Late last year IBM Software Group (SWG) “acquired” IBM Systems and Technology (STG) group – with software head honcho Steve Mills taking over management of the combined group. The move had been coming for a while, and the parallels with Oracle’s takeover of Sun Microsystems last year are clear. The market is showing a new tolerance, perhaps even a desire, for vertical integration up and down the entire IT stack, from chips to servers to networks to storage to databases and apps. Call it the Apple effect. The golden age of Open Systems is arguably coming to a close – with user experience (UX) now seen as more important than portability, or freedom to leave.
We’re not exactly regressing- the Internet is of course built on open standards, and systems and software integration is becoming easier than ever, using Web technologies – but the pendulum is swinging towards more proprietary approaches delivering better UX.
Great UX is a function of masterful packaging. Its not about building the best components but doing the best job of integrating them. Open Source, somewhat counter-intuitively, is a driver of the New proprietary – Apple is built on Free BSD foundations, for example, while Google runs its own customised Linux, and so on. The cloud accelerates the new proprietary – because, not being classed as software distribution, it allows for open source code to be embedded to deliver a service, without requiring any reciprocity.
IBM is of course a past master of integrating open source into its proprietary middleware products – WebSphere Application Server embeds the Apache Web Server, for example. IBM’s Smarter Computing products don’t only embed open source however- IBM’s Cloudburst private cloud provisioning engine, for example, embeds VMware’s hypervisor.
For all IBM’s ambiguity about public cloud as enterprise ready, its good to see Tivoli’s understanding that customers will put in place multiple cloud providers, for multiple sourcing strategy, for disaster recovery and cost management. One of the best expositions I have seen of this Redundant Array of Inexpensive Clouds strategy comes from Mark Masterson…