Among its other virtues, the cloud has become an innovation-amplifier by serving as the optimal delivery vehicle for high-potential technologies such as AI, IoT, and quantum computing that were otherwise isolated from the mainstream of enterprise computing.
According to IBM Senior VP and Head of Cloud Platform Howard Boville, we can now add the mainframe to that list of highly capable technologies that the cloud has pulled into the mainstream of the modern business-technology world.
During his keynote address at our recent Cloud Wars Expo event in San Francisco, Boville said today’s well-deserved infatuation with the cloud has led to the misconception that no matter what the question is, the answer is “cloud.” But the truth is that for all of the cloud’s hard-earned achievements as well as its rich potential, alternative architectures such as the mainframe remain — and will remain for some time — superior solutions.
Boville said many business-technology leaders have become keenly aware of this distinction and, rather than trying to go wall-to-wall with cloud because it’s currently the trendy/shiny thing, they are looking for modern solutions that tie together the best of the mainframe world with the best of the cloud world.
And IBM, he said, has claimed the space in and around that very busy intersection with its hybrid-cloud strategy.
An example is IBM’s “Wazi as a Service,” which in spite of that doozy of a name is nevertheless quite an intriguing and high-value new offering. In a blog post, IBM sets up the challenge faced by many big companies still using workhorse legacy systems: “Enterprises with IBM zSystems running their mission-critical applications are looking to bring the best of cloud to drive their transformation without compromise. Lack of availability of agile environments (and the resulting wait times) are inhibitors for faster release cycles and software delivery, delaying the pace of innovation.”
But with the new service that fuses mainframe and cloud capabilities, business customers have new ways to approach that challenge. In the IBM blog post, Eurobank chief enterprise architect Harry Mavrakis is quoted as saying, “IBM Wazi aaS provides us with the much-needed agility to our development process. Within minutes, developers can now setup their own custom z/OS environment, use automation and work in total isolation without any dependency. This marks a huge shift in how we can deliver services to our customers.”
In Boville’s keynote address at Cloud Wars Expo — and starting July 20, you’ll be able to view that keynote in its entirety by registering here for your Cloud Wars Expo On-Demand Pass — he also cited other key elements of IBM’s hybrid-cloud strategy designed to help customers leverage all of the best capabilities of all of their various environments:
- Enhanced security extending even to the chip level;
- Purpose-built solutions for risk management;
- Developer productivity;
- Simplified and unified management; and
- Simpler journeys for IT modernization across the board.
As I’ve gotten to know Howard Boville over the past 18 months, it is clear he is not an old-school IBM exec whose view of the world is defined solely by what IBM makes and sells. Before joining IBM in April of 2020, Boville was CTO of Bank of America, and he has retained that customer-side perspective as he’s worked across the company to realign its approaches around what customers want and need, rather than around the internally oriented preferences informed by outdated IBM org charts.
After his keynote talk, a number of Cloud Wars Expos attendees asked me variations of this question: “Is that guy really from IBM?” And every one of them said that Boville had given them solid reasons to take a fresh look at IBM Cloud.
Boville has the strategic vision and the customer credibility to turn IBM’s “hybrid cloud” mantra into a high-impact approach for businesses looking to marry the legacy systems they have with the modern cloud solutions they need. You can catch the full story in Boville’s own words — along with all of the other outstanding content from Cloud Wars Expo — by registering here for your Cloud Wars Expo On-Demand Pass.