IBM leads IT out of the data center

Big Blue looks to help users manage data, energy and more across diverse environments

Analysts says IBM's plans outpace competitors in the management market because the company seems to understand that what happens in the domain of IT can be applied to facilities and other environments across an enterprise.

"Most of the management vendors remain stuck solely in the IT realm, which is OK for many companies because that is where the pain is most acute, but mature organizations realize the stuff they do in IT can be applied elsewhere and money savings can be achieved," says Glenn O'Donnell, a senior analyst with Forrester Research.

As for information management efficiency, the integrated ProtecTIER Deduplication Appliance works to reduce redundant data across an environment by incorporating server, storage and data deduplication software. The company also introduced the IBM XIV Storage System that is says will provide fast access to data stored in a variety of applications, from digital media, Web 2.0 and traditional sources.

Yet for all of IBM's strategy, some analysts say Big Blue will run into a few challenges selling its dynamic infrastructure to enterprise IT executives. For one, despite it being a potential best practice, many in IT still have no authority over other areas of the business, such as power management or facilities maintenance.

"IT people don't own the power or facilities budget," says Andi Mann, research director at Enterprise Management Associates. "IBM is really aiming these solutions at business owners and could need to reach even above the CIO level."

Secondly, while cloud computing seems to be all the rage right now, adoption of cloud technology in external environments might be some time coming.

"Customers want to have internal clouds, to be able to increase capacity and storage in an incremental fashion, but even with that, they are very much still in the 'kicking the tires' stage," says Judith Hurwitz, CEO of Hurwitz & Associates.

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