Platform-as-a-Service and Application Development Key to IBM Transformation

By Force 3

With IT customers increasingly turning to Platform-as-a-Service offerings, major technology manufacturers are following suit — including IBM.

In this article for TechTarget’s SearchITChannel, Force 3’s senior director of software sales engineering Charles Fullwood discusses IBM’s evolution to include as-a-service platforms that enable better application development, embrace cloud technology and modernize their IT infrastructure.

From Middleware to Modernization

“If you roll back the clock, IBM was always a middleware company,” he said. “They sold everything from databases to application servers. They still do. As a matter of fact, those things still run a lot of the businesses of the world.”

Fullwood traced the beginnings of IBM’s transformation to the rollout of its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform, acquired from SoftLayer. IBM then built a platform-as-a-service platform on top of the IaaS that let customers start developing applications, he said. “Now [IBM] put the Watson cognitive piece on top of that, and on top of that they have intellectual capital around industries … So if you look at that, they have gone from selling a lot of software … to strategically having a one-stop shop to do future application development. You can write your typical applications, but you can also embed AI into those applications.”

“Watson is changing the paradigm of app development, and it’s all because of this cloud platform that IBM is building,” he added.

Fullwood believes it will take time for the market at large to appreciate what IBM is doing today, especially in view of IBM cloud rivals. For example, compared with Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM does “things really well that AWS does not,” he said. He cited what IBM does with bare metal as an example but pointed to Watson as its main differentiator, which he said puts IBM miles ahead of competitors.

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