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IBM and HP take different tacks to the new cloud

Rob Enderle | April 13, 2012
Tech giants IBM and HP recently made major cloud announcements, but the differences between the two are striking. columnist Rob Enderle explains how HP's move was tactical and meshes with the recent leadership change, while IBM is playing the long game with artificially intelligent systems.

IBM's new initiative, IBM Expert Integrated Systems, reflects this vastly more strategic thinking. The concept here is to build systems that are increasingly intelligent, and arrive fully configured with software and with all related hardware wrapped with intelligent components that optimize the solution in place.

This is more of a path than a destination, and much of the benefit will come from how these systems learn and adapt themselves over time. Benefits include faster implementation time, less administrator overhead and near constant optimization of the hardware, networking and storage resources. But even though the initial benefits are impressive, like any learning system in its infancy this one will get dramatically better over time.

This is far more strategic than HP's approach, and it is designed to give IBM an increasing competitive advantage tied to its unique focus on creating ever more intelligent systems.

Contrasting HP and IBM

HP's Hybrid Cloud is a destination in and of itself and addresses a critical IT need for a line of accessible resources that comply with company policy and can easily be swapped with comparable, on-premises systems as needed. It is a highly tactical move, but could also yield considerable value as it becomes a showcase offering for the company's new CEO.

IBM's Expert Integrated Systems have similar on-premises hardware, but it is on a path to becoming an additional intelligent resource, addressing the increasing shortage of both administrators who are well trained in current systems and the time needed to train them. This will increasingly bring to light IBM's massive investments in artificial intelligence, as the systems can be expected to demonstrate immediate benefits that will only multiply as the technology gains experience and intelligence. It is a path that highlights IBM's greater historic stability as well as its massive and continued R&D investment in intelligent systems.

Both HP and IBM are optimizing around their distinct sets of resources, and the results they demonstrated this week are dramatically different. HP is responding the threat and problem of public cloud services entering the enterprise, while IBM is jumping to intelligent systems and has its sight set on dominating the future. Both companies will eventually have to address what the other announced, but, this week, their differences reflect the unique position each firm occupies.

Rob is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance, and Security. Currently, Rob writes on emerging technology, security, and Linux for a wide variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.




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