Buzz, buzz, buzz: What was the buzz at IBM Impact 2014?
John Pape 0600007J6A firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  composable_business mobile ibmimpact api_management iot internet_of_things integration cloud
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Buzzwords abound each time a conference occurs, don’t they? IBM Impact 2014 was no different (especially with all the new announcements). Buzzwords mean so many different things depending on who you ask. Coming from a WebSphere Application Server background, with a particular focus on support and serviceability, I wanted to give you my thoughts on the top buzzwords I heard this week at Impact. Let’s get started!
My favorite (and probably the biggest buzzword) was cloud. Cloud is such a special case, you see, because there are many interpretations of what cloud means. Stop reading this post for a moment, open a new tab and just type in “cloud” in your favorite search engine. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
See what I mean? The best definition of cloud, in my opinion, is summed up as: “Cloud is an on-demand, rapidly provisionable, consumptive computing environment.”
Much of the buzz around cloud involved the IBM BlueMix platform as a service (PaaS) offering built on the open-source CloudFoundry project. IBM PureApplication System was hot as well, with announcements about the upcoming V2.0 firmware updates and the plethora of enhancements and new features they will bring. However, cloud wasn’t just about the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and PaaS offerings that IBM has; it encompassed the Internet of Things as well.
And that brings me to buzzword number two, Internet of Things (IoT). IoT wasn’t a concept I was really familiar with other than knowing that things like Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Intel Galileo boards existed and that people were designing some pretty neat pet projects with them.
Not until Impact, where I saw a demonstration on how IoT could enable shop floor equipment to notify technicians that they needed attention and could even help the tech find out exactly where the fault was occurring by using GPS, did I begin to understand how powerful IoT and cloud could be. I heard stories from pioneering companies like OnFarm, which is disrupting its industry by introducing innovative solutions using a multitude of devices to collect agriculture data and feeding that data into cloud-enabled systems of engagement to produce priceless information for farmers. It’s really pretty neat, both from a technical sense and from an environmental sense as well. To me, learning more about the IoT helps me to really understand the Smarter Planet concepts that IBM is enabling.
Up next: mobile. Most people are aware of the push to mobile over the past couple of years. Mobile is ubiquitous in so many corners of the planet now. With that growth, there is a need for new applications and systems of engagement to enable all these mobile devices to be used to solve business problems. The IBM MobileFirst strategy was prominently showcased at Impact 2014. From mobile development with IBM Worklight to secure enterprise solutions for bring your own device (BYOD) through MaaS360, mobile was a constant and pervasive topic. In fact, there were over 100 sessions on mobile topics alone.
Moving on, we come to the composable business. With the announcement of the IBM Cloud Marketplace, composable business began to take shape in the minds of many at Impact. The concept is simple; in fact, we really saw its birth many years ago when we all started thinking of service-oriented architecture (SOA). To me, composable business means living in an API (application programming interface) economy rather than a systems-oriented IT economy. As we progress into the cloud era, businesses are increasingly interested in using services, rather than procuring, deploying and maintaining software systems and their infrastructure just to provide a new application or service. The focus is trending where the API is king. Developers can create new systems of engagement rapidly by focusing on using various APIs for the services they need. Fading are the days where they needed to get a copy of some middleware software or contact their database administrator to create a new database instance before they could even begin solving the problem they were working on. Instead, PaaS offerings, like IBM BlueMix, are allowing developers to easily obtain and use APIs to achieve their goals.
Last up: integration. With so much focus being given to API usage in the systems of engagement space (both cloud and mobile), integration is a hot topic. How do I manage the APIs my business is going to provide to the cloud and provide them at scale? How is this new application going to utilize the disparate services it needs to be successful? How can I tell if my service is meeting the goals I set? All of these types of questions can be addressed with IBM API Management. If you’re moving into the growing API economy, integration and API management must be at the forefront of your mind.
Now that the whirlwind of keynotes, breakout sessions and other activities of IBM Impact 2014 have concluded, I’m sure we’ll be hearing these buzzwords more as the year progresses. I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @jpapejr to talk about IBM WebSphere, IBM BlueMix or cloud in general.