IBM wants to manage your cloud services no matter which ones you run

IBM’s new Multi-cloud Manager will manage workloads on Big Blue clouds but also workloads on Amazon, Red Hat and Microsoft infrastructure as well

ORLANDO – IBM has rolled out a multi-cloud management system that promises to help customers manage, move and integrate apps across multivendor cloud infrastructures.

IBM’s new Kubernetes-based Multi-cloud Manager runs on the company’s year-old IBM Cloud Private platform but lets customers manage and integrate workloads on clouds from other providers such as Amazon, Red Hat and Microsoft. That means better automation, quicker spin-up of services and better pricing when using the IBM platform, said IBM’s Robin Hernandez, Director, IBM Private Cloud Offering Management.

Hernandez says at the heart of the Multi-cloud Manager is a dashboard interface for managing thousands of Kubernetes applications and huge volumes of data regardless of where in the organization they are located.

The idea is that if a company uses one cloud for its AI services, another for its inventory and supply chain and runs its financial and customer data its own on-premises systems, Multi-cloud Manager lets operations and development teams get visibility of Kubernetes applications and components across the different clouds and clusters via a single control pane. 

Such a multi-cloud environment gets complicated and hard to manage quickly. Hernandez cited IBM’s own Institute for Business Value research pointing out that  85% of companies are using more than one cloud environment. During a keynote address at Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo this week, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said IBM's clients have an average of six cloud deployments and 1,000 apps.

Helping customers manage those environments is one of the multi-cloud customer issues IBM is looking to address with the new package.

Hernandez said Multi-cloud Manager will also help customers with governance and security. IBM said the system includes an integrated compliance and rules engine that help ensure Kubernetes applications remain compliant with enterprise for security. The system lets customers define how, where and when Kubernetes applications are deployed, how they are backed up and what happens in case of a security breach or system failure.

Analysts said it is a good move for IBM to let customers keep their cloud management options open since by Gartner’s count companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Alibaba are dominating the cloud infrastructure arena.

Roy Illsley Distinguished Analyst with Ovum research wrote that while 20 percent of business processes have already moved to the cloud, 80 percent of mission-critical workloads and sensitive data are still running on on-premises business systems because of performance and regulatory requirements. 

“However, in 2019 the percentage of these workloads running in the cloud will increase to over 40 percent, and we anticipate that in the coming years enterprise clients will move to multi-cloud systems that cater for a broad variety of business and IT needs," Illsley wrote.

The Multi-cloud Manager also will help IBM compete with cloud management competitors such as Nutanix and Kublr.

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