Easing Enterprise Migration To The Cloud

No one knows better than IBM that the time, money, energy, and risk associated with changing platforms can hinder that change. In some cases, as with the System z mainframe, this helps the company preserve its footprint in the datacenter. But in other cases, it hurts IBM’s ability to get people to try out different public or private infrastructure.

It is no secret that Big Blue wants a much bigger cloud business, and that it got a late start compared to Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. But IBM does have a presence at most of the large companies on earth, and this counts, too. And that is why IBM is building out its portfolio of products and services designed to help enterprises make the sometimes costly and complicated move to a cloud environment.

The company already offers the Aspera High-Speed Transfer software that makes it easier for customers to migrate larges amount of data to or from any cloud environment, or between clouds. More recently, IBM rolled out its Cloud Mass Data Migration service to help organizations securely move their data into the IBM Cloud. And through its Cloud Innovate program, IBM offers a range of services aimed at accelerating cloud adoption by enterprises by providing everything from advice on cloud adoption and modernizing their existing applications to building applications for the cloud and adopting emerging new technologies like microservices.

Focusing on helping customers make the move to public, private, or hybrid clouds makes sense. According to a report from the IBM Institute of Business Values, 80 percent of organizations are budgeting money for cloud projects, and 74 percent say that cloud adoption has significantly improved their customers’ experience. IDC analysts are predicting that by next year, at last half of all IT spending will be cloud-based, growing to 60 percent of all infrastructure spending and 60 to 70 percent of all software, services and technology spending by 2020. Public cloud companies and vendors throughout the tech industry offer suites of services to help with cloud migration. Most recently, Nokia this week announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services to help service providers more easily migrate to AWS. Not surprisingly, given the increasing enterprise embrace of public, private, and hybrid clouds, the demand for help in adopting the cloud is growing. IBM officials have pointed to a Markets and Markets report that says cloud migration services will grow into a $7 billion market within the next four years.

IBM wants a piece of that action, and this week introduced two new services that are designed to ease enterprise efforts to move their data and workloads to the cloud.

The company’s Cloud Migration Services and Cloud Deployment Services are aimed at making the migration faster and less expensive and to enable customers to more quickly adopt infrastructure automation tools like orchestration. The services work with IBM’s Services Platform with Watson, which helps bring artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to the effort to more quickly identify and solve problems before they cause disruption. The new services not only will enable companies to move their workloads to the public cloud faster and more securely than other services, it will improve hybrid cloud deployment efficiency by up to 60 percent, according to Bridget Karlin, CTO for IBM Global Technology Services.

Through the Cloud Migration Services, enterprises can more efficiently move their virtual and physical workloads from any source through automation tools that streamline the migration process and reduce server downtime through the use of live capture and incremental data sync capabilities, according to IBM officials. With IBM Cloud Deployment Services, IBM offers a hosted solution that uses automation to provision and orchestrate hybrid cloud infrastructures.

The migration service is for any-to-any migration, Prakash Somani, director of global technology hybrid enterprise IT offerings at IBM, tells The Next Platform. That means being able to migrate the customer’s workload from their legacy virtualized environment, on-premises or hosted private cloud and any cloud vendor to any public cloud or any private cloud, whether it’s on-premises or hosted. The focus is on virtualized x86-based WinTel environments that cover Windows or Linux operating systems, though “AIX or any other OS can be done on customization bases,” Somani says. That includes Linux running on non-X86 architectures, such as IBM’s Power Systems. He added that the migration is done using automation tools from IBM and can be completed “at the speed the customer wants – within reasonable limits.”

Not long ago, migration services referred to competitive efforts by datacenter infrastructure vendors to entice customers of rivals to switch to their platforms. Not so much anymore. In a post on the company blog, Karlin noted that “in the past, migration services used to be defined as moving existing infrastructure to a new platform every time you changed vendors. Today, migration has an entirely new meaning. Migration involves moving data and workloads from existing systems to private and public clouds in order to achieve significant savings.”

Somani reiterated the point, adding that while IBM would “love clients to come to our platform, services are not limited to the IBM platform or have any specific target.”

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