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Five cloud migration themes at IBM Think

The IBM Think conference will provide insight into Big Blue’s current and future cloud agenda, which now focuses on private and multi-cloud scenarios.

Like many legacy IT vendors, IBM has struggled to make gains in public cloud. “IBM’s DNA is really into selling large enterprise and government deals. Providing a little widget and a few gigs of storage are not the tasks people think of when they think of IBM,” said Hyoun Park, founder and CEO of Amalgam Insights.

Private cloud projects involve higher capital expenditures and overall expense, which appeals to companies like IBM, with its armies of consultants. It has historically derived significant income from services in general.

Here’s a look at some of the more notable cloud-related sessions at IBM Think that certainly tie into those ideas.

Setting the hybrid and multicloud vision

One of five IBM Think keynotes, titled “Hybrid, Multicloud by Design, Accelerating the Enterprise Cloud Journey,” will feature executives from IBM, VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger and Red Hat EVP Paul Cormier, as well as customers such as ExxonMobil. The session abstract describes how the ideal foundation for cloud computing is built on open standards and workloads that can move freely between platforms.

ExxonMobil is one of SAP’s largest and longest-standing customers, having used the software since the 1980s. This combination of speakers suggests the session will examine how the oil giant has adapted its massive SAP implementation to the modern cloud world.

Separately, IBM likely will cement its public commitment to open source – which got a jolt with its pending $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat – and as an enabler of multi-cloud and cloud migration, Park said. IBM and Red Hat executives may talk in general terms about their vision for the combined company, given the deal isn’t expected to close until later this year. Don’t anticipate  concrete details about product roadmaps, launches or rationalizations.

WebSphere in the cloud

One big opportunity for both IBM and its customers is the migration of on-premises Java applications built on the venerable WebSphere application server to the cloud. The IBM Think session “Application Modernization to Migrate and Manage Existing Applications in a Cloud World” will hone in on this topic, which is an irritation for many customers awash in legacy WebSphere apps.

WebSphere is available on IBM’s cloud, and has been since the service was still named Bluemix. It’s also an option on other cloud services, such as AWS. A couple of years ago, IBM talked about how customers should shift WebSphere applications to a microservices architecture as part of a move to the cloud. It’s likely that this year’s Think session will cover the same ground but attendees can expect an evolved message from IBM based on two more years of customer feedback and internal research.

One dashboard to rule them all

IBM will discuss its new Application Center for Cloud, a dashboard that provides visual tools for administrators to manage all their applications, whether hosted on premises or in the cloud. Application Center appears to be an expansion of IBM’s Cloud App Management service. Overall, it’s another measure by IBM to position itself as a neutral cloud infrastructure vendor — something rivals HPE and Cisco both try to do as well.

Drive all that data to the sky

Like AWS Snowball and Azure Data Box, IBM Mass Data Migration is a portable storage devices used to move large amounts of data into cloud environments more quickly than over a network.

A Think session titled “What’s New, What’s Coming and Client Journeys to the IBM Cloud” will discuss how IBM has improved Mass Data Migration’s data workload compatibility, share customer stories and preview features set for release this year.

While data migration may not be the sexiest topic on the IBM Think cloud agenda, it’s a reality every customer that makes the move must address.

Just in time for Java

IBM has long supported Eclipse OpenJ9, the open source Java virtual machine, which has gained currency in the cloud.

Java developers will likely want to take a big sip of a Think session on OpenJ9, which will discuss IBM’s new just-in-time (JIT) compiler as a service. JIT compilation is a longstanding feature of Java that translates Java bytecode into machine instructions at runtime and speeds up the creation of virtual machines.

Expect to learn more about how IBM will implement JIT at the conference. The session will be led by long-time IBMer Tim Ellison, who has contributed to Java for more than 20 years and now serves as IBM’s Java CTO.

Java developers could also get insights into how IBM plans to manage its increased influence over the stewardship of enterprise Java alongside Red Hat.

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