Vivek Malhotra, Cloud Leader, IBM India and South Asia, shares deep insights into IBM’s expanding cloud focus in the Indian market, how is it positioned against key competitors like AWS and Microsoft, and what it means for Indian enterprises working with the company and those looking at making a move to the cloud.
Please share some key insights into IBM’s play in the public cloud market in India. How is the company trying to differentiate its offerings in the highly competitive market?
IBM’s strategy is based on the feedback we get from our clients – the leading companies in major industries around the world. They tell us that they want a Hybrid Cloud approach that integrates cloud operations with on-premise systems and ties in systems of record with systems of engagement. We believe that our clients are guided by three fundamentals – Big Data, Cloud and Innovation. IBM is focused on helping clients innovate in this era of cloud and big data.
IBM has been building its cloud strategy combining our unique research capabilities, industry expertise and the extensive services relationships with the most demanding enterprise clients. With IBM’s security, software and business acumen, when it comes to embracing the cloud, clients look to IBM for its enterprise leadership.
We see that cloud is really about how clients source their IT services. We see cloud computing as creating the next wave of services transformation. Our traditional outsourcing models blends seamlessly with our newer cloud delivery models. IBM developed an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud built on decades of hosting experience gained by being the world’s largest provider of IT sourcing services. Cloud is the natural evolution of our virtualization and software expertise. IBM is leveraging its huge middleware business as well as our deep understanding of how software platforms work to deliver software in the cloud.
What is the advantage enterprises can draw in going for IBM cloud?
We have one of the most comprehensive and end-to-end cloud solutions suite, right from bare metal servers via SoftLayer to all in IAAS. Bluemix, the app development platform, developed in house caters to the requirements of the developers and entrepreneurs. One of the key advantages is IBM’s commitment to open standards for cloud. IBM has long been a champion of open standards (e.g. Linux, Apache, Eclipse) in the enterprise and is a platinum sponsor of OpenStack, an open-source cloud platform backed by industry heavyweights that support open standards, including AT&T, HP, Cisco, Intel and VMware.
In the start-up space, IBM has built the Bluemix app development platform from the ground up, which is also based on open standards and allows developers to quickly build apps. The Bluemix platform also provides access to a number of custom APIs that can be dragged & dropped into the app. For example, the Watson API is available for use on Bluemix.
As part of the strategy to offer cloud services, IBM has committed to opening up datacenters across the world. In 2015, as part of this promise, IBM opened 40 public cloud datacenters across different regions. In India, the new datacenter was opened in Chennai. A previous, private cloud datacenter was inaugurated in Mumbai in second half of 2014. Earlier this month, we launched a mobile security center at Chennai.
What are the key focus areas for IBM in terms of segments, verticals?
Our clients are our focus, be it enterprises or startups. That said, we are seeing increasing activity from the developer and start up community for cloudservices. This is due to the obvious benefits that cloud computing provides and coupled with the advantages that IBM can offer to developers in terms of guidance, mentorships, cloud credits, access to VC and customers anchored through the Global Entrepreneurship Program.
What sets IBM apart from the competition? How is the company placed against its major competitors like AWS, Microsoft? What are the major challenges and opportunities?
While we don’t comment on competitors, the complete breadth of solutions that is available from IBM – IAAS, PAAS, SAAS – on Open Standards is a compelling draw. This is what we hear from our clients who are the top companies across the world.
IBM was recently named number one in Hybrid Cloud environments by leading independent technology market research firm Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR). In TBR’s semiannual Cloud Customer Research survey of more than 1,800 enterprise respondents, IBM was identified as the global leader in hybrid environment adoption thanks to its large enterprise customer base, brand reputation and expertise in hybrid integration and IT transformation. IBM leads in overall vendor adoption for hybrid cloud and in select hybrid cloud segments due to its expansive portfolio, as well as its services arm that assists customers in aligning, integrating and deploying IT resources in the cloud to meet their ongoing needs. Notable clients include 1-800 Flowers, Etihad Airways and Shop Direct.