hybrid IT solutions

by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

New IBM Network Innovation Centers promise to help clients apply hybrid IT solutions to networks

Published April 03, 2015


With the explosion of data brought on by online transactions, mobile apps, social media, and the Internet of Things, many organizations have begun to move computing and storage systems to the cloud.

These data-intensive conditions also put pressure on networking systems, and to help clients build strategies around hybrid IT, IBM has opened two Network Innovation Centers. These centers, located in Nice, France, and Dallas, Texas, give clients a place to explore Software-Defined Networking, virtualization, and analytics-driven automation technologies and services for their data and communications networks.

Organizations strive to save money by seeking more effective ways to deal with varying workloads, which require a certain provisioning capability. These workloads need to be aware of the network and provision and decommission as needed, says Rick Qualman, Vice President, Network Services Center of Competence, Infrastructure Services within IBM’s Global Technology Services organization. The ability to provision and de-provision is critical, and the centers will allow clients to test and experience new network technologies from IBM and a variety of alliances, including Brocade, Citrix, Juniper Networks, Riverbed, and VMware, and evaluate how to integrate these solutions into their current IT environments.

“It really gives an enterprise the ability to come in, utilize the resources of both our partners and IBM from our different brand organizations and research to really model things and get a cadence going around how you would test new workloads in these kinds of environments,” says Qualman.

Clients can access the capabilities of the two centers on site or remotely, and can bridge the capabilities of the two centers simultaneously to custom design solutions to meet the specific needs of the environments.

“Effectively applying cloud technologies to the network could allow a company to reduce its overall network capacity while increasing utilization by dynamically providing resources during the day in Beijing while it’s nighttime in New York, and vice versa,” says Pete Lorenzen, General Manager, Networking Services, IBM Global Technology Services.  “Or a telecom company could better manage periodic, localized spikes in smartphone usage caused by major sporting events or daily urban commutes, dynamically provisioning capacity when and where it's needed.”

By integrating these solutions, clients can dynamically manage network resources through software programs, automatically moving networking resources to where they’re required, according to IBM. This enables systems operators to better manage peaks and valleys in demand and use fewer networking resources operating at higher rates of efficiency and utilization, all with fewer disruptions in service and less direct management. 

The capability of the first two centers will continue to grow in accordance with customer demand, fueled by innovations from IBM as well as partners, Qualman says. IBM plans to open more centers as necessary.

“We see a significant demand in Latin America,” he says, noting that customer demand will factor in IBM’s decision on where the next two locations will be in the second half of the year.

There is an organizational transformation that needs to happen today, and this is a challenge that many companies struggle with, explains Qualman.

“You can’t deal with workloads in silos anymore where you have eight, nine months to a year to bring up a new application,” he explains. “You really have to think of workloads from an end-to-end perspective now, and everyone has to participate. A lot of these things you can stand up in number of hours. And now the network function is coming on board and you can start planning capacity on demand and all that has to come together very dynamically. So you have to work through policy issues, security issues and things like that to effectively use the technology. That’s what the workshops do is to start to build that across-domain expertise that is required in the new world.”



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