IBM’s Ed Kimm on the Future of the Data Center Market: Agnostic, Hybrid, Multi-cloud Customized Requirements

DENVER, CO – A centerpiece of CAPRE’s International Data Center Series is how to navigate and capitalize on a changing industry and changing enterprise landscape. That’s why CAPRE’s Construction, Design, Engineering Evolution and the Optimization of Hyperscale, Colocation & Enterprise Data Centers in Denver featured a discussion titled “Staying Relevant as a Data Center Provider: Digital Transformation and Optimizing the Client’s Journey to the Cloud” featuring a pair of forward-thinking though leaders from two highly influential organizations: Ed Kimm, of IBM’s Global Technology Services team and Craig Cook, Vice-President for Solutions Architecture and Engineering at Flexential. In this piece, we highlight a close-up with Kimm about how IBM approaches the notion of staying relevant.

“So let’s talk about staying relevant as a data center provide through the digital transformation,” suggested moderator Brian Klebash, CEO and Founder of CAPRE. “We’ve been hearing throughout the course of the day how the industry is growing, it’s expanding, and it’s evolving. The hyperscalers are growing, multi-tenant colocation is growing. So there’s demand. And how do you stay relevant, Ed?”

One of the reasons I joined IBM was that we we’re trying to compete with the hyperscale providers like Google Cloud or Azure or AWS. In my opinion, we’ll never catch them. Amazon has a clear lion’s share of that marketplace,” replied Kimm. “But where I personally see the market going is to an open, hybrid and multi-cloud eco-system. Organizations are starting to understand that one Cloud doesn’t fit everybody. One infrastructure doesn’t fit everybody. It’s different strokes for different folks, so it really depends on what the organization is trying to accomplish. So these days, it’s as much of a business use case as it is a technical one. These are the strategies that help people figure out what they want to do from a wide perspective.”

According to Kimm, IBM is changing the game when it comes to managing multi-hybrid cloud environments, and that is where IBM wins today. “We’ve been doing it for the last twenty years. We had a partnership with Red Hat and now that we actually own them, we have a lion’s share of the open source community. Red Hat is the largest open source hybrid management company in the world,” he explained.

Ed Kimm, Global Technology Services, IBM

“So if I’m a company that’s trying to understand where to put my workloads and why, then I need you to make a use-case of it, from a TCO or cost-benefit analysis perspective, and I need you to give me the resources to actually do it,” stressed Kimm. “Don’t just give me a blueprint and walk way and wish me good luck. How do I actually make this happen? IBM, in my opinion, is the largest player when it comes to that – the orchestration, managing all of the different workloads, even on-premise and even in disparate, agnostic colocation environments.”

That’s IBM’s strength, Kimm asserted. “Because we have 19,000 infrastructure-managed, integrated service providers, that are full-time employees with IBM to support any manufacturer, any plate-room technology you can imagine,” he shared. “That’s where IBM is coming from and that’s where I see the market is headed – completely agnostic, hybrid, multi-cloud, requirements based on what the customer needs.”

In other words, don’t try to force something that doesn’t make sense for your client. “Understand what their pain points are, align it, and go ahead and make a road map for them,” he advised.

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