IBM data center offerings... a la iTunes

Partners gather to hear data center plans

IBM is developing what may be characterized as an iTunes-like model for data centers that will enable a business to download the complete application stack, run it and even turn over server management to the vendor who will run it remotely.

The iTunes analogy came from Frank Gens, an IDC analyst who spoke at the IBM PartnerWorld conference in Los Angeles, who said he foresees this data center delivery model arriving from all the major vendors.

But Gens' reference to Apple wasn't disputed by Bill Zeitler, the senior vice president and group executive of IBM Systems and Technology Group, who said the characterization was "very fair" and in line with the company's intentions under its Blue Business Platform, a offering still in development that'll be aimed at small and midsized markets.

People have been downloading applications online since before modems were invented. But one trend that has been gaining with vendors is over-the-Net delivery of complete software appliances, including the operating system and supporting applications -- everything needed to run the appliance, from the hardware on up. It's all part of the broader industry push at IBM and elsewhere to increase efficiency, decrease complexity and minimize the need for IT staff to integrate and configure the wares.

In some ways that's not a unique proposition even for enterprise-level products. Steve Mills, senior vice president and group software executive, pointed out in a press conference that IBM's AS/400 midrange system had similar characteristics when it was introduced, including operating system, database, networking, and security -- all aimed at bringing the cost of ownership down.

One press conference wag asked if this so-called iTunes model will mean the arrival of 99-cent applications.

Quipped Mills with a grin: "That's a scary thought."

But Mills also pointed out that pay-by-the-download business delivery is not going to be the best choice for many users, who have regulatory, certification and other issues to wrestle.

Business partners account for a major share of IBM's revenue, and this conference is a key one for the company.

It comes at a strange time. Though officially the US economy isn't in recession, the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday filled up half of its front page with charts showing rising gas and food prices, falling home sales, and declines in consumer confidence, all in fat red lines. But at IBM's conference here, the mood is bright.

IBM's earnings are beating analyst expectations, with first quarter revenue at US$24.5 billion -- up 11 per cent from the same quarter last year. Growth in the Americas was up 8 per cent at US$9.9 billion, but the rest of the growth is coming from overseas; in Asia Pacific, for instance, revenue was up 14 per cent to US$5.1 billion. Gens said he expects the rate of growth in the fast-expanding markets of the developing nations, including China, India, Russia, Brazil, to more than double that of Europe and the Americas.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?