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Team Cloud at IBM

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The lovely folks at IBM analyst relations sent an email out this afternoon going over an organization note on IBM’s cloud computing work, to quote from the email:

Erich Clementi, Vice President, Strategy and General Manager of Enterprise Initiatives, has been named by IBM’s Chairman Sam Palmisano to define and coordinate IBM’s Cloud Computing offerings and business strategy.

This was pretty much an organization announcement. But, tangentially on the topic of what they’d be up to, there was this quote from Erich:

“This is a new paradigm in our industry, and it plays to IBM’s strengths: open standards, service oriented architecture, service management, scalable systems and excellence in data center operations,” Clementi said. “This is a unique opportunity to lead as we did with e-business and the rise of Linux and open source.”

We’re all over the open standards in the cloud discussing here at RedMonk. I always like the original tenants of SOA, and there’s nothing wrong with the mom-and-apple pie in the rest of the list there at all.

Stacy Higginbotham has more tech-details about what could be in the Blue Cloud over at GigaOm: Hadoop and Tivoli’s Workload Scheduler. John “the cloud to everyone’s silver lining” Willis is fond of talking about Tivoli Provisioning Manager in relation to IBM’s cloud efforts.

Others Involved

As the email goes on to say, Erich is from the Systems group (“STG”). In addition to Erich, the email named:

(There’s always a lot of Michaels around, eh?)

Of that group, I’ve met Willy Chiu and Kloeckner off and on while covering IBM. Several years ago Willy had a talk about what his HiPODS group had been doing in the area of SaaS. It was all under NDA, tragically, but my reaction was a fast “you should productize that and sell it pronto!” While at Lotusphere this year, I heard that some of the LotusLive.com product came from that work. See more about the HiPODs in this 2007 paper.

Why it matters

On this front, Sun started a whole division, which is not exactly what IBM is doing here. In IBM-speak, this is a cross-brand/orginization initiatives: horizontal instead of vertical. Announcing organization stuff like this may seem slow and boring for the fast-paced cloud news world, but IBM is like a giant country: organization moves are what makes things happen in IBM. Which is to say, for us IBM-watchers, having a public announcement about “this is our cloud team” is a big step.

IBM has announced a lot of cloud momentum news if you will – mostly connected with Willy Chiu setting up clouds in the education area. But, when it comes to official product lines and, you know, people working on offerings to products, there’s only been what you’d call tiger-teams of people.

Worse, in a company as large as IBM I’ve come across many, many different groups working on the cloud. That’s a great way to generate ideas and work on high-touch projects – of all places, at the System z Summit (mainframes) I saw a great talk on what one cloud team has been doing with larger IBM clients, including spanning out to Amazon’s Cloud.

But sooner or later (sooner with clouds what with Amazon out there killin’ it), you have to consolidate and have just one team. Otherwise, internal incentive lines get all borked up and customers are left confused.

Tivoli’s yearly user conference, Pulse, is right around the corner now. I’m hoping we’ll hear more about the IBM cloud machination there, if not offerings, products, and services.

Disclosure: IBM is a client, as is Sun.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. IBM et clouds…

    I only hope he doesn’t allow himself to get tied up in knots by people trying to define global architectures and claims of leading by creating all encompassing standards.
    ……