IBM Power – How Blue Chip and IBM deliver together: Today and Beyond
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:06] Welcome to Disruptive Live. I’m Nayoka Oware, and today I’m joined by Paul Brown, V.P. at IBM, who’s responsible for partners and ecosystems. And Chris Smith, Director of Sales at Blue Chip. Today, we will be discussing the IBM Power platform and how Blue Chip and IBM can deliver together. Chris, Paul, welcome.
CHRIS SMITH [00:00:28] Thank you Nayoka.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:29] How are you both doing?
PAUL BROWN [00:00:30] Fantastic.
CHRIS SMITH [00:00:31] Really good. Really good.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:34] Tell us more about your roles obviously you are Vice President at IBM.
PAUL BROWN [00:00:38] I am. I am Nayoka so I have the fantastic job for IBM in the UK and Ireland of looking after all of our business partners, all our relationships with all the different types of business partners, from the largest integrators to the smallest boutiques and helping them to grow. Helping them to find value together and helping them with IBM to grow together. That’s my job.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:01:00] Thank you for that Paul, and Chris.
CHRIS SMITH [00:01:03] So I’m the sales marketing director at Blue Chip. I’ve been in Blue Chip now for over twenty three years. Hard to believe. I know. And I’m responsible for the sales and marketing at Blue Chip. But also historically, I’ve been responsible for the relationship between Blue Chip and IBM as well.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:01:20] Wonderful Paul how’s IBM, IBM Power for 2019.
PAUL BROWN [00:01:28] It’s been a fantastic year for for Power 2019. It’s been a growth year. We we’ve grown the platform overall in the UK and Ireland, which is obviously a good starting point. I think more on top of that. It’s been a year of some fantastic transformations. So we have moved increasingly to consumption models and high value cloud models and probably the key most interesting part is huge growth in AI platforms. So our vision, which is all the Power artificial augmented intelligence platform. It’s been a huge year for that in the market, the industry and a fantastic year for that for Power. So so overall, really, really strong. Some fantastic clients and fantastic client wins and some great partnerships. So we’ve we’ve grown significantly our power cloud partner offering. That’s where we we work with some of our key strategic partners like Blue Chip to put together platforms to allow clients to migrate, to move on to a cloud based platform which is being seen and driven huge growth in the platform this year. So overall, fantastic year. And I look forward to a good year next year as well.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:02:36] Wonderful and Chris do you have anything to add.
CHRIS SMITH [00:02:38] Yeah. I think if I look at from from a Blue Chip centric point of view, what we’ve seen over certainly the last 12 months at least is is it is a big shift in change from our customer base and the market in general. I think that they’re genuinely looking to move these workloads that that in the past weren’t naturally cloud native move them into the cloud. So where we would traditionally maybe sold someone a system as as a as an upgrade in their data centre, on their site, they’re now looking to the cloud. That’s not to say that people aren’t doing it in the traditional way still, but more and more people are looking to move the cloud and the partnership that we have with IBM to deliver their platform, which is a great platform. I’m slightly biased, but it’s a great platform allows us to move them into the cloud in a way that’s commercially viable for them and enables them to thrive and grow and get the flexibility people want from from cloud platforms. And we’ve taken that from, you know, from just a few systems now to well over 80 power systems in our cloud delivering that platform for multiple users in the UK and internationally.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:03:52] Wonderful. We’ll be discussing IBM power and Redhat a little bit later on. But what does 2020 have in store for IBM Power and Redhat?
CHRIS SMITH [00:04:03] So 2020, I think more of the same. You know, when when as Chris, as Chris just alluded to, you know, we’ve we’ve got a healthy growing platform with huge amount of momentum. You know, there’s no point getting in the way of that. You know, more of the same working. We’re working with Chris and the Blue Chip guys to try to attract more workloads onto that platform. But I think, you know, we’ve seen through through 2019 a big shift in the market. So we should talk about the rush to to cloud, has been obvious. You know, so so if you look at the past few years, it’s been quite a move on to public cloud. Now, what’s happened to some of the easy workloads have gone. So much of the non mission critical workloads have gone now. But we’re now in chapter two. Chapter two is where the real mission critical, the harder environments start to start to be needed, to be modernized, de-cloudified, to to move into a more digital environment. In chapter two, it’s much more complex. You need you need a more mature partners to do that. You need to look at your core systems. Now, the reality of Power is it sits right in the heart of most organizations. So, you know, he’s not on the periphery, is not nice to have application. It’s actually critical to to what a business does. So so once you start to get into those systems, then then it becomes significantly more, more difficult, challenging and mission critical to move, though. So you you have to take pause. And we apps are moving now into chapter two. Chapter two, moving those applications over. And if you actually look forward for the next two to three years, all the analysts are saying that public cloud is going to decline. So traditional public cloud is on the decline. Traditional on premise is on the decline. What is the growth area for the next X years? X being quite a long time scale is hybrid open multi cloud. So so people have an environment where you deploy in the right place. You know that maybe the cloud. It may be public cloud. It may be private cloud. It may be a partners cloud. It may he may be on prem. Right. But but you have to look at where the best place to deploy the application is. And a lot of the easy stuff has been done. And now into the more complicated stuff you look at IBM now are our cloud revenues are 25 percent of our revenues from very low single digits five years ago. So huge growth in our cloud revenues. Encumbered with Redhat now what we have is the ability, opportunity to make that more open. Redhat. Open shift is the platform of choice for open cloud. With that now in IBM, we’ve got both sides, the enterprise capability and skills and client client access and client engagement. And we’ve got the openness that goes with with Redhat and their portfolio. So together I see 2020 being massive expansion, hyper growth in hybrid cloud and particularly multi cloud because most people have got more than one cloud today. And particularly open. So how do how do you allow yourself to right once and deploy many? So it’s going to be a fantastic year for power and growth. I mean, I do think that’s going to happen. And it can be a fantastic year for for working with our partners. I’m not going to say anymore because I know Chris Chris is going to talk briefly about the IBM power cloud, but that that’s what I see as a cornerstone of what 2020 will be for us.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:07:24] Wonderful. Chris.
CHRIS SMITH [00:07:26] Yeah so just just to build on that as well. So from a Blue Chip point of view, we are finding more and more of our customers that want to link up to the public cloud providers. And the other clouds around there. But it’s not it’s not a one size fits all anymore. And I agree that that certainly from a public cloud point of view, people are realizing now that actually, if you want to put it in a public cloud, you need about to switch it off. If you can’t switch off, it’s going to cost you more to do that. So they’re being a little bit more strategic in a little bit smarter about where they want to put these workloads. So you have to be part of this wider ecosystem, which is why partnerships like ours with IBM will help us over the coming months and years to to link together and utilize this network of partnerships to deliver our hybrid solution that balances what the customer requires. You put the right application in the right place on the right cloud, if you like. And with with the moves we’re making, with the changes that IBM are making it fit fits in perfectly with with what we’ve built. So what are our cloud our datacenter at it’s heart is software defined. So we’re able to provision these workloads very, very quickly in a repeatable fashion. And it’s no secret we utilize things like Ansible to do that, which is part of part of Redhat, you know. So we are without even knowing it. We were aligned from that point of view from from a from the beginning. But that allows us not just a provision in our data centre and on our clouds at that time, but to move it and be flexible and and give a degree of flexibility that customers are demanding now. So it’s a changing landscape. And I think we’re set up really, really well to respond to that and to deliver on it from our customer base. So from my point of view, it is more of the same, if you like. More of these power workloads going to look to come to the cloud. We’re able to deliver that in a highly secure, regulated environment. Anything all the way up to PCI DSS level one we can cover. So and we have examples of every industry, you know.
PAUL BROWN [00:09:27] Just building what what you know what, Chris said there you know, they have an incredibly robust power cloud network. One of the I think one of the key areas for growth is actually going to be security, because as these mission critical workloads go into a cloud based environment what you don’t want to you know, security is like a flood defence. You know, wherever the worst the worst part of your flood defence is where the water will come in. So, you know, if you’re running a multi cloud environment, some on Prem, some in Amazon, some in IBM cloud. Some in IBM power cloud, then you need to make sure you’ve got a holistic security wrapper of that. And that’s what companies like Blue Chip do. You know that they provide security for the whole environment, not just specific parts of it, and that’s going to be critical I think in 2020.
CHRIS SMITH [00:10:15] Being able to pull those different strands together and deliver it in a way that the customers accept in these highly regulated industries. It’s a minimum demand, I think.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:10:25] Okay, back to you Paul. Why is it a great platform for SAP HANA?
PAUL BROWN [00:10:29] Sorry we haven’t I mentioned SAP HANA yet have we. So one of the I think, you know, going going back to my earlier comments. I think 2020 will be you know, a lot of it’s all about the workloads. Right. So there’s no point having the platform if you don’t have a workload to put on the platform. So if you look at where if you look at where ISVs are working with with Blue Chip, you know this there are a bunch of application vendors out there. They’ve got, you know, on prem need to modernize. Need to refactor. Need to move their environment into a modernized digital refactored API, micro service based environment. So it’s all about the workload. Now, if you look at one of the largest workloads, on power, probably not one of, the largest work on power to date. It’s SAP it’s SAP. So, you know, without a shadow of a doubt, IBM Power is the best platform for SAP that goes without saying. So we being, you know, waiting for the for for the wave of HANA implementations in the UK to come and it’s been slow in the UK out of SAP HANA uptake in UK has been has been behind the our European friends. But I think we are now starting to see that surge of SAP HANA workloads. So I think 2020 will be big SAP HANA year. I think we’ve got we have got the best platform for SAP and the best platform for performance availability reliability security for SAP HANA. So this will be a really critical year. The question is how do you know people are going to see that intersecting with a desire to move to a cloud based environment. Pay as you go. As you as you generate income you you pay for, you pay for the environment. So I think that intersection going to be critical. So I think it’ll be a huge year for SAP HANA a huge year for power, but it will be in a cloud general in a cloud based environment. And that’s where we where we need to work with our own power cloud, with our partners clouds to to to help provision that and help our clients move to that modernized SAP HANA environment. So it’s gunna be a massive year for SAP HANA.
CHRIS SMITH [00:12:37] And I think it’s I think because the UK is slightly behind the rest of Europe and the world probably in terms of his moves to SAP HANA it’s probably not such a bad thing because I think it’s coming at a time where people are realizing some of the shortcomings of having a single cloud provider and a public cloud only solution for these kind of things, because there are hidden costs when you’re depositing certain applications like SAP HANA in a public cloud environment, there are hidden costs for ingress and egress of data which can double treble, multiply your costs that you were expecting and budgeted beyond what you ever thought possible and there are, there are lots of examples of that now. So we’ve got people actually looking at the platforms. They’re running it on, looking at where they’re placing it and going back to that hybrid cloud approach, thinking a bit more strategically about where they place that workload. So first of all, there’s a decision about whether you go public cloud or private cloud. I think more people are now leaning towards private cloud or running it themselves. And then there’s what’s the right platform for it, depending on the size of of your application, depending on the size your dataset depends on what what platforms really, really work for you. And there’s only one platform out there that scales as flexibly as people want. People want the public cloud flexibility, but they realize it comes at a huge cost. They want to keep that and want it at the right price point. And I think that what we find over the next 12 months is people will realize that SAP HANA on power is the best answer because it’s robust, because it’s reliable and because it can come at a price point and a flexibility that they expect. And that’s that’s pretty much for any instance and any signs of it. So now we are we are expecting to see a huge change in the marketplace because come 2025, people got a move off of their current instances of SAP, a move to SAP HANA. That’s when the support is going to be removed. So we expect people to be thinking about it now, if they’re not thinking about now, they’re going to they’re going to miss the boat. So it’s for us and for IBM it’s about combining our skills to deliver these platforms and infrastructure and working with the integrators and the people that can help the customers from a business point of view deliver that change, making sure we’re combining we’re working as closely together for the benefit of the customers.
PAUL BROWN [00:15:04] I think we’re seeing Chris. I mean, when you mentioned that the integrators alongside yourselves, I think what we’ve seen in 2019 is a lot of partners working together because your clients are moving to wanting to buy high value outcome based solutions generally as a service. And those are increasingly complex and are increasingly in their industry context. And therefore, it’s too difficult for any single person to solve, you know, whether that’s IBM, Blue Chip, Accenture, KPMG anybody out there doesn’t have all the skills to do it so. So what we’re seeing arise in 2019 is partners working together. So ecosystem of partners getting together to to to work out how to solve the client problems in the way the client wants to have those solved. So, yeah, we’ve seen Blue Chip do that as well, you know, work working with partners around around the place to because SAP HANA and implementation has a whole stratosphere of requirements and therefore you need it from from the early consultancy to the to the to the running running the systems down the line. And it’s more than we can do it’s more than Blue Chip can do. So you know, we’ve seen these ecosystems come together to solve those problems and that’s more proactive now. You used to be serendipity. You know, people would get together by accident, but now we’re seeing more planning around that to help solve those problems. And that’s something I think we’ve seen. You know, you guys really developed your design your skills around how to partner with people to deliver more of an end to end solution to the clients.
CHRIS SMITH [00:16:35] Yeah, 100 percent and certainly for things like SAP HANA as well. The way that we’ve designed our software defined datacenter. I touched on earlier, you know, we’re able to write the Ansible playbooks that allow us to deliver all the infrastructure from networking to storage to the power processing and the operating system. But you can also write the scripts to deploy the SAP HANA application itself. And so things and and operations that would have taken weeks and weeks and days can now be done in hours, which which enables the, you know, the customer’s time to to to deploy, to reduce considerably and for them to make a faster benefit on the moving application. So it’s all going in the right direction. I think now, like I say, it’s just the right time to do it where people are realizing where some of the costs are sometimes here and the flexibility in the understanding the information is there to choose the right platform.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:17:36] Thank you for that, Chris. Tell us what the focus is for 2020.
CHRIS SMITH [00:17:41] Okay, so I think I think for us again. I think we’re focussing around our power cloud, continuing to grow that as we said before. Certainly from the SAP HANA part of that as well and working with more and more clients around that. And also the hybrid approach that we touched on right at the start. So it’s about making sure that we can deliver what the customers want from from our infrastructure, but we’re able to connect that to the other the other clouds out there. And there’s more than one cloud available.
PAUL BROWN [00:18:16] Mm hmm. Yeah, so so as Chris says I mean, it’s going to be a very exciting year 2020 for all the reason we’ve talked about you. From our point of view, we’ve we now have got available the IBM Power Cloud, which is our IBM cloud, which will allow us to service hybrid cloud environments through through companies like Blue Chip. So I think we’ll see our focus will be very much on that, very much on on a hyrbid cloud environment. Continue continue the drive round AI and power vision around using the unique performance of power to be able to to underpin a lot of the most difficult and gnarly AI problems and make those make those solvable in a reasonable amount of time I think we’ll see huge, huge, huge focus around that. But I think it’s the year of the ISVs. So I think there are a lot of the ISVs and the application vendors have been on power, been sat there kind of waiting, you know, sweat, sweating their on prem environment. And I think they’re now going to be driven in chapter two to need to surface APIs to to modernize to to offer market services to to work in a hybrid hybrid cloud environment. So for us, a lot of focus on that through through some of our offerings, through around cloud packs around the power cloud I’ve mentioned. So a real drive to work with the ISVs to modernize and to move into environments such as Blue Chip’s. That’s my focus for 2020.
CHRIS SMITH [00:19:45] Yeah and on the back of that. I think from our point of view, it’s our job to deliver an infrastructure that that allows the customer to to to pursue their goals. And in a world that’s seeing a more at an expectancy of a dev ops flexibility around how they run their environments, it’s up to us to be able to deliver infrastructure that caters for that need. And again, to go back to what we’ve built from a software defined point of view, the ability to deploy it very, very quickly to copy live data into test almost instantaneously. That’s built specifically to deliver that. And when we bolt into it, some of the functionality in the software that we utilize from IBM to enable customers to do that, I think it it just works really well. So it’s yeah, it’s it’s looking good. I’m excited for it. I think as well from from a SAP HANA point of view, we’ve been working for for some time now to build a proof of concept environment on power. And between us in the new year, I think we’ll be announcing a platform that’s available for anyone that wants to build a proof of concept environment for SAP HANA on a power system available at Blue Chip.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:20:59] Thank you for that, Chris. As I said earlier, Paul we’d be talking about Redhat and I do know that IBM acquired Redhat for quite a substantial amount of money. Thirty four billion dollars, to be precise. Tell us more about that investment and why IBM decided that it was a beneficial move to make.
PAUL BROWN [00:21:17] Yes, I mean so, but as IBM has moved a lot of our business to cloud now, quarter of our business is cloud. So the benefit we own the enterprise we’re very strong in enterprise. We will be platform of choice for the larger, larger corporates. What we’ve done with the Redhat acquisition is we’ve bolted onto that the leading provider of open cloud. So that allows us to have the best of both worlds to be to be open to be a cloud native, but also to have the robustness and the maturity to be the core of most enterprises. So join those two things together and it gives us huge leverage and acceleration moving forward around open hybrid multi cloud. So that is that is that is why the coming together was so perfect. We’re already seeing some some huge benefits coming out of that acquisition and the synergy between the two organizations. And we’ve launched a number of cloud practices, cloud packs now. And there, you know, our products based on based on Redhat, based on open shift, which allows us to right ones, deploy anywhere, manage that whole environment. So we’re seeing clients really excited about the opportunity and we’re seeing partners really excited about the opportunity, you mentioned Ansible, as was one of the tool kit there to get the best of both worlds robust corporate enterprise ready with with open hybrid multi cloud, so that comes together for client benefit and for partner benefit.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:22:47] What are your thoughts on the investment or Blue Chips thoughts?
CHRIS SMITH [00:22:50] Sounds like a bargain. From a Blue Chip point of view. As I mentioned before, we we extensively use Ansible for deployment of our software defined world and also from from a customer point of view in the workloads that we deploy in and on our cloud. It’s not just power. There’s a considerable amount of of other operating systems as well. And the bulk of our Linux deployment is Redhat in our environment, we have a lot of Redhat accredited engineers. So, you know, it’s again, more by luck than judgment. I would suggest we’re perfectly aligned around that side of the business. So, yeah, I just see it as a benefit to us because of our partnership with IBM and it just brings it a little bit closer.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:23:32] That’s great to hear. Let’s go back to the cloud, Paul. What if clients don’t want to move to the cloud and just upgrade their hardware?
PAUL BROWN [00:23:41] That’s fine. We will, I’ll give our order number now. So no the I mean, some clients do I mean some depending on where where a client is, the size of the client, where they’re going and then having on prem hardware is fantastic. And we’ve got many, many clients who do. Still majority of our business will be traditional on premise hardware. I mean, that’s that’s what we do. I’d like to hope that we can help them move forward, moving to move into the new environments. I think that gives them benefits on flexibility. You know, digital environment allows them to deploy more quickly, allows them to surface some of their internal systems more easily. So I think there are benefits of moving to cloud, but we don’t we’re not forcing people to do that. We absolutely 10 percent have an on prem solution. And if people want to upgrade then that’s fine by us and probably by Chris.
CHRIS SMITH [00:24:30] Same for us as well. So from our point of view, we have a huge quantity of IBM experts within, within our business, whether they’re deploying on the cloud or whether deploying on a customer site. We we can we can deliver. And there is a large move from the more traditional way of delivering that to the cloud. But there are still customers that still want to retain control and run their own systems and servers and applications within their own data centres. And we we still deliver that. We have no problem with that. Again, as an IBM business partner. We regularly supplying systems to customers. And long may it continue. It’s it’s it’s all about delivering the platform and supporting the platform as best we can. And for us, that’s that’s that’s not a problem.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:25:20] Great. You’ve given customers options. What more could they want.
CHRIS SMITH [00:25:24] Exactly. That’s the choice. I think the reality of the IBM power system is one of the potentially one of the last platforms to to be cloud ready and to move into the cloud. So there are still people that are there making that decision. So we give them the choice, do you want to upgrade what you have at the moment or, you know, move it to the cloud. We can do both for you. It’s a it’s it’s a business decision.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:25:47] If we sat down at the end of 2020, what key points do you think we would be discussing?
PAUL BROWN [00:25:55] Well, hopefully Leeds United being returned to the position at the top of the premiership, which is very important, but other than that on a business level, I think my job and our job is to use to give partners the confidence to invest more in the IBM technology. If you look at where we are now and the investments we’ve made with things like Redhat for 34 billion dollars, then the end of next year, I think we’ll be looking back and likely we’ll be looking back at a year where we have more than a bridgehead in terms of having power power cloud environments. I think we’ll be looking back on it and thinking that’s the norm. I think the norm will be people moving into hybrid open multicloud environments will be what people do. And I think they will be doing that with IBM. So I think we’ll be celebrating some fantastic success.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:26:47] I look forward to celebrating with you Paul. Chris would you like to add anything?
CHRIS SMITH [00:26:51] The same sentiment from myself I think in in general, utilizing the network that we have around us from from a partnership and vendor point of view to deliver this this hybrid world, the customers and the flexibility they want to deliver the workload, how they want and how they need them. I think raising the profile of SAP HANA on power as well, I think is really, really important thing to be doing next year and making sure people understand the choice is there. So that’s something we’ll be working on relentlessly next year. And then, you know, I think I want to be celebrating again, another year of success, another year of growth. So and we can do that together, I think.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:27:33] Wonderful cheers to success.
CHRIS SMITH [00:27:34] Indeed with my glass of water.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:27:37] Thank you both for your time.
PAUL BROWN [00:27:38] Thank you.
CHRIS SMITH [00:27:39] Thank you.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:27:41] Unfortunately, that is all we have time for. Thank you for watching.