Insights from IBM PartnerWorld Part 3: Infrastructure Matters in the Cloud

This is a continuation of part one and part two in the series of articles regarding my participation at the 2014 IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference. Please check back for part four, the final installment.
breakthrough economics

The third day of the conference (second full day) began with another general session, led by Steve Mills (SVP Software & Systems). The presentation by Mills was focused on why infrastructure matters in the world of IT solutions but that not all technologies are equal. Some of the key points made by Mills:

  • Insights from IBM PartnerWorld Part 3IBM and its Business Partners can help clients by telling them to get rid of boxes and applications, because there is too much duplication and underutilization of existing resources.
  • The explosion of data and devices is putting ever increasing pressure on IT infrastructure
  • IT must deliver breakthrough economics and value through infrastructure that is data ready, cloud ready, and security ready.
  • IBM has key enabling technologies that yield better economics and accelerated business velocity. Check out some of the IBM case studies showing how IBM infrastructure is driving performance and cost savings.

Not all cloud equal

  • Scale-up is here to stay. Don’t be fooled by those who say you can do anything with a given technology. Again, not all technologies are equal, and different types of applications require different types of technologies/approaches.
  • Not all Cloud is created equal because the workload requirements will dictate the optimal cloud deployment option.

SoftLayer (In a word, Wow!)

SoftLayerIn my humble opinion, the presentation by Lance Crosby (CEO of SoftLayer, an IBM company), was outstanding and a powerful indicator of how IBM is a leader in IT solutions and Cloud Computing. From what I heard at the conference, and in reading the trade press, Crosby was an extremely effective presenter, bringing some much needed clarity to the IBM messaging around Cloud and where all the “pieces” fit in the overall strategy.

newly expanded, rich, and complete portfolioCrosby began with a simple yet helpful definition of Cloud Computing. He then described SoftLayer and how many companies, such as Tumblr and Open Table, are built on the SoftLayer API. SoftLayer provides three types of Cloud solutions to fit a variety of needs – bare metal, virtual instances, and private cloud, Crosby emphasized that Virtualization is not Cloud … it is a component of Cloud. With the acquisition of SoftLayer, IBM is now, according to Crosby, 15 years ahead of others in Cloud because of its newly expanded, rich, and complete portfolio.

For more on why Crosby’s presentation was compelling, read this article on ZDNet. Plus, I encourage you to view Crosby’s entire presentation at PWLC.

A Sampling of Other Highlights

Here are a few highlights of some of the other speakers at PWLC:

Ways IBM STG division is transforming

  • Tom Rosamilia (SVP STG) provided some highlights and updates regarding Power Systems, including the recent announcement that Samsung Electronics has joined the OpenPOWER consortium. Rosamilia also walked the audience through the ways the IBM STG division is transforming itself and enabling the IBM Business Partner community for the Cloud era of IT.
  • Robert LeBlanc (SVP Software & Cloud) said that while technology convergence continues, the shifts in IT are intertwined. For example, IBM is making big strides in enabling technologies around mobility and advanced security – and both are tied to Cloud. He added that IBM Cloud has the breadth and depth to meet a wide range of client needs.
  • Richard Patterson (GM Global Technology Services) said that cyber attacks are a real and pervasive threat, therefore security is an IT imperative. He added that Cloud based backup and disaster recovery is an economical way to achieve 24×7 access to mission critical applications.
  • Sylvia Wong (Chief Trust/Compliance Officer) presented the results of a CEO study that shows that ethics and values are the #1 organizational attribute.

Goo Goo Dolls

  • The Goo Goo Dolls entertained conference attendees with an evening performance at PWLC


In the afternoon of the third day of PWLC, I attended the ISV and MSP Forum. My goal was to see what I could derive for the benefit of our ISV and MSP partners. Datatrend has a long-standing business practice in teaming with ISVs and MSPs for mutual success in the marketplace. We leverage a key teaming/enabling program called the Industry Solution Reseller (ISR) program.

It might be helpful to briefly describe the ISR program, and then I will return to highlights of the ISV/MSP Forum at PWLC.

The ISR program enables ISVs and MSPs to deliver fully integrated solutions (combining hardware, software, and other components) to end customers, but in a seamless manner whereby the ISV/MSP does not have to get enmeshed in the hardware aspects so that the ISV/MSP can instead focus on what they do best. Datatrend takes care of all the hardware aspects (establishing standard configurations, procuring the hardware, performing the hardware integration and software/solution integration, etc.).

The main goals and benefits of the ISR program to ISVs and MSPs are: (a) ease of doing business for the end customer, (b) faster time to license revenue for the ISV/MSP, (c) smoother deployment of the solution, (d) incremental business opportunity, (e) broaden market reach, and (f) strengthen customer relationships. In short, the ISR program helps ISVs and MSPs enhance and accelerate their own solution sales.

Now back to the Forum. The Forum was hosted by Laura Voglino (VP Ecosystem Development) and John Mason (GM Midmarket). “Ecosystem Development” is the new name of the group within IBM dedicated to helping create marketplace synergies amongst IBM, IBM Business Partners, and the community of ISVs, MSPs, developers, and startups. Laura and John facilitated a panel discussion involving a number of firms including one of Datatrend’s partners, Parallels.

panel participantsThe panel fielded questions from both the facilitators and the audience. The discussion made it clear that today we truly do have a valuable ecosystem of different types of partners who can work together more readily in contributing to leading-edge solutions for clients. For example, Datatrend has recently embarked on a partnering journey with Parallels, SoftLayer, and the IBM Ecosystem Development team to enable comprehensive solutions which leverage the Cloud, the Parallels Automation suite, and Flex infrastructure.

IBM and its Business Partners add value to ISVs and MSPs by surrounding them with tools and resources to help them reach more customers, better and faster. These include technical support, integration capabilities, and cloud enablement. The net result is marketplace differentiation for ISVs/MSPs and value creation for their clients.

ISVs and MSPs can learn more about how to team with Datatrend and IBM, or ask for an ISR application form or additional information.

Please check back for part four (the final part) in this series on the latest in IT solutions from IBM’s 2014 PWLC conference. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback. Please post your comments about Insights from IBM PartnerWorld Part 3 below or on Twitter.