Kyndryl IBM, and Microsoft

The Six Five team discusses the Kyndryl and IBM collaboration.

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Patrick Moorhead:  Let’s go into the next topic. Kyndryl made a big announcement with IBM.

Daniel Newman: Microsoft.

Patrick Moorhead: Oh awesome.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, no, it’s okay. This is the one that I threw out at you. So Kyndryl, Microsoft made a mainframe announcement, which is kind of interesting, because we all know that Microsoft is not really in the mainframe space. But at the same time, what we’ve seen over the last few years is, a lot of the big public cloud providers are putting more effort in to enable certain mainframe workload migration, either off mainframe or also collaboratively with the mainframe.

And I think that’s something that you and I have reiterated endlessly on this show. The mainframe is not dead. In fact it’s going to continue to be really critical, especially in highly regulated industries. Companies are going to continue to need it for the security, reliability, resiliency. And what’s happening, though, is there are parts of the enterprise that probably benefit more from modern cloud architectures.

So what’s basically going on is, Kyndryl, which is from IBM, so that’s probably what you were thinking, Pat, has their zCloud, which is basically one of its big business units. According to our mainframe analyst Steven Dickens, basically he’s estimated that of the around $19 billion in top line revenue that Kyndryl has, four billion of it is tied to the mainframe. So a really important part of the business.

And so basically what’s going on is, Kyndryl and Microsoft announced that they’re going to basically connect Kyndryl environments to Microsoft Azure based power platform. Wow, okay, very interesting. So the zCloud becomes basically capable of connecting to single tenant customer hosted systems in the Microsoft cloud. And long story short, by doing this they’re going to basically create four advantages for their customers. It comes down to accessibility, innovation, collaboration, and integration. So the ability to access and connect mainframe data to the cloud.

This is also going to drive, with the power platform, the ability to create applications across the DevOps pipeline. From a collaboration standpoint, you can actually have the mainframe talk to teams using natural query language, which is pretty interesting for both productivity and execution. And then from an integration standpoint, you can take mainframe data and build low code, no code applications on the power platform to empower this citizen developer movement, which is a big deal to Microsoft.

As I see it as a whole, this is a part of this evolution that’s going on where mainframes will long be critical to many, many industries. That’s why it’s driving such a big part of the Kyndryl business, that’s why IBM has long been so committed to it, and that’s why companies like Microsoft and AWS have been aggressively building strategic migrations that don’t necessarily take everything off the mainframe but give a pipe that connects data from mainframe to cloud in a way that’s both accessible and secure.

So I think it’s an important partnership, and again, I think the mainframe’s going to be around a lot longer than people think, because we’ve been getting rid of it for the last 50 years, and it’s still here and that’s not going to change.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, good stuff Daniel. This really goes under the moniker… Us analysts, we like to put everything in their box. This is mainframe modernization. It was interesting about three years ago at AWS re:Invent, Andy Jassy had put up… first of all, knocked Oracle like he does every event, but he also put IBM in his target, and he announced a mainframe replacement program.

What’s interesting, here we are and we saw this announcement between IBM and AWS, it is now a mainframe modernization program, which is almost an industry, or at least an AWS, realization that mainframes aren’t going away, but let’s help our customers to modernize them. One thing I want to point out, when Daniel says power platform, he’s talking about the Microsoft as opposed to the IBM power platform, which is the server platform that they have.

So now IBM, through Kindle and Microsoft, have two partners. And who knows? Maybe Google Cloud, next week they’ll come out with a mainframe modernization type of program. This is clearly in the bead of Kyndryl, right? As an IBM spinoff, they were doing a lot of this type of managed services and outsourcing type of deals. So I don’t know, because I don’t follow Kyndryl as closely as you do, whether this is a trend or just a one off, but it’s good to see Kyndryl working with other players out there like Microsoft..

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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