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Arvind Krishna: 6 Reasons IBM Is ‘Positioned To Lead’ Hybrid Cloud, AI

In a letter to investors highlighting some of the biggest opportunities ahead, the IBM CEO pointed to Red Hat OpenShift, reimagined workflows with AI and working with partners to drive consumption.

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Focus On Red Hat OpenShift

Krishna calls IBM’s strategy “platform-centric,” with Linux, containers and Kubernetes the foundation of its hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift as the core product. IBM’s hybrid cloud approach allows clients to connect back and front office, modernize mission-critical workloads, build cloud-native apps and securely deploy and manage data and applications across various IT environments. The approach has plenty of room to grow, according to Krishna--who estimates that less than 25 percent of workloads have moved to public clouds so far, with clients finding 2.5 times more value in a hybrid cloud approach compared to a public cloud alone.

“Red Hat was a key driver with normalized revenue growth of 18 percent in 2020 and a backlog topping $5 billion for the first time at year end,” Krishna said in the letter to investors. “Red Hat, together with our modernized Cloud Pak solutions, delivered overall software revenue growth for the year.”

Krishna was the architect of IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat more than 19 months ago. He plans to unleash a full-fledged IBM partner ecosystem to win the architectural battle in the cloud with Red Hat OpenShift as the “default choice” for hybrid cloud and AI, eliminating IBM direct sales competition with partners through a new simplified sales structure that focuses IBM’s global direct sales force exclusively on the biggest accounts and leaves the rest of the market to ecosystem partners.

Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier has told CRN that the Linux powerhouse does not and will not provide parent IBM any special treatment as a cloud partner in accordance with strict rules for maintaining neutrality in its technology alliances.

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