Previous Blogs

July 30, 2019
T-Mobile, Sprint and Dish: It’s All about 5G

July 23, 2019
The Contradictory State of AI

July 16, 2019
Changes to Arm Licensing Model Add Flexibility for IoT

July 9, 2019
Intel Highlights Chiplet Advances

July 2, 2019
Ray Tracing Momentum Builds with Nvidia Launch

June 25, 2019
AT&T Shape Event Highlights 5G Promise and Perils

June 18, 2019
HPE and Google Cloud Expand Hybrid Options

June 11, 2019
AMD's Gamble Now Paying Off

June 4, 2019
Apple Blurs Lines Across Devices

May 21, 2019
Citrix Advances the Intelligent Workspace

May 14, 2019
Next Major Step in AI: On-Device Google Assistant

May 7, 2019
Microsoft Bot Frameworks Enable Custom Voice Assistants

May 1, 2019
Dell Technologies Pushes Toward Hybrid Cloud

April 23, 2019
Intel and Nvidia Partner to Drive Mobile PC Gaming

April 16, 2019
Samsung Galaxy Fold Unfolds the Future

April 9, 2019
Google Embraces Multi-Cloud Strategy with Anthos

April 8, 2019
Intel Helps Drive Data Center Advancements

April 2, 2019
Gaming Content Ecosystem Drives More Usage

March 26, 2019
PCs and Smartphones Duke it Out for Gaming Champion

March 19, 2019
PCs and Smartphones Duke it Out for Gaming Champion

March 12, 2019
Proposed Nvidia Purchase and CXL Standard Point to Data Center Evolution

March 5, 2019
Tech Standards Still Making Slow but Steady Progress with USB4 and WebAuthn

February 26, 2019
Second Gen HoloLens Provides Insights into Edge Computing Models

February 19, 2019
IBM’s Watson Anywhere Highlights Reality of a Multi-Cloud World

February 12, 2019
Extending Digital Personas Across Devices

February 5, 2019
Could Embedded 5G/LTE Kill WiFi?

January 29, 2019
Successful IT Projects More Dependent on Culture Than Technology

January 22, 2019
XR Gaming Market Remains Challenging

January 15, 2019
The Voice Assistant War: What If Nobody Wins?

January 8, 2019
Big CES Announcements are TVs and PCs

January 2, 2019
Top Tech Predictions for 2019

2017 Blogs

2016 Blogs

2015 Blogs

2014 Blogs

2013 Blogs

TECHnalysis Research Blog

August 6, 2019
IBM Leveraging Red Hat for Hybrid Multi Cloud Strategy

By Bob O'Donnell

While it’s easy to think that moving software to the cloud is old news, the reality in most businesses these days is very different. Only a tiny fraction of the applications that companies rely on to run their day-to-day operations operate in the cloud or have even been modernized to a cloud-native format.

In fact, at a recent cloud-focused analyst event, IBM pointed out that just 20% of enterprise applications are running in either a public cloud (such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc.) or private cloud. And remember, this is nearly fifteen years after cloud computing services first became publicly available with the launch of Amazon’s Web Services. It stands to reason, then, that the remaining 80% are old school, legacy applications that are potentially still in need of being updated and “refactored” (or rewritten) to a modern, flexible, cloud-friendly format.

This opportunity is why you see most enterprise-focused software companies still spending a great deal of time and money on tools and technologies to move business software to the cloud. It’s also one of the main reasons IBM chose to purchase Red Hat and is starting to leverage that company’s cloud-focused offerings. IBM has a very long history with enterprise applications through both its software and services businesses and, arguably, probably has more to do with the enormous base of traditional legacy business applications than any other company in existence.

To IBM’s credit, for several years now, it has been working to modernize the organization and its offerings. A key part of this has been an emphasis on cloud-centric services, such as its own IBM Cloud, as well as tools and services to migrate existing applications to the cloud. Red Hat’s OpenShift, which is an open source version of a Kubernetes-based container platform (a technology that sits at the heart of most cloud-native applications), is an essential part of that cloud-centric strategy.

Specifically, OpenShift, along with IBM’s new CloudPaks, can be used to help modernize legacy applications into a containerized, cloud native form, then deployed either in a private cloud, such as behind the firewall of a company’s own on-premise datacenter, in a hosted environment, or in one of several public clouds, including IBM’s own cloud offering. What makes the latest announcements most compelling is that OpenShift is widely supported across all the major public cloud platforms, which means that applications that are written or rebuilt to work with OpenShift can be deployed across multiple different cloud environments, including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and Alibaba.

In other words, by building the tools necessary to migrate legacy applications into a format that’s optimized for OpenShift, IBM is giving companies an opportunity to move to a hybrid cloud environment that supports public and private cloud, and to leverage a multi-cloud world, where companies are free to move from one public cloud provider to another, or even use several simultaneously. This hybrid multi-cloud approach is exactly where the overall enterprise software market is moving, so it’s good to see the company moving in this direction. To be clear, the transition process for legacy applications can still be long, challenging, and expensive, but these new announcements help continue the evolution of IBM’s cloud-focused positioning and messaging.

Of course, IBM also has to walk a fine line when it comes to leveraging Red Hat, because Red Hat is widely seen as the Switzerland of container platforms. As a result, Red Hat needs to reassure all its other cloud platform partners that it will continue to work equally well on them as it does on IBM’s own cloud platform. To that end, IBM is very clear about maintaining Red Hat as a separate, independent company.

At the same time, IBM clearly wants to better leverage its connection with Red Hat and made some additional announcements which highlight that connection. First, the company announced it was bringing a cloud native version of OpenShift services to the IBM Cloud, allowing companies that want to stay within the IBM world a more straightforward way to do so. In addition, the company announced it would be bringing native OpenShift support to its IBM Z and LinuxONE enterprise hardware systems. Finally, the company also debuted new lines of Red Hat-specific consulting and technology services through the IBM services organization. These services are designed to provide the skill sets and training tools that organizations need to better leverage tools like OpenShift. The journey from legacy applications to the cloud doesn’t happen overnight, so there’s a tremendous need for training to get businesses ready to make a broader transition to the cloud.

Of course, even with all the training and tools in the world, not all of the remaining 80% of traditional legacy enterprise applications will move to the cloud. For many good reasons, including regulatory, security concerns, and unclear ROI (return on investment), certain applications simply won’t become cloud native anytime soon (or ever). There’s no doubt, however, that there is a large base of legacy software that is certainly well-suited to modernization and adaptation to the cloud. Not all of it will be able to leverage the new IBM and Red Hat offerings—there are quite a few aggressive competitors and other interesting offerings in this space, after all—but these moves certainly highlight the logic behind IBM’s Red Hat purchase and position the company well for the modern hybrid multi-cloud era.

Here's a link to the column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in regular audio podcasts in conjunction with the team at
  Research Offerings
TECHnalysis Research offers a wide range of research deliverables that you can read about here.