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Steven Astorino

Steven Astorino

Vice President of Development, Data & AI and Canada Lab Director, IBM

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever altered how organizations around the world operate. Everything seemed to change overnight and businesses needed to be able to react quickly to challenges of where and how work was getting done.

The role of technology became even more critical and the pandemic brought into sharp focus the importance of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI).

“The need for speed, flexibility, and agility in business has been amplified dramatically in the midst of the pandemic,” says Steven Astorino, Vice President of Development, Data, and AI and Canada Lab Director at IBM. “A huge part of this need is now being met as organizations adopt hybrid cloud.”

But what exactly is hybrid cloud? “Think about all those huge server rooms you see in the movies — those are traditional on-premise data centres,” explains Astorino. “Moving that data to the cloud protects a business from potential outages, security breaches, and escalating costs. But as part of their journey to cloud, organizations often migrate one workload at a time, which can result in applications running on several public clouds, all within the same company. Businesses needed a way to migrate data to the cloud and to work across these clouds with seamless integration. Hybrid cloud technology allows them to do just that, as they’re not tied to one provider.”

A solution for all clouds

With the acquisition of Red Hat, IBM now offers companies the ability to build mission-critical applications once and then run them anywhere — on all leading public clouds. One success story is Celero, a leading provider of digital technology and integration solutions to Canadian credit unions and financial institutions. IBM Canada and Celero recently inked a seven-year, multi-million-dollar agreement to significantly advance Celero’s banking technologies like security and payment solutions by moving onto a hybrid cloud environment.

“Companies need open, flexible technology to manage their hybrid cloud environments,” says Astorino. “And they need partners they can trust to manage and secure these systems. IBM and Red Hat are uniquely suited to meet these needs.”

IBM is also making a big play with cloud-native capabilities that are delivered as pre-integrated solutions called Cloud Paks. Cloud Paks are containerized software solutions that provide a common operating model and set of services. “Cloud Paks are an IT executive’s best friend,” says Astorino.

Businesses needed a way to migrate data to the cloud and to work across these clouds with seamless integration.

Steven Astorino, IBM

Cloud Paks improve visibility and control across clouds with a unified and intuitive dashboard that makes management and collaboration simple. As Astorino explains, “Cloud Paks are the best way to operationalize AI throughout your business. Instead of handing over millions of data points to an overwhelmed data scientist, a solution like Cloud Pak for Data helps to unify, simplify, and automate the collection, organization, and analysis of data. You’re able to leverage the power of AI within a secure, collaborative, and unified experience.”

This helps enterprises modernize their infrastructures and turn their data into progressively smarter insights and outcomes through an integrated set of AI-infused software solutions for hybrid cloud.

Recovering with technology

Astorino notes the importance of cloud-agnostic and open source tools as a way for businesses to emerge smarter from the pandemic. “It’s important to balance both the consumption of and contribution to open source technology,” he says. “At IBM, we combine open source with the capabilities of IBM Research to build technology from the best of both worlds that truly advances breakthrough innovation. This is exactly how we’ve built and designed Cloud Paks — with a rich ecosystem of open source microservices that you can customize to your business needs.”

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