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Championing an Open Environment

The development of open industry standards and open source has been essential to the growth and advancement of many technologies, such as the Web and operating systems. IBM strongly believes open source and standards significantly benefit customers and has a long history of championing open-source offerings. A prime example is the company’s sizeable investment and backing of the Linux* OS for many years, as this open-source environment runs on IBM’s System z* mainframe, Power Systems* servers and System x* x86 servers.

CIOs want confidence that the IT choices they make today won’t limit future options. It isn’t feasible for clients to rip and replace or be locked into one proprietary vendor as they strive to build new solutions quickly, often involving multiple hardware and software platforms. Standards can address many of these concerns.

IBM took its next major step in embracing open standards when it helped launch the OpenStack Foundation last year. The global community of developers, vendors and users who comprise the foundation collaborate on open-source standards for cloud.

“The ability to do e-commerce on the Web or your mobile device would not have happened as fast if a single vendor or multiple vendors were fighting over standards.”
—Angel Luis Diaz, VP, Software Standards, IBM Cloud Labs

IBM announced that all of its cloud services and software will be built on open cloud architecture. IBM believes industrywide open standards for cloud computing are critical to leverage the full potential of interconnected data, such as mobile computing and business analytics. This can enable clients to create new business opportunities and services.

“IBM is building its entire cloud portfolio on open source and open standards,” explains Angel Luis Diaz, vice president, Software Standards, IBM Cloud Labs. This announcement applies to SmartCloud Foundation, IBM’s private cloud offering, SmartCloud Enterprise, IBM’s public offering, IBM PureSystems* and hybrid clouds.

Cloud environments employ one or more service layers—infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). Clients need freedom of choice at each one of those layers, according to Diaz. They also want to be able to move workloads around the cloud. To do so successfully requires open source and open standards at each one of those layers. “They need the ability to interoperate because they work in heterogeneous environments,” he explains.

Building the Base

More than 204 companies and 9,300 developers in 87 countries are involved in the OpenStack Foundation, making it the largest open-source foundation, Diaz says. “OpenStack allows you to use the heart of cloud—IaaS—to drive innovation and interoperability.”

As businesses adopt a cloud model, interoperability is critical and fostering it is one of the OpenStack Foundation’s goals. The rising demand for mobile, analytics and social interaction puts an enormous amount of stress on data centers. Add cyber-threat prevention to the mix and IT can be overwhelmed. “Having a cloud system that’s interoperable is the only way we can scale to meet these demands,” he explains.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at



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