🗂 Link: IBM i Clouds Proliferating At Rapid Clip – IT Jungle

“We partnered with Google because Google wanted to partner with us and Amazon didn’t want to partner with us,” IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will said during a panel discussion at the inaugural POWERUp conference in San Antonio, Texas, in June 2018. “So hey Google is going to succeed with Power. Now I have Amazon calling, asking us.”

Source: IBM i Clouds Proliferating At Rapid Clip – IT Jungle

Link: IBM fuses its software with Red Hat’s to launch hybrid-cloud juggernaut

The effort has started with IBM bundling Red Hat’s Kubernetes-based OpenShift Container Platform with more than 100 IBM products in what it calls Cloud Paks. OpenShift lets enterprise customers deploy and manage containers on their choice of infrastructure of choice, be it private or public clouds, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba and IBM Cloud.

The prepackaged Cloud Paks include a secured Kubernetes container and containerized IBM middleware designed to let customers quickly spin-up enterprise-ready containers, the company said.

Five Cloud Paks exist today: Cloud Pak for Data, Application, Integration, Automation and Multicloud Management. The Paks will ultimately include IBM’s DB2, WebSphere, API Connect, Watson Studio, Cognos Analytics and more

Source: IBM fuses its software with Red Hat’s to launch hybrid-cloud juggernaut

Link: IBM Takes A Hands Off Approach With Red Hat

The reason for this hands-off attitude for such expensive acquisitions is simple: Both VMware and Red Hat live and die by the fact that they are neutral to any particular platform. While IBM may prefer Red Hat’s various elements of the stack – the Enterprise Linux operating system, the OpenShift container system, the OpenStack cloud controller, the JBoss application server, and the Ceph block and object storage – it cannot prevent Red Hat’s vast partner network from doing what they do, which is compete against IBM and each other selling Linux stacks. To not do so would be to destroy the value of the Red Hat business, just as Dell would destroy the value of the VMware business if it had only put VMware’s virtualization and cloud software on its own PowerEdge servers

Source: IBM Takes A Hands Off Approach With Red Hat

Link: Assessing IBM i’s Role In Digital Transformation

Making the financial case:

“This is going to sound silly,” he says. “The hardest part isn’t necessarily the refactoring. The hardest part is convincing people to do this. Because, let’s be honest the upfront cost can be very scary, man. It can be frightening. The business is going to say, ‘We just put in X amount of dollars last year to support these kinds of environments.’ You kind of have to ask the question, what’s going to happen five years from now?”

While the legacy application may not be “broken,” forward-looking companies will consider the lost opportunity costs that are inherent when an existing system is not agile enough to support new opportunities and initiatives.

“You’re going to have to have the conversation where you can’t integrate with cloud at all, or you can’t integrate with data analytics, or you’ve failed to do cognitive system and your competitors are because RPG can’t support this stuff?” Kleyman says. “But just because it’s working doesn’t mean necessarily it’s bringing value back to the business.”

It’s easy for an executive to identify problems when servers are down, the application is throwing errors, and the day-to-day business is being impacted. It’s much harder for the executive to be able to identify the ways in which a legacy system could put hamper growth in the future.

“Honestly that’s one of the best approaches, when things aren’t on fire, to start asking some of these difficult questions,” Kleyman says. “It’s kind of like in a relationships. When everything’s going great, you don’t want to bring up any sore points. But realistically speaking, you don’t want to start arguing when everything’s wrong and you start bring up the pain points.”

Source: Assessing IBM i’s Role In Digital Transformation

Link: How IBM Watson Overpromised and Underdelivered on AI Health Care

MD Anderson Cancer Center partnered with IBM Watson to create an advisory tool for oncologists. The tool used natural-language processing (NLP) to summarize patients’ electronic health records, then searched databases to provide treatment recommendations. Physicians tried out a prototype in the leukemia department, but MD Anderson canceled the project in 2016—after spending US $62 million on it.

Outside of corporate headquarters, however, IBM has discovered that its powerful technology is no match for the messy reality of today’s health care system. And in trying to apply Watson to cancer treatment, one of medicine’s biggest challenges, IBM encountered a fundamental mismatch between the way machines learn and the way doctors work

Source: How IBM Watson Overpromised and Underdelivered on AI Health Care

Speed, Accuracy, and Flexibility, IBM circa 1920

The purpose of a sales force is to bring a company’s value proposition—its “deal”—to customers. That value proposition results in the development of a company’s “go-to-market” strategy, how it will implement that plan. Central to that activity can be a direct sales force, people who meet face-to-face with customers, a typical approach with complex and expensive equipment. For simple products, a catalog or store can suffice, and today even a simple website will do. In 1914, ITR’s and Hollerith’s products were complicated, and so one had to make a clear case about why customers should buy them.

There was considerable consistency across the decades about IBM’s value proposition. Watson explained to a new batch of executives that, “We are furnishing merchants, manufacturers and other businessmen with highly efficient machines which save them money.” For the larger IBM community, he followed with, “That is why we are going to make more money for this business.” He spoke about how IBM created value. By 1920, Watson was preaching that the way to accomplish C-T-R’s goals was “to serve better industry’s vital requirements—the need to conserve time, motions and money.” He introduced a signature for IBM sales literature, too, that delivered a sound-bite value proposition used for decades: “Speed, Accuracy, and Flexibility.”

From IBM: The Rise and Fall and Reinvention of a Global Icon.

Management, as practiced by a young IBM

Of course, there were countercurrents. Managers wanted to control activities. That impetus for control and management of potential risks led to the rise of bureaucracy, characterized by highly defined processes. Generations of executives micromanaged people all the way down the organization while fighting the growth of paperwork and “signoffs.” Such behavior also originated with Watson Sr., who exhibited such contradictory behavior. A vast number of decisions came to him, so many that when his son Tom took over the business in the mid-1950s, one of the first things he did was reorganize IBM to move decision making out of headquarters and into the broader organization.

Yet, simultaneously, the Old Man admonished employees to take individual responsibility for running their “piece of the business,” a phrase used frequently by executives with their staffs. Reflecting back on his first ten years at IBM in 1924, Watson Sr. told a class of the company’s executives that, “It is our policy not to burden any one man, or any group of men, with the responsibility of running this business.” 17 He gave thousands of talks to employees extolling these themes and a positive philosophy about IBM sales. By the early 1920s, this eternal optimist had begun telling salesmen that only 5 percent of all business information was handled by data processing, leaving 95 percent yet to be seized, a magnificent sales opportunity. He spent more time talking to his employees around the world than most future CEOs at IBM would. He met continuously with customers and public officials, far less so with the media.” from “IBM: The Rise and Fall and Reinvention of a Global Icon (History of Computing)” by James W. Cortada

From the history of IBM book I’ve been reading. See more…

Link: Big Blue Puts on a Red Hat: IBM Acquires Red Hat

While many organizations have extensive on and off premise infrastructure investments, comparatively few of them are sophisticated in the way that those environments are tied to each other. If expectations are scaled back to the more realistic “multi-cloud” – the idea that an organization may have investments in more than one environment – the relevance and importance of OpenShift becomes more clear.

This is clever to point out that enterprises have enough trouble integrating their existing, on-premise stuff, let along the complexity and newness of tying together public and private cloud.
Original source: Big Blue Puts on a Red Hat: IBM Acquires Red Hat

Link: Here’s what happened when the IRS’s electronic filing system crashed on Tax Day

From the referenced report:

Tax Day, April 17, 2018, the IRS experienced a storage outage due to a firmware bug on one of the IRS’s high-availability storage arrays. Because of the outage, 59 tax processing systems, including the Modernized e-File (MeF) system, were unavailable for approximately 11 hours between 2:57 a.m. and 1:40 p.m.

Storage firmware bug that hasn’t been patched.
Original source: Here’s what happened when the IRS’s electronic filing system crashed on Tax Day

Link: IBM Drops Cloud Management Platform Onto Kubernetes

“The CMS platform is used by organizations to manage enterprise applications. Those applications include offerings from SAP and Oracle. CMS includes security, disaster recovery, automated infrastructure, and application management…. IBM launched its Cloud Private service last November. It’s built on a Kubernetes-based container architecture that supports integration and portability of workloads between the cloud environment and management across multiple clouds. This includes IBM Cloud, IBM PowerVC, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and VMware on and off premises.”

Original source: IBM Drops Cloud Management Platform Onto Kubernetes

Link: Walmart, IBM, and blockchaining the supply chain

A longer piece, including some alternative suggestions from Gartner:

‘When it comes to supply chains, Valdes believes that blockchains could play an important coordinating role. “If you have a fragmented business ecosystem, with many parties who don’t know each other but need to do business, then they could collaborate through a blockchain,” he says. But there’s a catch. “It’s a ‘boil the ocean’ problem,” he says, meaning that it’ll take fundamental shifts in an industry for adoption to take place. Optimistically, he says, it would take a decade for the industry to rearrange itself so that everyone was logging interactions on a blockchain.

‘Valdes argues that a company as dominant as Walmart doesn’t need its suppliers on a blockchain. It can simply ask its vendors to use whatever system it chooses. “They have been very successful because over the years they have built a robust system of record for their supply chain,” he says. “If you were a supplier to them, you would happily accept their centralized version of the truth.”’
Original source: Walmart, IBM, and blockchaining the supply chain

Link: Walmart’s Blockchain Program May Transform the Way We Use Data

Verifying claims (like organic) and tracking in the supply gain, but not explanation of how or how you trust the people who made the claims.
Original source: Walmart’s Blockchain Program May Transform the Way We Use Data

Link: A New Study on Design Thinking is Great News for Designers

“Forrester has determined that teams that are applying IBM’s design thinking practice and are adequately staffed with design talent are getting to market twice as fast as without. These teams are also seeing up to a 75% reduction in design and development time.”
Original source: A New Study on Design Thinking is Great News for Designers

Link: IBM’s big bet on blockchain

“For example: The recent E. coli outbreak led to mass disposal of lettuce in many places. Using a blockchain-based system to track the supply chain of food could help vendors pinpoint the farm it came from, locate the stores where it’s sold, and throw away only the lettuce that’s tainted.”
Original source: IBM’s big bet on blockchain

Link: The Contradictions Of IBM’s Platform Strategy

“IBM is a systems company with a very large portion of its revenues and an even larger part of its profits coming from these two platforms, the System z mainframe and the Power Systems – now sometimes called the Cognitive Systems – line. The core systems business – meaning the servers, storage, and networking hardware and the operating systems and transaction processing software plus any financing needed for it – comprises about a third of IBM’s revenues and more than half of its gross profits, by our estimates. Various database and middleware stacks up on top of this, generating even more platform revenues and profits, but this is tougher to peel away.”
Original source: The Contradictions Of IBM’s Platform Strategy

Link: The Contradictions Of IBM’s Platform Strategy

“IBM is a systems company with a very large portion of its revenues and an even larger part of its profits coming from these two platforms, the System z mainframe and the Power Systems – now sometimes called the Cognitive Systems – line. The core systems business – meaning the servers, storage, and networking hardware and the operating systems and transaction processing software plus any financing needed for it – comprises about a third of IBM’s revenues and more than half of its gross profits, by our estimates. Various database and middleware stacks up on top of this, generating even more platform revenues and profits, but this is tougher to peel away.”
Original source: The Contradictions Of IBM’s Platform Strategy

Link: The Platform Matters More Than Ever, The Operating System Less So

“Windows Server 2019 is a case in point, and going through the highlights shows it. Back in the day, when a new Windows Server release came out, everyone was obsessed about its scalability and reliability and how it compared to alternatives such IBM i, a slew of Unix variants (including IBM’s own AIX), and the IBM mainframe platforms: VSE, OS/390, and VM. We all dug through the manuals to see how many processors or cores or threads it could span, how much memory it could address, what the impact of SMP or NUMA clustering was on performance, how the I/O was architected to match whatever new gizmos were on the PCI-Express bus. No one really worries about these things. It is a given that any operating system will exploit hardware, and that most hardware is more than enough for most customers. This is not just an IBM i thing. Certain customers, to be sure, can make use of as many cores Intel can cram into a two-socket server, but for most companies, they are nowhere near the top bin parts and they have much less capable processors running at a lot lower cost and with plenty of excess capacity. It doesn’t matter if it is Windows Server or Linux. The basic workhorse server does not look that different from a Power8 or Power9 machine, and in many IBM i shops, there is far less compute dedicated to IBM i on a single instance than on a Windows Server or Linux machine. The database jobs that most IBM i shops have are fairly modest.”
Original source: The Platform Matters More Than Ever, The Operating System Less So