to meet evolving business demands to optimize revenue and profit.

A hybrid strategy enables organizations to:

  1. Build customized cloud infrastructures that maximize benefits associated with private and public models
  2. Embrace new and changing workload demands that flex to accommodate a growing number of apps needing to handle big data
  3. Support changing business needs which are bound to surface as the market and technologies evolve.

Announcements at Edge2014 further solidified this market focus, as IBM announced it is beta testing a dynamic, hybrid cloud solution on the IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack platform.

Want more information on cloud infrastructure innovation? How about an inside view into these discussions and more from Edge2014? Check out the main tent presentations.

How do you remember Edge2014—and what does the future of hybrid cloud look like for you and your organization? Please leave a comment below.

Beth Taylor is a Market Segment Manager for Worldwide Cloud Growth Solutions within for IBM’s Systems and Technology Group. She has been working in cloud and managing strategic marketing and market shaping programs across commercial / federal sectors for over five years. She holds an M.S. degree in International Marketing from Boston University, and a B.B.A. in Marketing Information Systems from James Madison University. Follow her on Twitter: @BethATaylor20.

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