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Is IBM’s Blue Cloud a Cloud?

By John | March 19, 2008

Last year IBM announced their Blue Cloud. Since then a few of their Blue Clouds have showed up around the world. A few months ago IBM announced a Blue Cloud in Wuxi China and today they announced another one in Dublin. The question is, are these really clouds or just steroid based provisioning systems that are being branded as clouds. In my opinion I think it is the latter. IBM’s Blue Cloud technology is primarily based on their Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM) product. The TPM technology was acquired in 2003 from a Toronto based company called Think dynamics. My first glimpse of IBM’s “cloud” using TPM, was at a demo I attended last year in Markham Canada. Two former Think Dynamics employees had built a development project called Tornado TPM and virtualization. The Tornado system was a provisioning system for virtual servers that used a self service style delivery for provisioning on demand. Cool stuff but not really a cloud. Developers who needed specific builds for testing, QA, and development could make self service requests to have images spun up and TPM would schedule and provision the systems automatically.

In my opinion IBM saw the cloud market emerging last year with players like Amazon and others getting an early lead and decided to call “Tornado” a “Blue Cloud”. Since then I think IBM has been using the “Blue Cloud” as a marketing vehicle to re brand TPM and increase product sales. For example in Wuxi China is IBM really just selling plain old TPM and calling it a Cloud? In China, enterprises are starving for IT leadership and IBM is in a lead position to help create the early definitions over their. Adoption rates for TPM in the US based enterprises space have been slow and implementation success stories have been even slower. Calling TPM a cloud is a very cleaver marketing idea to kick start some momentum into their provisioning portfolio. Chris O’Connor the former VP of A&BSM for Tivoli moved over to VP of Strategy last year. O’Connor was instrumental in positioning the Tivoli Service Management (ITIL/CMDB/SM) strategy into the availability and BSM products a few years ago. In fact the “S’ in BSM used to stand for systems after O’Conner’s involvement you will receive a stern lash if you don’t refer to it as “service”. Through acquisitions and re-branding techniques O’Conner infused the ITIL and CMDB story solidly into the A&BSM product portfolio. In fact most of the early “SM” hype was really jsut vaporware as evidednced by the complete replacement of earlier versions with the Maximo technolgies. O’Connor seems to be igniting this same kind of fire into the Tivoli configuration management silo by applying his same classic re-branding and hype marketecture offerings based on the new “Cloud” hysteria. In a recent announcement, “New IBM Software Helps Clients Automate Data Centers, Realize Benefits of Cloud Computing,” IBM reveals an early glimpse of this strategy.

However, with this being said, you could make the argument that super provisioning systems are just another variation of a the not well defined niche called “Cloud Computing”. In fact Cassatt Corporation makes this same argument. When I think of a cloud I think of it as more of an orchestration system as opposed to just a provisioning system. Interestingly enough when IBM purchased Think Dynamics there were two products in the Think Dynamics portfolio, Provisioning and Orchestration. The Think Dynamics Orchestration product was the product that IBM promised to revolutionize data center server management. Tivoli Orchestration was to be an advancement layer on top of just standard Tivoli provisioning. The Orchestration product was supposed to apply autonomics to resources (i.e., server) and grow or shrink server pools based on resource consumption. Ironically this is exactly what the, what I would call clearly defined cloud providers Mosso, 3Tera, Flexiscale, and RightScale have built into their existing architectures. Meanwhile IBM is making no mention of Tivoli orchestration as part of their “Blue Cloud” offering. Other terms I am not hearing from the “Blue Cloud” story are autonomics, elasticity, and pay as you go. In don’t know what are your thoughts?

Topics: 3tera, amazon, aws, blue cloud, cloud computing, ibm, other, tivoli | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Is IBM’s Blue Cloud a Cloud?”

  1. IBM and the History of Autonomics | John M Willis ESM Blog Says:
    March 27th, 2008 at 2:51 am

    [...] its recent announcements of a Wuxi and Dublin “Blue Cloud” initiative regardless of how cloudy I think they really are. Is IBM’s glass half full when it comes to “cloud” technologies? Of course it is, [...]

  2. Businessweek Cloud Smackdown | John M Willis ESM Blog Says:
    April 10th, 2008 at 2:39 am

    [...] IBM’s Blue Cloud to Amazon Web Services is like comparing a mainframe to a laptop as the same market. IBM may from a marketecture [...]

  3. IBM’s Quiet Cloud « Step Back, Move Forward Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 9:22 am

    [...] They are also one of the largest IT management software companies with the Tivoli brand, and for years sold IT under the ‘On-Demand’ banner. Why are they not the #1 cloud [...]

  4. IBM’s Quiet Cloud « The SiliconANGLE Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 7:47 am

    [...] over  $1B. They are also one of the largest IT management software companies with the Tivoli brand, and for years sold IT under the ‘On-Demand’ banner.Why are they not the #1 cloud [...]