Interop: IBM Urges Cloud Computing Readiness

Get ready for cloud computing, because it isn't going anywhere any time soon, IBM proclaimed Wednesday it its keynote presentation at Interop Las Vergas 2010.

"Even though in five years it may be called something different, clouds are here to stay," IBM's vice president of strategy and enterprise initiatives of systems and software and cloud computing CTO Kristof Kloeckner said.

According to Kloeckner, more than 65 percent of CIOs polled by IBM plan to make extensive changes to their business models and processes while 71 percent plan to focus on collaboration and partnership, both areas that are ripe for cloud.

And various forces are colliding, making cloud top of mind in the enterprise: the consummation of IT, the convergence of infrastructure and the "big switch," which introduces new deployment choices, Kloeckner said.

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"I think the most powerful notion about the cloud is that it comes from the consumer Internet," he said, adding that consumers have long demanded self-service, interfaces and on-demand access. Later, he added that "IT organizations now have choices how to deploy IT services, where to deploy them and who to source them from."

While the various facets of cloud computing aren't anything wholly new, Kloeckner said it's the combination of the technologies -- virtualization, service automation, SOA and Web 2.0 and usage tracking -- that changes the landscape. And cloud computing tying together several characteristics including on-demand self-service, ubiquitous network access, location independent resource pools, rapid elasticity and flexible pricing models, make it an interesting proposition for the enterprise.

"What is really new is these technologies coming together to change the way IT-based services can be consumed and delivered," he said.

Next: Cloud Users See Benefits

Leveraging that combination of technologies, cloud users are seeing big benefits. Kloeckner said lower costs, reduced IT complexity, a shift from capital to operational expenditures and fast access to new technologies are just the tip of the cloud iceberg.

"Rapid adoption of new technologies can be greatly enabled by cloud computing adoption," he said.

Kloeckner said clients have told IBM that they have reduced IT labor costs by 50 percent for configuration, operations, management and monitoring; they have improved capital utilization by 75 percent by reducing licensing costs; they have reduced provisioning from weeks to minutes and improved cycle times; they have eliminated 30 percent of software defects and improved quality; and they have reduced IT support costs by 40 percent by end users.

With the savings and headache reduction evident, Kloeckner urged the Interop audience to start investigating cloud computing options, regardless of public, private or hybrid clouds to reap the benefits or risk losing a competitive edge.

"If you're not already engaged in a cloud project, you and your organization better get going," he said.