By Thomas B. Cross CEO – TECHtionary.com
Cloud computing in convergence, convections and more
Open computing has been around since the beginning of computing but like many tech efforts it only appeals to a few bold and brave developers risking their applications and the businesses they work. IBM is now driving open “cloud” based on their past performance starting with Linux and others long ago. Initially to be more competitive, it’s really core to their approach to computing today. That is, “IBM has invested close to $1 billion and dedicated hundreds of open source development, marketing, and evangelism resources over the past five years.” Clearly, they see open computing and now open cloud as the real wave in computing going into the future. IBM also noted, “We invest heavily in areas such as security, scalability, robustness, live upgrade, globalization, documentation, continuous integration, and delivery in the projects that we consider strategic. Of course, we also invest in the functional aspects of projects that bring IBM innovation into the open. We contribute extensively in other important aspects, including marketing, evangelism, and various board-level committee activities. Finally, we often lead the efforts to define interoperability and portability. We do this because interoperability and portability are critical to the success of any open technology endeavor.” Yet one must look critically at what they are doing to see where they are going in terms of benefits to customers and of course, themselves.
The development by IBM “works across all layers of the cloud stack, application development, blockchain, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and machine learning” which means they are pursuing closer if not total integration of their own systems with code and concepts developed by others. This approach brings them even closer to customers than ever before. Forty years ago, I lead the development of an award-winning concept which Slack does today on a DEC VAX. We found few customers, but one was a leading pharma company and we met with them and the project manager said, “your software is really great, and we can see the benefits in team communications, collaboration and project management. But between my office and my boss’s office is the IBM office which they (IBM) will have approve of your software which runs on competing computer platform and that is likely never going to happen.” Nevertheless, we did not get the order. It was a great lesson to learn about how IBM has and continues to dominant in many areas but clearly not all including the cloud. However, the IBM cloud and many other traditional computing platforms is not the leading provider. We all know who that is, and Jeff has bigger plans for the cloud than making you just being a happy “prime” member.
Summary – IBM and all the others are not here for our benefit other than to serve them up with all our cash and development resources. As I am of many things, quite skeptical of IBM and others as well as all the major and minor monopolies dominated by ever-fewer companies, along with more platforms such as smartphones, IoT and other forms, developer shortage and the always-present development time shrinkage makes even more complex. The cloud is not new – IBM invented the cloud with remoting computing on IBM 3270 “green screens” and has been there all along. Cloud computing for others like Google, Facebook, Amazon and all the others was and is their own attempts at building clouds which they also peddle to us. By saying a cloud is open or closed isn’t really the issue. Integrating one or many of these storm clouds is the real challenge as one cloud does not fit all bringing a convergence of high pressure, so fasten your seatbelt it will be a rough ride in the skies ahead.
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