Like most events this year, IBM Think moved from an in-person conference to a virtual one due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. It was held May 5-6, 2020, but sessions are still available on-demand.
I’d like to draw particular attention to the keynote given by IBM CEO Arvind Krishna — while he believes the pandemic is having a devastating human and economic impact on the world, it is also accelerating the enterprise digital transformation journey. Specifically, he singles out hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) as the two dominant technologies enterprises are using to move from analog to digital business processes.
Krishna believes that four macro forces are driving the adoption of a hybrid cloud environment. First, organizations need to leverage the massive investment they already made in their existing on-premises environment. They also need to have the choice of working in multiple environments, including multiple clouds, in order to access not just better pricing, but also innovation. Hybrid cloud also overcomes a serious physics problem by keeping workloads that are sensitive to latency much closer to the end-user. Cloud providers build their data centers far from urban centers, and at those distances, even the speed of light is not fast enough to prevent lag. Finally, hybrid cloud provides global organizations with the ability to comply with data regulations across regions, which may require local data to remain in-country.
Krishna pointed out that COVID-19 is driving the adoption of not just hybrid cloud, but also AI. These technologies can help organizations navigate a world in which supply chains are disrupted, employees cannot access the office or physical IT systems and where consumers are forced to rely on digital, contactless methods of buying the goods and services they need.
AI, for example, can help organizations become even more efficient, providing AI with new capabilities for automating their IT infrastructures to reduce costs. In this way, organizations are better able to withstand the shocks and changes that COVID-19 has brought to organizations’ networks. By automating their IT infrastructures, they can reduce costs and become more resilient.
To help organizations leverage both hybrid cloud and AI, IBM made a number of important announcements.
Watson AIOps, which is built on Red Hat OpenShift, uses AI to respond to IT problems in real-time. The IBM cloud satellite, built on an open source Kubernetes foundation, automates deployment and management of cloud native services across computing environments, and can be delivered as a service on-prem or at the edge.
Finally, IBM announced new edge and telecommunications network cloud solutions built on Red Hat OpenStack and OpenShift. It will enable organizations to run services from anywhere, whether IT wants to use a local data center, the edge or any one of multiple clouds.
“History will look back on this as the moment when the digital transformation of business and society suddenly accelerated,” Krishna said, “and together, we laid the groundwork for the post-COVID world.”
Key Information Systems