June 25, 2017

IBM has unfurled a Cloud Brokerage Services Cost and Asset Management software-as-a-service (SaaS) application in response to the rising popularity of container adoption within on-premises IT environments.

While many IT organizations once automatically defaulted to public clouds that were perceived to be a more agile way to deploy applications, of late there’s been a significant spike in usage of on-premises environments now that IT organizations can attain the same level of agility by deploying containers in their local IT environment, says Mohammed Farooq, general manager for brokerage services at IBM. Because of that capability, customers want to be able to compare costs between multiple public clouds and a private cloud running locally. To make it simpler to determine those costs, IBM is making available a cloud cost analysis application that makes use of the IBM Watson platform to determine those costs today and in the future, he says.

For longer-running applications that are increasingly be re-hosted using containers, cloud costing tools are becoming more relevant. Local data centers over the last several years have become more agile thanks to the rise of software-defined infrastructure (SDI). Over an extended time period, it’s less expensive to run an application locally than it is to run it in a public cloud.

Farooq says IBM has previously made this cloud costing tool available as software that customers could run themselves or access as an application hosted by IBM. Now IBM is taking the next logical step by making this tool available as a SaaS application that can be accessed on-demand as necessary.

The IBM SaaS application attaches tags to multiple cloud services that continuously update costs analysis that are exposed via dashboards. IT organizations can use those dashboards also to simulate changes to inventory, spending goals or operational priorities. Farooq adds that IT organizations can also make use of the tags to monitor compliance with specific corporate policies or regulatory policies.

Containers in and of themselves may not slow down adoption of public clouds. But it’s clear that containers go a long way toward leveling the playing field between not only cloud service providers, but also between public clouds and on-premises IT environments. To level that playing field further, most providers of IT infrastructure now offer licensing options for acquiring servers, storage and networking gear using the same kind of monthly payment terms provided by cloud service providers. The challenge those organizations face these days is crafting the economic models surrounding all the various available options often takes longer than deploying the application itself.

Of course, IBM isn’t the only provider of cloud costing tools. But it is one of the first to apply a cognitive computing engine alongside machine-learning algorithm to the process. That means instead of waiting for someone in the finance department to manually crunch the numbers, decisions regarding when and where an application can be deployed can be made faster and with more confidence.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.