IBM Adds More Automation To Cloud Migration Factory, Partners With ServiceNow

IBM Corp. is stepping up its pitch to be the preferred multi-cloud manager for enterprise businesses.

The computer and services giant today announced a partnership with workflow automation and service management software provider ServiceNow Inc. and enhancements to its Cloud Migration Factory.

Like most IBM partnership announcements, few details were provided. IBM said only that it will deliver its Multicloud Management Platform extended by ServiceNow’s information technology service and operations management products.

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“This extends our partnership to the next level in terms of greater collaboration,” said Bala Rajaraman, an IBM Fellow who specializes in hybrid cloud. “Individual details will continue to evolve.”

IBM’s goal is to “provide a cohesive end-to-end multi cloud managed service platform as well as integration and management services around it,” Rajaraman said. The alliance with the top IT-focused workflow automation company will yield “a single place where customers can get ServiceNow and IBM capabilities in a configurable platform.”

ServiceNow has been on a tear of late. In easily beating Wall Street earnings estimates last month, the company announced that it now has more than 5,000 enterprise customers, with one in eight of them paying more than $1 million annually for its software.

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Having failed to crack the top echelon of public cloud providers, IBM has been staking out multicloud as a sweet spot in the market. It’s betting that technologies like software containers will entice corporations to work with multiple cloud providers and shift workloads between them in pursuit of the best performance and features at the lowest price.

The company cited internal research estimating that 85 percent of enterprises are already using multiple clouds but 80 percent of enterprise workloads are still on-premises. IBM is betting that it can accelerate those companies’ shift to the cloud with a broad set of migration and management tools and services.

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“IBM is in front of multicloud in a variety of dimensions, from the way we do multicloud management across infrastructure, [application program interfaces], containers, data, and governance,” Rajaraman said. “Our competitors are focused on a fairly narrow domain.”

New features and functions in the IBM Cloud Migration Factory are intended to reduce the time customers need to migrate and modernize infrastructure, data, applications, and workloads by up to 25 percent. The product is a combination of technology and services aimed at speeding up cloud migration and moving organizations toward modern development techniques such as DevOps. “The notion of a migration factory is to institute and formalize how you go through migration,” Rajaraman said.

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Moving legacy applications to cloud infrastructure often involves substantial rewriting of code as well as the introduction of modular microservices and serverless functions. There are many technical and architectural decisions and risks to consider Rajaraman said. “You need a platform that’s consistent across environments and is open so an ecosystem and management tools can develop.”

Managing a multicloud environment means “being able to seamlessly work across clouds to control what data goes where and do cost and asset management across clouds,” he added.

IBM said the automation and tooling incorporated into the Cloud Migration Factory are based up the more than 100,000 migrations its services organization has performed for customers.

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