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IBM SWG: HiPods and The Innovation Factory

I’m continually amazed at all the stuff that IBM has “hiding” in it’s nooks and crannies. The “known” face of IBM, to be frank, is middle-ware and traditional packaged applications. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but the “web worker” in me is always looking to bring the technologies of the public web — wikis, blogs, tags, and other user-centric, quick-and-easy Web 2.0 things — behind-the-firewall and into business applications.

Productizing the Web Worker

Along those lines, the last session I was in was surprisingly exciting, like hearing about Hoplon’s use of IBM hosted Linux on mainframes. The HiPods part of the session went over IBM’s version of Grid 2.0 (oh no! but what else are we going to call the new bumper of grids-but-we-don’t-call-them-grids like EC2?). The Innovation Factory, which runs on IBM’s grid, showed how IBM is using wikis, blogs (roller was mentioned), podcasts, and other Web 2.0 ideas and technologies to help companies collaborate around creating new services and products. Or, to boil it down, helping companies to innovate.

In a nut-shell, it seems like the kind of thing RedMonk is always telling IBM they need to do. There’ll be more of a chance to talk with the labs folks and figure out what’s going on in this area tonight, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up with them.


The core questions I have are:

  • How does the grid pricing compare to things like Amazon EC2, hosted Azul, and other Grid 2.0 offerings? I suspect the answer will be that more functionality is offered, so never mind the price…which may be a valid way to segment the grid market.
  • How do you keep up with the pace of what’s available? Once software gets productized, it often lags years behind what’s available. That’s one of the product management strategies that offering SaaS addresses; the hope being that the down-sides of SaaS out-weigh the benefits of frequent updates to the software/service.
  • How open is Thought Factory “stack”? In a large way, the “web worker” life is all about what I saw in the demo and is currently supported by several public services (like Technorati), open source applications (hosted or self-managed), and wet-integration. From the enterprise lense, what’s missing from “the public thought factory” is identity management, auditing, and control. One can always be snarky (but half right) and say the lack of those things is what makes it all work ;>
  • How different is The Thought Factory than systems integration and custom application development? I suspect that part of what amazed customers like Sprint when IBM delivered them something in two weeks was a combination of (a.) IBM doing a lot of custom work, and, (b.) feature arbitrage where customers didn’t realize all these Web 2.0 things were so easily available.

Anyhow, I’m already late for lunch and I’ve missed breakfast. Here are the notes:


Disclaimer: IBM is a client, and indirectly related, Amazon A9.

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Categories: Agile, Collaborative, Conferences, Enterprise Software, Open Source, RSS.

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Continuing the Discussion

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