Hybrid cloud and AI will drive tech’s evolution – IBM CEO

AI as the productivity lynchpin for technology and hybrid cloud deployments.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna says that technology can help mitigate inflation. He sees the development of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) at the nexus of the next wave of technology productivity and development.

“We have inflation, we have demographic shifts because we don’t have enough people. We have geopolitical instability, you sort of put all these together,” Krishna said at the Six Five Summit, a virtual event presented by Futurum Research and Moore Insights & Strategy.

Krishna, a self-professed engineering nerd, drew on the very history of the semiconductor industry itself as a point of perspective.

“If you draw a graph of semiconductor productivity – so think of that as how many transistors a dollar buys you — and you draw global GDP [Gross Domestic Product], the curves look almost identical.”

Krishna claims that the causal inference is undeniable: productivity is driven by technology. Human capital isn’t scalable at the same rate the cloud is, he said. 

To overcome this limitation, Krishna believes strongly that the next wave of tech-driven productivity is based around two emergent technologies: the hybrid cloud, and AI.

As a practical example, Krishna points to AI’s role in cybersecurity. He recounted IBM’s recent experience providing the technology for the Masters Tournament golf championship. 

“A four-day sporting event, 40 million attacks happened in those four days. IBM used a fraction of the security analysts they would have needed previously, thanks to AI,” he said. “Technology is getting rid of the inflation, just to make a simple point.”

Seamless, instant, zero-touch network automation is held as the key to the ultimate success of any solution dependent on navigating the increasingly complicated hybrid cloud landscape. Here. Krishna says AI will play a vital role.

“Everyone wants to use multiple public clouds,” said Krishna. “People are still going to use on-premise. People are going to worry about [data] sovereignty. People want flexibility of deployment, and they want speed, and they want value.”

To process all of that, AI is necessary, he said.

“We generate two and a half quintillion bytes of data every day,” he said. “That’s two and a half with 18 zeroes after it. We know of no other technology that can digest and process that much data but AI.”

In February, IBM announced a hybrid cloud partnership with enterprise software firm SAP. The businesses want to help enterprise customers move their enterprise resource planning (ERP) operations to the cloud. SAP has designated IBM a “premium supplier” of its RISE with SAP service.

IBM’s hybrid cloud strategy has been foundational to the company’s business efforts ever since its 2018 acquisition of Red Hat. In 2021, IBM spun off its GTS managed services business to become Kyndryl.

In 2020 IBM announced IBM Cloud for Telecommunications, a hybrid cloud service built on an open architecture. IBM Cloud for Telecommunications incorporates IBM Cloud Satellite and Red Hat OpenShift for flexible cloud-based service delivery, and integrates IBM’s Edge Application Manager and Telco Network Cloud Manager.

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