IBM and VCE pitch private clouds

IBM and VCE pitch private clouds

Date: Mar 03, 2011

It's private cloud and more private cloud this week on Cloud Cover TV. Carl explains IBM's ingenious work integrating Tivoli and VMware, which just might keep the IT giant in the cloud game, while Jo takes another pop at the pros and cons of VCE for private cloud.

And check out the Cloud Cover TV home page for the rest of the episodes.


Read the full transcript from this video below:  

IBM and VCE pitch private clouds

Jo Maitland: Hello, and welcome to Cloud Cover TV, our weekly show
on all the juiciest news in the Cloud computing market. My name is Jo
Maitland, in San Francisco.

Carl Brooks: I am Carl Brooks, here in Boston.

Jo Maitland: This week we are going to focus on private cloud. We are
a little bit obsessed with private cloud on the show, but I think with good
reason. Most enterprise IT organizations are still scared of the public
cloud for security reasons and a bunch of other stuff. Private cloud is the
way to go for a lot of companies these days, but figuring out what
technology to use, what they’ve got in-house that they can possibly
incorporate into a cloud-like environment is a really complicated
question right now. If you are an IBM customer, specifically an IBM
Tivoli customer, you actually caught a break this week, as it looks
like IBM might have managed to get out of its own way and has
retooled, or spruced up Tivoli Provisioning Manager to support a any
hyper visor, support X86 hardware, and it seems it goes a long way
towards enabling a private cloud. So, Carl, what exactly have they done?
You covered that news this week. What is it?

Carl Brooks: Here is the deal. It was a little bit under the radar. IBM
announced this at Pulse, one of their big user shows, but Tivoli, as
anyone may or may not know, is a data center automation tool, you
can provision servers with it, virtual servers, real servers, whatever.
They are a whole raft of other things that Tivoli does that are all into the
Tivoli label, such as it will manage storage for you. There is Tivoli
Storage Manager, which does virtualized storage and real storage, and
there are tools for image repositories, things like that. What IBM
announced is that they have now extended Tivoli, in beta, so maybe a
year from now this is going to be an actual, super real thing. In
beta, Tivoli will now interact with the VMware, VIM APIs, so if you
have a VMware hyper visor environment, you can, theoretically, they
have announced the beta, which means that it is not an actual product,
you can use all of your Tivoli Management Platform to incorporate
VMware just as you would any other Hypervisor, and you can do it on
any platform, X86, Mainframe, anything that Tivoli supports now, will
now support that with VMware and on commodity service, which is a big
deal; Tivoli is everywhere. It is everywhere that you find big iron,
it is everywhere you find IBM, it is in a lot of shops that may have a
little bit of IBM over here on the corner, or maybe have a lot of IBM,
and then have a little bit of something else in the corner. The point
is, is that it is really all over the place, and it has not, to date,
worked with the most popular commercial Hypervisor, which is VMware;
VMware has like 90 percent of the enterprise virtualization base.

We got these two things, and the trick is, if you got Tivoli on the
one hand, which, to be perfectly frank, is kind of a pain in the butt to deal
with, if you are an admin, or an operator, and you got vCenter on the
other hand, which, also to be perfectly frank, is a pain in the butt
to deal with; everything is a pain. There is nothing in life but
misery. You have these two things that people have been juggling them
side by side, and if you now want to converge even further, you can
choose Tivoli and run it right over your VMware and never have to deal
with vCenter again.

Jo Maitland: Wow

You can do that for VMware, Zen, KVM and also, HyperV, because Tivoli
will also work with those things. Basically, anything with an API that runs on
some kind of iron, you can now manage entirely through Tivoli. This is a big
deal because IBM is a big deal, basically. It is everywhere; they have been
around a long time. It is a really strong idea. We will see if they can deliver on
it and get this thing out of beta.

Jo Maitland: The hardware agnostic style is interesting to me, too. I joined the
Churchill Club Dinner the other night, which is this Silicon Valley
who's-who event. It is all right. There was not anyone under the age
of 50 in the room, obviously, but still they wheeled out Scott
McNealy, that is a little unfair, he was not wheeled out, but he is
getting up there now, and he was quite candid. The former CEO of Sun
for 20-something years and he basically said that one of his biggest
mistakes at Sun was ignoring Intel for as long as he did. He basically
said if he had wrapped up Solaris on any X86, or on Intel chipset, he
reckoned Google would not be running Linux now. Linux never would have
happened, and Solaris would have been everywhere. Essentially, he was
saying X86 is the de facto industry standard now for building huge
virtualized cloud environments. I am wondering if IBM in this more
agnostic stance toward hardware is actually acknowledging that a
little bit too. I think that piece of it is interesting. Obviously,
they must support the legacy stuff, which is important, but clearly
this works with any X86 box.

Carl Brooks: That is true, and I will give Scott some props for being slightly
optimistic. The basic point about Linux was that it was free, and
Solaris and Windows were not, but that is exactly what is happening.
The whole point of Cloud computing is it is not a new technology. It
is not some snazzy new way to operate, it is a new way to deliver
services and it is a new way to manage your IT infrastructure. IBM is
making an effort here to bring that all together. The new release they
got with Tivoli, this beta program, has a lot of features that are
actually drawn from other places in IBM, not just straight stock bone
Tivoli, which is a data center automation, everybody knows what that
is. It has parts of iLog, which is an acquisition back in 2008, are
built into this, that is business resource planning, that sort of
thing. It is really more about how you deliver the infrastructure, and
I think IBM has recognized that its customers may not be using IBM
Iron, they may be using whatever is closest to hand, and it is pretty
important.

Jo Maitland: Do we get the pay-as-you-go piece yet, the provisioning?

Carl Brooks: In Tivoli, there is provisioning and metering and all of that self-
service sort of thing, to a certain extent. Tivoli is self-service for
the admin, it is not self service for the dude at his desk, but it
does have that automatic on demand capability to it, and to be honest,
Tivoli, five years ago, in a properly built IBM conversion stack could
do exactly what most people think of as private cloud today. It could
provision on demand, it could do elastic bursting, and it had
application performance monitoring. The problem was that it was all
IBM and IBM was not doing a great job with delivering advance on
notable disasters delivering large scale, highly virtualized,
automated environments that we might now, today, call private cloud.
This is definitely a new animal though; this is not yesterday's Tivoli
provisioning. This is something much closer to what people think of as
cloud computing.

Jo Maitland: The cost piece is interesting to me too, where private cloud is
concerned. If you are actually building something that is cloud-like
internally, the idea should still be that you are reducing your IT
costs. I had this interesting conversation this week with the CTO of a
healthcare services company called Care Core National. I asked him, he
is a huge VCE user, that is the VMware, Cisco, EMC box with a UCS
system in there from Cisco. I asked him, 'Do you feel that you are
experiencing the benefits of Moore's Law using the VCE system?' He
literally laughed out loud; it was really funny, I wish I got him
live. He literally cracked up laughing, and his quote was, 'That's not
the magic they bring.' I said, 'What is the magic that you get from
using VCE, and do you believe you built a cloud inside your
organization?' He said, that the thing about VCE that really engaged
him was this integration of these core blocks of technology. He
described that as cloud enabling and he said, 'No. It is not a Cloud
and in fact, two thirds of the work that they had to do was on top of
VCE. That was just an integrated infrastructure stack essentially.' He
said all the business processes and IT processes that they had to
reengineer all of those in order to provide infrastructure-as-a-
service internally, and that was where most of the work came in. VCE,
essentially, is integrated infrastructure; let us not pretend it is
anything else. He said, it was great and it was working really well.

He said, interestingly, that they still have IBM gear internally, and
that their claims system is still running on mid range IBM stuff. He
said that application is a real heavy duty application, it uses DB2,
and he said, 'To rewrite that thing to run on VCE would have been
completely crazy.' They would not have been able to afford to do it
and they had a lot invested in it already, it didn't make sense, from
a cost perspective. It turns out that people, they have a lot of
applications that they just cannot rewrite, and I know some of your
reporting as well, is showing you that.

Carl Brooks: A lot of people say, 'Is cloud not just hopped-up virtualization,
or data center automation?' The answer is, 'No.' What you said is exactly
the reason why. Converged infrastructure, data center consolidation,
this is a distinct animal. It may well be a forerunner for cloud
computing in some ways, to deliver a specific part of infrastructure
to IT, but it is not the real deal just by itself, and it is not the
real deal even if you just slap a simple provisioning system on top of
it. When you talks about cloud computing, you are really talking about
a very distinct set of organizational procedures and reorganizations
that have to happen before you can call what you do a private cloud.
Sometimes that can be wide ranging in scope, sometimes it can be very
narrow. I have a user, like yours, runs a bunch of medical centers,
and this company focuses on acquisitions, they buy up little doctor's
offices. He bought a UCS in, and he says, 'Yes. I do want a private
cloud. Do you know what I do with it?' I said, 'I provision desktops.
I run VDI to my 700 or 800 users, and that is the extent of cloud. We
do storage in other places. We do back-end financials in other places,
what I consider cloud computing is provisioning and managing end user
desktops with my UCS, but I brought that in all new.' It is a discreet
little system just for him, but in the larger enterprise, especially
with people who already have infrastructure built in, you cannot
simply pop a box down, turn it on, get a web portal and call it cloud
computing, it is really organizational wide. It is really a change in
mindset and a change in the way you deliver IT.

Jo Maitland: That is actually the hardest part of it.

Carl Brooks: It is a truism, hardware is still cheap. $5,000 for a server
versus paying somebody home many umpteen-thousands of dollars to
rehab the way you do process. It is clear where the actual work lies.

Jo Maitland: What did you think of the news? Did you see Michael Capellas,
the former Compaq CEO, now running the VCE Company and Marc Benioff,
the CEO of SalesForce, both of these guys have been invited to co-chair
a non-profit organization that advises the governments. Vivek Kundra
and his crew over at the US Government side on their cloud strategy.
I am just curious, these two dudes who are extremely proprietary in their
cloud offerings are now advising the government.

Carl Brooks: Somebody take the happy pills away from Marc before he
gets on that. Benioff's shtick on Cloud is, he is right to the extent that he is
right about SalesForce, but the government model is interesting. They
have a mandate, essentially, top down, to move to cloud computing
services. This does not mean that they are all going to move to
Amazon, or what have you, this means that the contractors who actually
serve the government and do the actual work are going to have to
qualify themselves as cloud providers, and they can do that in a
variety of ways. Having these guys on the board, I think is really, it
lends a little bit of gravitas, but it really speaks more to some
influence peddling in the back.

Jo Maitland: Yes, interesting. Thank you, Carl. This has been Cloud Cover
TV. Thank you for watching, and tune in next week for all the insider news
on the Cloud computing market.

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