IBM's x86 server business remains under pressure as more customers shift to the cloud. Rumors throughout 2013 suggested that Lenovo may buy the x86 server lineup from IBM. But apparently the two companeis couldn't agree on price and terms. IBM needs to either show deep x86 server commitment or exit the market.
IBM in 2012 and early 2013 started promoting PureFlex systems to MSPs. The challenge: Most MSPs are no longer building their own data centers. Instead they are plugging into large co-location or cloud services providers. IBM's message to MSPs has to be much more cloud- and mobile-centric, rather than converged hardware centric.
Most of the software defined networking chatter has involved networking giants (Cisco Insieme), virtualization players (VMware NSX) and upstarts. Yes, IBM has its own SDN strategy. But it's still early in this market transition. Will IBM lead, follow or get out of the way? Hmmm...
Bold. Outspoken. Customer Focused. SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby is all that and more. IBM's cloud strategy has been hit and miss. But IBM's 2013 buyout of SoftLayer sure looks promising. Over time, you can imagine IBM's SaaS applications running in SoftLayer's cloud data centers. In the meantime, IBM needs to stay out of Crosby's way and let SoftLayer do what it does best: Automate the cloud onboarding process for customers and partners.
Here again, IBM has struggled in recent years. SmartCloud wasn't exactly a big hit with channel partners or end customers. Enter Drew Jenkins, channel chief for SoftLayer. Jenkins understands how VARs, MSPs and cloud integrators can succeed with IaaS and more. Let's hope IBM puts a larger spotlight on SoftLayer's partner program.
Sure, Big Data gets all the hype. But how many channel partners are succeeding with Big Data strategies? The VAR Guy suspects less than 5 percent of the IT channel has any sort of Big Data strategy in place. Can IBM simplify the conversation with partners and customers? Hmmm... That remains to be seen.
Over the past year, IBM has called layoffs a "remixing" of employees while also implementing hardware employee furloughs. The company often tries to dance around bad news with euphemisms instead of just sharing the blunt truth: The company is struggling to make the switch from hardware-centric sales (again) and IT consulting to cloud services. It's time for CEO Ginni Rometty to simply state that obvious reality, and describe how the transition is progressing.
For IBM to thrive in 2014, the company must address challenges and opportunities involving x86 servers, SoftLayer cloud services and more. Here are 7 IBM priorities from The VAR Guy. Look above right to navigate photos and captions.
May 15: Employee Tested, IT Approved: Why User Adoption is Key for ROI
May 22: Virtualization Security: Meeting the Challenge
Sept. 15-19: Face to Face: IT/Dev Connections
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