THINK 2020: IBM Extends Hybrid Offering With IBM Cloud Satellite

The News: This week at IBM Think, IBM announced the launch of IBM Cloud Satellite to be generally available later this year making IBM Cloud’s mix of tools and capabilities available to its users on-premises and at the edge. Read IBM’s announcement here.

Analyst Take: IBM undoubtedly understands the importance of hybrid cloud and this update to the IBM Cloud offering speaks to a keen awareness of the importance of streamlining the offering to create more continuity for clients navigating between cloud, on-prem and edge deployments.

I see this offering as the company’s way to compete more effectively with AWS, which has had a warm reception to its Outposts, enabling its customers to have more consistency in tools and experience for all workloads regardless of location.

The Key Tenants of IBM Cloud Satellite

In brief, I believe there are four key tenants to the IBM Cloud Satellite Offering that potential customers need to pay attention to.

  1. Workload Placement: We know hybrid is the long term answer, and the ability to place workloads anywhere with an open source foundation such as Kubernetes is important. This is the way IBM Satellite has been designed and this will be attractive to potential users.
  2. Service Catalog: Cloud providers are competing more and more on the catalog of services available to deploy seamlessly across workloads. IBM has a strong catalog that continues to expand, which will be important for winning customer adoption. IBM has the advantage here with OpenShift (Red Hat), but also has extensive offerings in CI/CD, AI and Database.
  3. Control Plane: This is why Outposts were such a well received offering for AWS users and it will work for IBM as well. Cloud users want consistency in their control plane as well as cloud management/observability. Satellite appears to be the answer to this for IBM Cloud users expanding hybrid deployments.
  4. Security: I have long believed IBM has had a strong advantage in security and this is a chance to show it off by deploying consistent access and security policies in hybrid environments using the company’s strength in on-prem and mainframe and carrying those capabilities over to its cloud offering.

Overall Impressions of IBM Cloud Satellite

From a structural standpoint, the IBM Cloud offering with Satellites is well designed and has some significant advantages that should make it attractive for use. I am particularly fond of the “Meet where you are approach” of IBM that enables users to adopt its Cloud Satellites without having to procure new, specialized hardware.

I believe IBM will have a lot of success in moving its current customers toward adoption of the platform as the enterprise move toward Hybrid continues to be significant. Where I will be watching closely will be the new customer wins and attachment rates for existing customers. Essentially, do customers that are starting to adopt cloud, embracing multi-cloud or perhaps pivot off of another cloud provider and move to IBM?

With the appointment of Arvind Krishna as CEO and Jim Whitehurst as President, along with the immediate validity that IBM’s Cloud was given with the acquisition of Red Hat, there are growing reasons to believe that IBM Cloud has a solid opportunity to be come the Third largest Cloud provider behind AWS and Microsoft. IBM’s focus on enterprise and its wide array of attached services and products are also compelling and should play a role in the ascent of IBM Cloud. Satellites is a definite strength in the portfolio–It will be interesting to see numbers and growth as the product goes GA.

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

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Image: IBM

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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