Chris Drake, Global Data’s principal analyst (data centre technology) on some of the big questions that surround IBM’s hybrid cloud strategy
IBM and Red Hat’s announcement refers to the the proprietary nature of today’s cloud market, with implications for things such as data portability and security.
Although the two say that IBM and Red Hat will be strongly positioned to address this issue and accelerate hybrid multi-cloud adoption, there are lots of questions about how they plan to do this. (These are issues that all leading hybrid cloud providers are working on addressing; so precisely how the link-up between IBM and Red Hat will give them an advantage remains a somewhat open question).
Impact on IBM Cloud Private
There are also questions about how this development will impact on IBM’s main hybrid cloud play, IBM Cloud Private, which they announced last year.
It’s interesting that they’ve already expressed plans to continue building and enhancing Red Hat partnerships, including those with major cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba, in addition to the IBM Cloud.
Does this mean that IBM will promote equal access to these additional public clouds as part of its Cloud Private offering and, if so, how will it do this?
Differentiating Hybrid Cloud Solutions…
There’s a lot of talk about how this will shake-up the market for hybrid cloud solutions and position IBM as “the world’s #1 hybrid cloud provider”.
However, hybrid cloud comes in many shapes and forms and this is a fast-changing market that’s being targeting by a growing number of major players.
See also: Red Hat: Halloween’s Special
Other examples of major hybrid cloud offerings that have emerged in past few months include VMware Cloud on AWS, Microsoft Azure Stack, Oracle Cloud at Customer and Cisco Hybrid Cloud Platform for Google Cloud.
Alibaba is also targeting new opportunities for delivering hybrid cloud services. Google has hybrid cloud offerings with Cisco and Nutanix and now appears to be developing its own on-premises cloud solution.
There’s a Plurality of Hybrid Cloud Offerings Out There…
Many of the large infrastructure vendors have more than one hybrid cloud offering.
For example, Huawei has its own OpenStack-based offering as well as its own distribution of Azure Stack. Cisco also has its own OpenStack cloud offering, as well as a distribution of Azure Stack and its new hybrid cloud offering with Google.
Red Hat has been reporting strong customer demand for its OpenStack cloud (which it presents to the market as a hybrid cloud solution).
It’s unlikely that IBM would want to disrupt this and may therefore use the acquisition to develop a more differentiated range of hybrid cloud solutions.
Despite all these questions, there will definitely be plenty of benefits for the two companies, particularly around access to one another’s existing customers…