Lenovo Cloud Director: Open Source Technologies Are The Glue That Binds The Hybrid Cloud

Hardware giant Lenovo is banking on a future where both public and private clouds are critical in driving IT innovation, and the glue binding those hybrid environments is mostly open source technologies.

Dan Harmon, Lenovo's group director of cloud and software-defined infrastructure, encouraged solution providers attending the NexGen Cloud Conference & Expo on Wednesday to explore opportunities to engage Lenovo as its products stock the next generation of cloud data centers.

Both public and private clouds are growing rapidly and will dominate the market by 2020, Harmon told attendees of the conference produced by CRN parent The Channel Company.

[Related: Forrester Researcher Projects Cloud Hyper-Growth Through 2020]

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While there's much hype around public cloud, private cloud is the true emerging battleground in the market, Harmon told NexGen attendees. Nearly all enterprise customers – 96 percent according to a recent survey – believe private infrastructure can reduce costs and increase innovation, he said.

The "private cloud technology game is just getting started," Harmon said, and there are a lot of opportunities. "The state of the enterprise today is heterogeneous and complex."

And across those deployments, open source technologies "are today's preeminent architecture" in the software-defined data center, Harmon said, with products like the OpenStack cloud operating system growing roughly 35 percent every year.

To excel in those markets, vendors and their partners need to recognize that "business, new IT, they're both like a game," Harmon said.

"There's tried and true steps to success in any game. And the first is understand the game you're playing … so well you can basically debunk conventional wisdom," he said.

It's also important to focus on finding and hiring staff with in-demand skills around open source products, networking, containers and security, he said.

Harmon closed by saying technology partnerships differentiate Lenovo, which has "been recognized as having an advantage of partnerships with big and small providers" including companies like Intel, Microsoft, VMware and SAP.

Matt Henderson, senior manager for services at Insight, a solution provider based in Tempe, Ariz., told CRN after Harmon's tech talk that he was surprised to learn of Lenovo's focus on open source solutions.

Henderson also said he was happy to hear Harmon address the shortage of skills sets in the workforce, because that’s' what his company is seeing in the market.

"It was nice to confirm that," he told CRN.