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IBM eyes services bid with Multicloud Manager

Organizations that run applications in a multi-cloud environment could benefit from IBM's Kubernetes-based management platform that supports on-premises and other cloud platforms.

IBM's latest multi-cloud initiative bolsters the company's strategy to help customers build, run and manage workloads across multiple cloud environments.

IBM Multicloud Manager lets users automate how they manage, move and integrate applications across public and private clouds. Based on IBM Cloud Private -- IBM's Kubernetes-based private cloud implementation -- Multicloud Manager supports the IBM Cloud, on-premises systems, and AWS, Red Hat and Microsoft Azure cloud platforms.

Other public cloud providers have delivered management capabilities exclusive to their own platforms. Some vendors, such as VMware, Red Hat, Nutanix and RightScale, offer tools to manage general-purpose infrastructure, while Docker, Rancher and Pivotal manage multiple Kubernetes clusters.

With Multicloud Manager, Big Blue deepens its support for customers' multi-cloud initiatives, but also builds on its support for open standards and open source software in an effort to win more services and consulting business, said Rhett Dillingham, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in Austin, Texas.

"IBM's goal with its cloud management offering is to maintain a strategic, overarching consultative role in its enterprise and government customer decision-making, regardless of which public and private cloud platforms are adopted," he said.

Rhett Dillingham, analyst with Moor Insights & StrategyRhett Dillingham

The multi-cloud management offering runs exclusively on IBM Cloud Private, which is more restrictive than Kubernetes-based cloud management platforms that offer multi-cloud visibility and governance. This reflects IBM's primary goal, which is to win cloud platform share within its existing customers, starting with IBM Cloud Private, Dillingham said.

IBM has said that IBM Cloud Private has amassed "hundreds" of customers since its launch in November 2017. Customers ask for multi-cloud support because they want a consistent platform strategy regardless of where their application components run -- on premises, or a hybrid model with workloads on premises and on public clouds from IBM and other vendors, said Robin Hernandez, IBM director of cloud product management.

IBM Multicloud Manager combines a private cloud Kubernetes- and container-based development platform with the management components around it, as well as application data, messaging queues, Java runtimes -- everything needed to build and run apps.

Automated rules for workload deployment to on premises, IBM public cloud or competitors' clouds are a welcome addition to the container and Kubernetes-as-a-service offerings available from a range of cloud providers, said Dave Bartoletti, an analyst at Forrester in San Francisco.

IBM has doubled down on its commitment to Kubernetes as the future of both new app development and companies' modernization of traditional legacy applications, components of which will almost certainly remain on premises for years, Bartoletti said.

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