Lenovo…SAP… and the Value of a System Portfolio

The concept of computing system “portfolios” is so commonplace in the tech industry that the term is essentially meaningless. At the bottom end of the scale are portfolios that consist of whatever servers happen to be ready for shipment on any given day. In the confusing middle ground are vendors that try to cover every single data center base by offering dozens of system SKUs and options that tend to confuse more than enlighten clients. To my mind, top-end portfolios are provided by vendors that have both a solid lock on foundational technologies and a deep understanding of the issues crucial to their clients’ businesses. Lenovo’s recent quarterly earnings report and the news the company shared at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference this week highlighted why Lenovo’s Data Center Group (DCG) and its product portfolio remain top of mind for organizations aiming to maximize the value and performance of critical applications and processes. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM THINK 2018 and the Era of Man + Machine

Computing “eras” are a common concept among those who work in or focus on the IT industry. One progression starts with the mainframe era (late 1950s to the present) and the client/server era (1980s to present). However, the notion breaks down a bit in the third era which is variously called the digital, information and Internet era due to the inclusion of divergent ecommerce, cloud computing, mobility, analytics, IoT and other essentially web-enabled processes. That confusion isn’t especially surprising since the first two eras are associated with specific systems or platforms that fundamentally altered the way enterprises and other organizations operated. In contrast, web-enabled compute processes tend to be squishier in terms of the platforms they require which continue to undergo massive evolutionary changes. That touches on a key point of IBM’s THINK 2018 conference last week in Las Vegas. During her keynote, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and guest commentators described how the company is working with global customers and partners to embrace a “new era of man + machine, an era of data and AI (artificial intelligence).” That’s a fascinating idea, especially given the growing interest and investments in AI, advanced analytics and associated machine and deep learning processes. But are we really at the cusp of a new computing era or was Rometty engaging in mere cheerleading? Plus, if the former is true, how well positioned is IBM to provide its customers and partners the tools and technologies they need to succeed in the era of man + machine? To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM Think 2018: The Data + AI Inflection Point

IBM has consolidated its many customer/partner conferences (Interconnect, World of Watson…) into a single conference, now called “Think” – a once yearly, one-stop-shop for details on IBM products and strategies, customer/user strategies and implementation, product demonstrations, strategic planning (with access to industry/product experts) and hands-on laboratories. Now customers and partners need only take one trip each year to get access to IBM executives, product experts, deployment advisors, support personnel, planning personnel and more. Further, a rich ecosystem of third party hardware and software suppliers, VARs, systems integrators and partners also attend Think, ready to share product information, strategic insights and implementation suggestions. Finally, the Think agenda is rich in educational opportunities, including dozens upon dozens of customer and vendor presentations designed to share real world experiences with interested attendees. I approached Think with a goal of understanding “who” IBM really is. The opening keynote; a closer look at some of the technologies that I follow as well as some that I don’t regularly follow; my attendance at IBM’s 5 in 5 session; and off-the-record candid discussions with IBM customers and business partners all contributed to my new view. My view? That IBM is an ethical, forward thinking technology leader with a desire to have a strong positive moral impact on business and society. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM Continues to Think Ahead Clearly

IBM recently concluded its first IBM THINK conference in Las Vegas. In THINK, IBM combined several former events into one comprehensive conference that covered the breadth and depth of the entire corporation. Although the 40,000 some attendees could explore in depth particular products or services in a plethora of educational sessions or at the huge exhibition hall, in a sense THINK was a coming out party that showed how IBM is reinventing itself in what is called the “data-driven” era. What turns the future into the era of data? The Economist has stated that the most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data, and supported this mammoth assertion in a seminal May6, 2017 article entitled “Data is giving rise to a new economy.” Therefore, both IBM and the Economist are responding to broader business and societal events. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Thoughts from IBM Think 2018…

Think 2018 was a massive culmination of multiple and previously separate IBM events (Edge, InterConnect, World of Watson, Amplify, and Connect). While I was never able to get an official headcount, estimates were north of 30,000. And attendees nearly overflowed the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. With the combined event, IBM presented its extensive breadth of software, solutions, and infrastructure, each catering to key aspects of digital transformation. Attendees could talk directly with IBM developers on how to effectively leverage emergent workloads such as AI (with Watson), the Internet of Things (IoT), or even blockchain. I mean, IBM even had Quantum Computing on display. And after a detailed workload conversation, attendees could then walk a couple hundred yards/meters (did I mention it was big?) to the infrastructure section of the expo floor and talk with IBM about how these workloads might operate, for example, on public cloud, on flash storage, or on IBM’s Spectrum SDS portfolio. Through these conversations, attendees could bridge from IT transformation into digital transformation. I have researched and written quite a bit about digital transformation lately, the importance of transforming your infrastructure, and embracing that transformation. But IT infrastructure transformation is only one step as businesses still need expertise in these value-creating workloads to deliver the desired business transformation. I could see this connection in the discussions I had with IBM customers. In one conversation, a customer said that after deploying all-flash, the infrastructure was humming along well, and the next step was to understand how to leverage Watson. And that is where many IT organizations are finding themselves: IT transformation is important, but once the new technology is in place, how do you leverage these emergent workloads, such as AI or IoT, to transform your business with data and not just your IT infrastructure? To read the complete article, CLICK...

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