https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbloomberg/2017/03/24/eight-vendors-driving-disruption-in-the-ibm-ecosystem/#3e60068c2e9a

Eight Vendors Driving Disruption In The IBM Ecosystem

I write and consult on digital transformation in the enterprise.
 At this week’s InterConnect conference, IBM IBM -0.60% provided its ecosystem of independent software vendor (ISV) and consulting partners with the opportunity to show how their wares integrated with or supported various products on Big Blue’s extensive product line.

As my focus is on digital transformation, I sought out the most disruptive stories on the show floor. The ISVs I’m featuring fall into two camps: vendors who are leveraging IBM Watson to bring its inherent disruption to the enterprise, and vendors who are supporting IBM customers’ own disruptions.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty Keynotes at InterConnect

Jason Bloomberg

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty Keynotes at InterConnect

Watson in the IBM ISV Ecosystem

As I wrote in my earlier article on this year’s InterConnect, Watson represents IBM’s bet-the-company gamble on artificial intelligence (AI). The first four vendors on my list are taking Watson-based services and leveraging them in one way or another to bring the value of AI to customers.

Accelerite

Accelerite offers a range of solutions for cloud lifecycle management, endpoint security, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). At InterConnect, the vendor emphasized its Concert IoT Platform, a low-code IoT application construction environment that runs on the IBM Bluemix PaaS.

Accelerate focuses mainly on ‘Industry 4.0,’ a term for IoT-driven automation in manufacturing. Concert supports a range of popular IoT protocols, and sports a drag-and-drop design interface characteristic of low-code tooling.

In addition, Concert integrates with the IBM Watson IoT Platform, which provides a range of analytics capabilities that provide insights into IoT sensor data for Accelerite’s customers.

Mendix

In the year and a half since I last wrote about Mendix for Forbes, the low-code platform vendor has rewritten much of their offering to leverage Cloud Foundry code. As a result, it is perhaps the only enterprise low-code platform that can run directly on IBM Bluemix, as well as several other cloud or on-premises environments.

Mendix also offers IBM Watson Services connectors out of the box, enabling developers to leverage Watson services like AlchemyVision visual recognition, Concept Insights, Text to Speech, and Dialog in their applications by dragging and dropping objects in the Mendix platform’s visual designer.

ServiceNow

ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) is a cloud-based provider various service management offerings, including IT Service Management, IT Business Management, IT Operations Management, and a range of business management capabilities for finance, marketing, human resources, and other lines of business.

At InterConnect, ServiceNow touted its recently announced global strategic partnership with IBM, where the vendors will work together to automate a broad range of manual business processes leveraging IBM Watson technologies. ServiceNow will also integrate with Bluemix and IBM Cloud Orchestrator, IBM’s cloud management platform for provisioning cloud services.

Ziften

Ziften bridges the gap between IT operations and security operations by providing a common endpoint context. It collects operational data on servers and other infrastructure that operations staff can correlate in the event of a security incident.

At InterConnect, Ziften highlighted Ziften for QRadar, which has the ability to export standard Internet Protocol Flow Information Export (IPFIX) data to various tools, including the IBM QRadar Security information and event management (SIEM) product.

In addition, Ziften leverages IBM Watson in order to display a dynamic, real-time impact assessment graph that relates data Ziften collects with other infrastructure information across the enterprise environment.

Helping IBM Customers Navigate Their Own Disruptions

More likely than not, my second group of four ISVs are leveraging older IBM technologies – but are helping joint customers navigate their own disruptive business environments while running IBM gear. Here are my picks.

ATS Group

The Galileo Performance Explorer from ATS Group offers a cloud-based IT performance management (ITPM) suite for servers, storage, storage-area networks (SANs), and applications. Using lightweight agents, Galileo can monitor on-premises, private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid IT environments.

Incumbent vendors dominate the ITPM market, with competing offerings from Dell EMC, NetApp NTAP -0.18%, and IBM itself. But unlike these older products, Galileo both runs in the cloud and is able to monitor and analyze data across cloud and on-premises environments in a holistic manner, providing critical visibility into complex hybrid IT environments – which is especially useful for cloud migration scenarios.

Cloudsoft

Cloudsoft offers hybrid cloud application management software based on the Apache Brooklyn open source project (which Cloudsoft contributes to). The Cloudsoft Application Management Platform (AMP) runs on the IBM Cloud, and enables its customers to deploy and manage applications that run on IBM Blue Box OpenStack-powered private clouds in IBM Cloud Data Centers around the globe.

In addition, Cloudsoft can provide its customers with faster software downloads and better application performance via IBM’s private, high-speed network. Cloudsoft AMP on IBM Cloud essentially provides a dedicated cloud infrastructure that supports transparent execution of cloud-based applications worldwide.

Nastel

Nastel offers IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) and Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions for enterprises, with a particular emphasis on monitoring legacy IBM middleware, including IBM WebSphere MQ, IBM Integration Bus (formerly WebSphere Message Broker), and IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances.

At InterConnect, the vendor demonstrated its new solutions for monitoring Cloud, IoT, and cognitive technologies like IBM Watson. Nastel also offers its own AI which enables its tools to generate predictive analyses based on behavior, sentiment, and anomaly detection.

Skytap

Skytap provides the ability to ‘clone’ complex enterprise IT environments for testing or demo purposes in its public cloud environment. Creating such test environments as rapidly as Skytap can is an essential tool for DevOps, as testing in production-like environments is a common bottleneck that DevOps teams must surmount.

At InterConnect, Skytap exhibited its recently announced AIX On-Demand Instances. AIX is IBM’s proprietary flavor of the UNIX operating system, which is still in use at numerous enterprises. As Skytap already supports Linux and Windows, the addition of AIX gives IBM customers the ability to clone a wider variety of heterogeneous environments.

The Two Faces of Disruption

The moral of this story: innovative technologies like IBM Watson are indeed disruptive, but enterprise transformation doesn’t solely depend upon disruptive technology innovations at the expense of older, more established technologies.

In fact, it’s possible to find some of the most remarkable digital transformation successes among traditional enterprises with plenty of existing, even legacy technology. Ripping out older gear is rarely the best option. Leveraging new offerings that bring older technology into the modern digital environment usually makes more sense.

Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmapposter, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, Nastel and ServiceNow are Intellyx customers, and Skytap is a former Intellyx customer. None of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. IBM covered Jason Bloomberg’s travel expenses to InterConnect, a standard industry practice.

 

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