IBM’s Steve Mills: No Cloud Computing for Us
The technorati has been abuzz lately about the promises of “cloud computing,” in which any and all functions within the stack — from storage to processing to messaging — are handled by third-party services on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The impact on large systems and mainframe shops has been unclear, though it’s a sure bet the cloud services themselves will and need to be run out of large, high-availability data centers.
However, in a recent interview with CNET’s Dan Farber, IBM VP Steve Mills said he doesn’t see cloud computing shaping IBM’s mainframe customer base anytime soon. “Our corporate buyers are running mission critical apps, and they are not going to pick up their businesses and take them to some amorphous and ill-defined data centers,” Mills said. “The cloud as some amorphous concept that meets all needs and requirements is science fiction.”
IBM has a long history of competing against itself, and this is certainly in evidence here. IBM is a leading proponent of cloud computing, and is even building new capabilities to make cloud computing a reality, under an effort called “Blue Cloud.” Dan aptly describes IBM “as an arms supplier to the cloud vendors.”
But Mills feels that enterprise computing will demand on-site capabilities for a long time to come. However, he sees plenty of opportunity for Big Iron in this space as things progress. As he put it:
“We are constantly tracking where things are moving to with the IT automation providers. Our challenge is to make sure we sell to them,” Mill said. “You take some Isaac Asimov a thousand years into the future where all businesses source services from service providers, but it’s not likely to happen in my lifetime, my children’s lifetimes or their children’s lifetimes. There won’t likely be only two companies left in business services. There is enough diversity for different business models to exist, and the service bureau model will get bigger and we can sell into it.”
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