CIOs and IT leaders call it the most disruptive technology yet, and now it’s moving rapidly into the mainstream. Artificial intelligence (AI), an increasingly crucial piece of the technology landscape, has arrived. More than 91 percent of businesses surveyed have ongoing — and increasing — investments in artificial intelligence.

Deploying AI workloads at speed and scale, however, requires software and hardware working in tandem across data centers and edge locations. Foundational IT infrastructure, such as GPU- and CPU-based processors, must provide big capacity and performance leaps to efficiently run AI. Without higher performance levels, AI workloads could take months and years to run. With it, organizations can accelerate AI advancements. 

Dell Technologies’ recent developments in hardware and software solutions mirror AI software capabilities to do just that—advance AI. More specifically, next-gen offerings from Dell Technologies provide 8-10x performance improvements according to MLCommons ®MLPerf™ benchmarks. The upgraded Dell Technologies solution portfolio includes a range of GPU-optimized servers for AI training and CPU-powered servers for enterprise-wide AI inferencing, both of which are essential, co-existing elements of AI deployment.

MLCommons MLPerf Results

For benchmarking, the MLCommons updated version 3.0, MLPerf Inference was used; the latest results are shown here. Benchmarks include categories such as image classification, object detection, natural language processing, speech recognition, recommender systems and medical image segmentation.

While the inference benchmark rules did not change significantly, Dell Technologies expanded its submission with the new generation of Dell PowerEdge servers, including new PowerEdge XE9680, XR7620, and XR5610 servers and new accelerators from its partners. Submissions were made with VMware running on NVIDIA AI Enterprise software and NVIDIA accelerators as well as Intel-based CPU-only results.

The results for Dell Technologies’ next-gen processors are extraordinary for the highly demanding use cases of AI training, generative AI model training and tuning and AI inferencing. Compared to previous generations of hardware, the results show a significant uptick in performance:

GPU-optimized servers produced an 8-10x improvement in performance.

CPU-powered servers generated a 6-8x improvement in performance.

More detailed results can be seen here

AI in Action

AI data center and edge deployments mandate a highly interdependent ecosystem of up-level software and hardware capabilities, including a mix of GPU- and CPU-based processors. Each industry and organization can tailor infrastructure based on unique needs, preferences and requirements.

Consider, for example, a pharmaceutical company using AI modeling and simulation for drug discovery. Modern developments are based on a chemist finding highly active molecules that also test negative for neurotoxicity. There are trillions of compounds to consider and evaluate. Each search takes almost two months and thousands of dollars, limiting the number of searches and tests that can be conducted. Using AI, simulations can examine many more molecules much faster and cheaper, opening a new world of possibilities. To accelerate drug discovery (there are thousands of diseases and only hundreds of cures), pharmaceutical companies need powerful processors to handle large and diverse data sets efficiently and effectively.

Retailers typically use AI differently than pharmaceutical companies. Retail use cases often revolve around video imagery used to enhance security, bolster intrusion detection and support self-check-out capabilities. To boost newfound capabilities in these areas, retailers need more powerful GPU-optimized processors to handle image-based data streams.

Advancing AI

Emerging generative AI use cases, such as digital assistants and co-pilots for software development, are appearing as the next frontier of AI. That’s why at Dell Technologies, innovation never rests.

When it comes to technology infrastructure, Dell Technologies and its partners are constantly innovating to reach new performance levels and help redefine what is possible. The exponential performance increase in NVIDIA GPU-optimized servers and the infusion of AI Inferencing in Intel’s® Xeon®-based servers are creating the required AI foundation. With these results, Dell Technologies can help organizations fuel AI transformations precisely and efficiently, including new AI training and inferencing software, generative AI models, AI DevOps tools and AI applications.


Dell Technologies. To help organizations move forward, Dell Technologies is powering the AI journey, including enterprise generative AI. With best-in-class IT infrastructure and solutions to run AI workloads and advisory and support services that roadmap AI initiatives, Dell is enabling organizations to boost their digital transformation and accelerate intelligent outcomes. 

Intel. The compute required for AI models has put a spotlight on performance, cost and energy efficiency as top concerns for enterprises today. Intel’s commitment to the democratization of AI and sustainability will enable broader access to the benefits of AI technology, including generative AI, via an open ecosystem. Intel’s AI hardware accelerators, including new built-in accelerators, provide performance and performance per watt gains to address the escalating performance, price and sustainability needs of AI.

Artificial Intelligence

Cloud technology is a springboard for digital transformation, delivering the business agility and simplicity that are so important to today’s business. Cloud is also a powerful catalyst for improving IT and user experiences, with operating principles such as anywhere access, policy automation, and visibility.

The benefits of cloud for the business, for IT operations, and for employee experiences are clear. But what if you could take the best principles of cloud and apply them across your entire IT infrastructure?

Simpler operations belong everywhere—not just the cloud

There’s no reason that the benefits of cloud need to be limited to the cloud. With the right strategy, platforms, and solutions, organizations can bring the cloud operating model to the network and across the entire cloud and network IT stack. In fact, in a recent IDC study, 60% of CIOs stated they are already planning to modify their operating model to manage value, agility, and risk by 2026.

Transitioning to this new operating model unlocks more benefits for IT leaders, in more environments and use cases. It simplifies operations for on-premises and cloud infrastructures, cutting down the complexity and fragmentation created by disconnected tools and consoles—and the different skill sets needed to work with them.

Expanding the cloud operating model also sets the stage for better collaboration between network, development, and cloud operations. By introducing a common model and language that transcends operational silos, this approach helps reduce points of friction between organizational handoffs.  The result: teams can collaborate and work together to solve problems more smoothly. Processes become more consistent, predictable, and less prone to manual errors.

Bringing the cloud operating model to the network helps your teams execute faster and be more agile. It can automate tasks such as deploying a new distributed application for users in the home and office. For example, with a cloud-managed SD-WAN, a company can establish connectivity and security in about an hour. With a traditional siloed approach, those same steps could take NetOps, DevOps, and SecOps teams days.

Once an application is up and running, the cloud operating model can support greater visibility into cloud and data center operations, application deployment, and performance. When you have improved end-to-end visibility, you can react more quickly. Your teams can troubleshoot faster, tune performance more easily, and enjoy a more intuitive experience as they do it.

When you simplify IT, better experiences and outcomes follow

What happens when the cloud operating model is brought to the network? Organizations gain the benefits of a simplified IT approach and better user experiences. But that’s not all. It also frees IT leaders to focus, innovate, and deliver better business outcomes.

Improving the application experience

Applying the cloud operating model expands visibility, creating an end-to-end view that enables more consistent governance across the infrastructure, from the network to the internet to the cloud, to help ensure a better application experience for every user.

Powering a more agile, proactive business

Making IT more agile ripples across the whole organization. By automating manual processes, you can get out in front of business changes, deploying resources to support new applications, so you can meet changing needs for business stakeholders, faster.

Controlling costs

Expanding a common operating model helps your teams work smarter with consistent management of the deployment, optimization, and troubleshooting lifecycles, both in the cloud and on-premises.

Breaking down silos for productivity

Cloud operating principles can enable consistent governance that helps bring down the barriers between siloed cloud and network teams—and help IT move beyond fragmented operations with different policies and processes.

Applying stronger security everywhere

Cloud consistency can also enhance security. With automation and improved end-to-end visibility, you can build security into every environment and make automated security updates an integral part of all lifecycle management.

Bring the best of the cloud across your infrastructure

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to a cloud operating model. It needs to be designed and tailored to align with each organization. With the right strategy, platforms, and services, you can take a big step toward simplifying IT to deliver unified experiences and improved business agility.

Discover how.

Digital Transformation

In today’s era of economic uncertainty, enterprises must embrace digital transformation to stay relevant. By 2026, global spending on digital transformation is expected to reach US$3.4 trillion, and this trend is accelerating. For most enterprises, digital transformation encompasses the infrastructure needed to facilitate computing, storage, and networking, while digital technologies such as the cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced networks are critical enablers for future digital development.

To further the discussion on these technologies, Huawei hosted its 5th Industry Digital Transformation Summit at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023 in Barcelona. The Summit acted as a platform that engendered meaningful conversations among global enterprise customers and digital industry leaders, and facilitated discussions on innovation and development in the realms of digital infrastructure and digital technologies.

Developing Tailored Digital Solutions for Industry Applications

As digital technology matured, so have the demands for tailored, scenario-specific digital solutions in various sectors. Solutioning requirements across industries, or even within industry verticals, often appear similar at first. However, to fully realise the benefits of digital innovation, organisations need to match specific scenarios to specific solutions.

At MWC 2023, Huawei showcased how it works closely with diverse global and local partners to provide a range of scenario-specific solutions for public services, healthcare, education, and electric power suppliers.

Despite having already launched more than 100 scenario-based solutions, David Wang, Executive Director of the Board, Chairman of the ICT Infrastructure Managing Board, and President of Enterprise BG, Huawei, emphasised the company’s continued commitment to deepen its roots in the enterprise market and go further in its pursuit of innovation.

“We are ready to use leading technologies and dive deep into scenarios. Together with our partners, we will enable industry digitalisation, help SMEs access intelligence, and promote sustainable development to create new value together.” added Wang.

David Wang delivered an opening speech for the Industry Digital Transformation Summit


Huawei’s scenario-based approach is already transforming diverse industries, including education and finance. Some notable examples include:

Huawei Smart Classrooms

In traditional school systems, teaching resources tend to be unevenly distributed due to infrastructure and economic differences. Over the last five years, China invested over 1.7 trillion yuan to solve this imbalance, developing smart classrooms in 90% of the country’s schools.

Students from all regions, rural and urban, now have the same access to immersive learning and high-quality teaching resources via a national smart education platform. At MWC 2023, Huawei announced the launch of the Smart Classroom 2.0 solution, leveraging Wi-Fi 7 and intelligent edge devices to enable smart teaching practices through cloud-edge synergy.  The smart classroom solution has opened a world of equal educational opportunities to students of all backgrounds.

Intelligent Finance

Mobile payment is fast becoming a global norm: two billion people were using mobile payments worldwide, with a total transaction volume exceeding US$17 trillion, with an annual growth rate of 27% in 2021. But not everyone has access to a mobile phone or formal banking facilities. In Ghana, two thirds of the population lack a bank card, and 60% of people use feature phones rather than smartphones.

Recognising these challenges, Ghana Commercial Bank launched the mobile money platform G-Money which allows Ghanaians to use their mobile phones for deposits and money transfers; this attracted over 700,000 mobile money users. At the heart of Mobile Money is Huawei’s mobile wallet solution, designed to enable basic financial services on feature phones and smartphones, just one example of Huawei’s work with global partners to build payment and micro-finance solutions. Today, Huawei’s Intelligent Finance Solution is a trusted service provider for 400 million users worldwide, from street vendors in China to migrant workers in Ghana.

Collaborating with Global Partners and Helping SMEs Access Artificial Intelligence

To build effective solutions that enable digitalisation, Huawei leverages its global partnership ecosystem of more than 35,000 partners. Huawei works closely with these partners to constantly build stronger capabilities within the ecosystem, while cultivating a deep pool of ICT talent. To date, Huawei has certified over 750,000 ICT professionals and has collaborated with over 2,400 talent alliances.

Huawei is also focused on enabling SMEs, by making it easier for small enterprises to get access to a range of digital infrastructure, technologies, expertise, and Artificial Intelligence.

Holding True to Social Values

As societies worldwide grapple with the effects of climate change and the challenges of ensuring environmental sustainability, technology is playing a critical and growing role in mitigating human impact on the environment.

Digital technology has immense potential to promote sustainable development while creating greater social value through innovation and collaboration. Whether it’s ensuring biodiversity through digital solutions or achieving energy efficiency through better-designed ICT infrastructure and networks, Huawei is constantly pushing boundaries, developing solutions that help industries address the growing challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Driving Technology Forward for the Future

Research and development (R&D) are the key to innovative new products, services, and business models, but to deliver genuine value, R&D must be deeply embedded in the organisation’s mission and culture. Huawei’s commitment to innovation and driving digital technology is evident in its consistent commitment to R&D: 54.8% of Huawei’s workforce is engaged in R&D, working on US$132.5 billion worth of R&D investments in the last decade. Today, Huawei possesses one of the largest patent portfolios in the world, with active patents across over 45,000 patent families.

At MWC 2023, Huawei launched its latest innovations:

A new series of smart campus network solutions, built on Wi-Fi 7 and 50G PON technologies.

The first data centre ransomware protection solution, powered by network-storage collaboration.

Huawei Cloud’s KooVerse unified cloud infrastructure and new cloud services, such as LandingZone and GaussDB, to help enterprises of all sizes embrace and leverage the cloud.

“Digital technology is the right place for us to help industries go digital. Huawei will focus on connectivity, computing, cloud, and other digital technologies. We will continue inspiring innovation to drive industry digital transformation.” said Bob Chen, Vice President of Enterprise BG, Huawei, at the summit.

In his keynote speech, Bob Chen outlined how digital technologies have impacted the development of the world’s economy, cultures, societies, and environment.


Huawei today is a trusted partner to over 700 cities as well as 267 Fortune 500 companies around the world. Looking to the future, Huawei will continue to build on its strengths in the digital enterprise segment, grow with customers and partners, and lead innovation in digital infrastructure.

Learn more about Huawei’s latest innovations and how the company creates new value together with global partners here.

Digital Transformation

John McCaffrey, CIO at H2M architects + engineers, joins host Maryfran Johnson for this CIO Leadership Live interview, jointly produced by and the CIO Executive Council. They discuss infrastructure lifecycles, 3D scanning and design, and more.

Watch this episode:

Listen to this episode:

Careers, CIO, CIO Leadership Live

By Anand Oswal, Senior Vice President and GM at cyber security leader Palo Alto Networks

Critical infrastructure forms the fabric of our society, providing power for our homes and businesses, fuel for our vehicles, and medical services that preserve human health.

With the acceleration of digital transformation spurred by the pandemic, larger and larger volumes of critical infrastructure and services have become increasingly connected. Operational technology (OT) serves a critical role as sensors in power plants, water treatment facilities, and a broad range of industrial environments.

Digital transformation has also led to a growing convergence between OT and information technology (IT). All of this connection brings accessibility benefits, but it also introduces a host of potential security risks.

Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure threaten many aspects of our lives

It’s a hard fact that there isn’t an aspect of life today free from cyberthreat. Ransomware and phishing attacks continue to proliferate, and in recent years, we’ve also seen an increasing number of attacks against critical infrastructure targets. Even in environments where OT and IT have been traditionally segmented or even air-gapped, these environments have largely converged, presenting attackers with the ability to find an initial foothold and then escalate their activities to more serious pursuits, such as disrupting operations.

Examples are all around us. Among the most far-reaching attacks against critical infrastructure in recent years was the Colonial Pipeline incident, which triggered resource supply fears across the US as the pipeline was temporarily shut down. Automobile manufacturer Toyota was forced to shut down briefly after a critical supplier was hit by a cyberattack. Meat processing vendor JBS USA Holding experienced a ransomware cyberattack that impacted the food supply chain. The Oldsmar water treatment plant in Florida was the victim of a cyberattack that could have potentially poisoned the water supply. Hospitals have suffered cyberattacks and ransomware that threaten patients’ lives, with the FBI warning that North Korea is actively targeting the US healthcare sector. The list goes on and on.

Global instability complicates this situation further as attacks against critical infrastructure around the world spiked following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the deployment of Industroyer2 malware that is specifically designed to target and cripple critical industrial infrastructure.

Today’s challenges place an increasing focus on operational resiliency

With all of these significant challenges to critical infrastructure environments, it’s not surprising that there is a growing focus on operational resiliency within the sector. Simply put, failure is not an option. You can’t have your water or your power go down or have food supplies disrupted because an outage of critical infrastructure has a direct impact on human health and safety. So, the stakes are very high, and there is almost zero tolerance for something going the wrong way.

Being operationally resilient in an era of increasing threats and changing work habits is an ongoing challenge for many organizations. This is doubly true for the organizations, agencies, and companies that comprise our critical infrastructure.

Digital transformation is fundamentally changing the way this sector must approach cybersecurity. With the emerging hybrid workforce and accelerating cloud migration, applications and users are now everywhere, with users expecting access from any location on any device. The implied trust of years past, where being physically present in an office provided some measure of user authenticity simply no longer exists. This level of complexity requires a higher level of security, applied consistently across all environments and interactions.

Overcoming cybersecurity challenges in critical infrastructure

To get to a state of resiliency, there are a number of common challenges in critical infrastructure environments that need to be overcome because they negatively impact security outcomes. These include:

Legacy systems: Critical infrastructure often uses legacy systems far beyond their reasonable lifespan from a security standpoint. This means many systems are running older, unsupported operating systems, which often cannot be easily patched or upgraded due to operational, compliance, or warranty concerns.

IT/OT convergence: As IT and OT systems converge, OT systems that were previously isolated are now accessible, making them more available and, inherently, more at risk of being attacked.

A lack of skilled resources: In general, there is a lack of dedicated security personnel and security skills in this sector. There has also been a shift in recent years toward remote operations, which has put further pressure on resources.

Regulatory compliance. There are rules and regulations across many critical infrastructure verticals that create complexity concerning what is or isn’t allowed.

Getting insights from data: With a growing number of devices, it’s often a challenge for organizations to get insights and analytics from usage data that can help to steer business and operational outcomes.

The importance of Zero Trust in critical infrastructure

A Zero Trust approach can help to remediate a number of the security challenges that face critical infrastructure environments and also provide the level of cyber resilience that critical infrastructure needs now.

How come? The concept of Zero Trust, at its most basic level, is all about eliminating implied trust. Every user needs to be authenticated, every access request needs to be validated, and all activities continuously monitored. With Zero Trust authentication, access is a continuous process that helps to limit risk.

Zero Trust isn’t just about locking things down; it’s also about providing consistent security and a common experience for users, wherever they are. So, whether a user is at home or in the office, they get treated the same from a security and risk perspective. Just because a user walked into an office doesn’t mean they should automatically be granted access privileges.

Zero Trust isn’t only about users: the same principles apply to cloud workloads and infrastructure components like OT devices or network nodes. There is still a need to authenticate devices and access to authorize what the device is trying to do and provide control, and that’s what the Zero Trust Model can provide.

All of these aspects of Zero Trust enable the heightened security posture that critical infrastructure demands.

Zero Trust is a strategic initiative that helps prevent successful data breaches by eliminating the concept of implicit trust from an organization’s network architecture. The most important objectives in CI cybersecurity are about preventing damaging cyber physical effects to assets, loss of critical services, and preserving human health and safety. Critical infrastructure’s purpose-built nature and correspondingly predictable network traffic and challenges with patching make it an ideal environment for Zero Trust.

Applying a Zero Trust approach that fits critical infrastructure

It’s important to realize that Zero Trust is not a single product; it’s a journey that organizations will need to take.

Going from a traditional network architecture to Zero Trust, especially in critical infrastructure, is not going to be a “one-and-done” effort that can be achieved with the flip of a switch. Rather, the approach we recommend is a phased model that can be broken down into several key steps:

1. Identifying the crown jewels. A foundational step is to first identify what critical infrastructure IT and OT assets are in place.

2. Visibility and risk assessment of all assets. You can’t secure what you can’t see. Broad visibility that includes behavioral and transaction flow understanding is an important step in order to not only evaluate risk but also to inform the creation of Zero Trust policies.

3. OT-IT network segmentation. It is imperative to separate IT from OT networks to limit risk and minimize the attack surface.

4. Application of Zero Trust policies. This includes:

Least-privileged access and continuous trust verification, which is a key security control that greatly limits the impact of a security incidentContinuous security inspection that ensures the transactions are safe by stopping threats — both known and unknown, including zero-day threats — without affecting user productivity

By definition, critical infrastructure is vital. It needs to be operationally resilient, be able to reduce the potential attack surface, and minimize the new or expanding risks created by digital transformation. When applied correctly, a Zero Trust approach to security within critical infrastructure can play a central role in all of this — ensuring resilience and the availability of services that society depends on every day.

Learn more about our Zero Trust approach.

About Anand Oswal:

Anand serves as Senior Vice President and GM at cyber security leader Palo Alto Networks. Prior to this Anand, was Senior Vice President of Engineering for Cisco’s Intent-Based Networking Group. At Cisco he was responsible for building the complete set of platforms and solutions for the Cisco enterprise networking portfolio. The portfolio spans enterprise products across routing, access switching, IoT connectivity, wireless, and network and cloud services deployed for customers worldwide.

Anand is a dynamic leader, building strong, diverse, and motivated teams that continually excel through a relentless focus on execution. He holds more than 50 U.S. patents and is focused on innovation and inspiring his team to build awesome products and solutions.

Data and Information Security, IT Leadership

With 190 participating countries and 24 million visitors, Expo 2020 Dubai was one of the world’s largest events, connecting everyone to innovative and inspiring ideas for a brighter future. But what does it take to support an event on such a grand scale? The answer is a robust cloud and modern IT infrastructure, which would allow 1,200 employees to collaborate with one another, amidst nationwide lockdowns and supply chain disruptions.

As part of the World Expos, Expo 2020 Dubai sought to create one of the smartest and most connected places to give its participants a lasting impression beyond the event. More than just departing with the knowledge and connections gained from the Expo, the organization also wanted to impart the rich cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This means delivering a deeply personalized and hyper-relevant experience, from a smooth ticketing journey to chatbots that offered real-time assistance in multiple languages.

To bring this ambition to life, a robust foundation of technology was necessary, one that could support the seamless integration of systems and apps, and a myriad of digital services, and meet numerous, diverse IT requirements. It was with these in mind that Expo 2020 Dubai decided on a multi-cloud infrastructure that was hyper-flexible, scalable, secure, and reliable enough to support the event’s operations while serving as a platform to manage the build process for the event.

Behind The Winning Cloud Partnership

Expo 2020 Dubai was built from the ground up: a 4.38km² wide site comprising sprawling parks, a shopping mall, and the Expo Village. In the same vein, its cloud journey also underpinned the various stages of its development, including civil infrastructure, building construction, crowd management, smart city operations, and marketing. Key to this multi-cloud infrastructure was flexibility, scalability, and security, upon which its integrated, intelligent systems were built on. This enabled the Expo teams, vendors, suppliers, and volunteers across nations to work seamlessly together.

It is through the collaborative effort of e& and Accenture that the Etisalat OneCloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) were successfully integrated to make Expo 2020 Dubai one of the first and largest true multi-cloud infrastructures in the region. Etisalat OneCloud provided the resilient, reliable, and secure environment the event needed for its localized business-critical apps, whereas AWS delivered the structure necessary to support global digital services and apps, such as websites, participant portals and eCommerce platforms.

But what brought both solutions together was Accenture Service Delivery Platform, which offered the interconnectivity for enabling several layers of integration at the app and security level.

As the technological groundwork of Expo 2020 Dubai consisted of over 90 applications, Accenture Service Delivery Platform delivered the integration the multi-cloud infrastructure required without any external systems while meeting the stringent app requirements around scalability, security, and hyper-reliability. This was done across six months of development and throughout the entire customer lifecycle spanning awareness, discovery, purchase, and post-sales.

Delivering An Unprecedented Experience

Through this sprawling multi-cloud infrastructure, Expo 2020 Dubai could host all the Pavilion designs, themes, and content from over 190 participating countries while integrating authorizations, supply chain management, and workforce licensing functions. At the same time, the event realized seamless and highly personalized experiences for its visitors with a suite of visitor-facing digital channels. This was inclusive of the Expo 2020 official mobile app, virtual assistant, and an official website.

Expo 2020 Dubai also incorporated a central information hub and a best-in-class ticketing journey alongside digital services tailored to a visitor’s personal preferences in real-time and in their preferred language. Then there was AMAL, a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence, instrumental in gathering critical information on the Expo shows and attractions while giving live feedback as the event took place.

It is clear that behind this global gathering of nations designed around enhancing our collective knowledge, aspirations, and progress, a large-scale digital transformation took place: one which enabled the multi-cloud environment for Expo 2020 Dubai and was instrumental to the success of this life-changing event.

The Expo’s key themes of opportunity, mobility, and sustainability were succinctly captured in its infrastructure, demonstrating the potential of cloud in unlocking intelligent operations and business agility. As evident in the successes of Expo 2020 Dubai and other businesses, such as leading transport fuels provider Ampol, cloud has become an indispensable cornerstone to succeed in today’s digital-first economy. And it’s this very cloud continuum that will continue to bring businesses one step closer to innovation, aiding them in delivering truly transformative services and experiences.

Read the full story here:

Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure Management, Multi Cloud

Kyndryl claims to be the world’s largest IT infrastructure provider. A division of IBM until November 2021, it is now a separate company. Initially, little changed for customers — except perhaps the logo on their invoice — but with time, Kyndryl is taking advantage of its freedom from IBM to introduce new services and work with new partners.

What does Kyndryl do?

Essentially, Kyndryl does exactly what the managed infrastructure services unit of IBM’s Global Technology Services segment did: outsource the management of enterprises’ IT infrastructure, whether it came from IBM or another vendor.

Under IBM’s stewardship, the activities since moved to Kyndryl were in slow decline, from $21.8 billion in annual revenue in 2018 down 7% to $20.28 billion in 2019, and down 4.6% to $19.35 billion in 2020, according to IBM filings with the SEC. That hasn’t changed since the split: Kyndryl’s first full-year filing as an independent company, barely two months after the separation, showed 2021 revenue down a further 4%, to $18.66 billion. The decline continued into 2022, with first quarter revenue down 7% year on year, and the second quarter down 10%.

However, Kyndryl is beginning to develop new services, and is forming partnerships in a bid to grow its revenue. It estimates that the $415 billion market opportunity it addresses is growing at 7% a year, with some areas it is targeting (including security, intelligent automation and public cloud managed services) growing even faster.

Kyndryl has organized itself into six global managed services practices, each of which manages a different aspect of technology. These are:

Applications, data and AI
Core enterprise and zCloud, IBM’s mainframe-as-a-service offering
Digital workplace
Network and edge
Security and resiliency

There is also a customer advisory practice that combines managed services, advisory services, and implantation.

In September 2022, Kyndryl also launched two new branded services, Bridge and Vital. The company calls Kyndryl Bridge an open integration platform, an operational monitoring system, somewhat like HPE GreenLake or IBM vCenter, that Kyndryl staff will connect to an enterprise’s existing IT infrastructure to help CIOs keep ahead of problems. Kyndryl Vital is essentially a design workshop, during which Kyndryl consultants work alongside an enterprise’s employees to prototype applications.

Who are Kyndryl’s partners?

At the moment of their split, Kyndryl and IBM were one another’s biggest suppliers, and that will remain true for the time being. But Kyndryl is free to independently explore, with no preference for IBM’s software and services.

Kyndryl named Microsoft its first cloud infrastructure partner in November 2021, announcing a similar partnership with Google the following month. But it took it until February 2022 to form a pact with Amazon Web Services.

IBM had partnerships with numerous software providers, and Kyndryl inherited or expanded some of those, including with Elastic, Lenovo, SAP, ServiceNow, and VMware.

Kyndryl has also formed new partnerships, including with Cisco Systems, Citrix, Cloudera, Dynatrace, EY, Field Safe Solutions, NetApp, Nokia, Oracle, Pure Storage, IBM subsidiary Red Hat, and Veritas Technologies. These partnerships expand Kyndryl’s repertoire when it comes to integrating products and services into Bridge, or incorporating them into co-creations with Vital.

How big is Kyndryl?

Kyndryl started with 4,600 customers (including 75 of the Fortune 100), over a quarter of IBM’s 350,000 staff, activities generating around $19 billion in annual revenue and an order backlog (or long-term maintenance contracts from all those customers) of around $62 billion. Where that puts Kyndryl in the rankings depends on what you’re measuring. Kyndryl says it’s the world’s largest IT infrastructure provider, although IT channel publication CRN says it’s only the fifth-largest solutions provider, a much broader category, behind Accenture, what’s left of IBM, DXC Technology, and Tata Consulting Services.

Is Kyndryl hiring?

Like crazy! Kyndryl hired over a dozen top executives in 2021, and by the end of the year had 88,683 employees. Although its hiring in the US has slowed, it had 1,141 lower-level job openings posted at press time, over half of them in the EU, with other significant concentrations in India and Japan. Half the openings are for technical specialists, with more than 100 openings in systems architecture and an emphasis on automation.

Who works at Kyndryl?

Most staff at Kyndryl simply changed email addresses, carrying on doing the same work for clients as they did at IBM before the split. Indeed, Kyndryl went out of its way to reassure customers that their key points of contact and support, and the other team members they work with, would not change, and that the company continues to work with experts in other divisions of IBM as it did before.

But the company brought in new blood for many of the most senior roles, either hiring in from other companies, or poaching from other divisions of IBM. CEO Martin Schroeter is ex-IBM, in fact. He left the company in June 2020, before the spin-off was announced, and came back to lead Kyndryl, then known as NewCo, in January 2021. He was previously SVP of global markets at IBM, and before that its CFO.

The next senior appointments, in March 2021, were chief marketing officer Maria Bartolome Winans, who came to the spin-off directly from her role as CMO for IBM Americas, and group president Elly Keinan, another former IBMer who took time out to work in venture capital after 33 years at the company.

Global head of corporate affairs Una Pulizzi was also a new hire in April 2021, previously in a similar role at GE, while general counsel Edward Sebold was chief legal officer for IBM’s Watson Health division.

Poaching of more senior IBMers continued in early May 2021. Chief transformation officer Nelly Akoth was previously with IBM Global Business Services; Leigh Price moved from one leadership role in strategy and corporate development to another; and Vineet Khurana became controller at Kyndryl after five years in three different CFO roles at IBM. Kyndryl’s global alliances and partnerships leader Stephen Leonard held a number of positions at IBM, most recently as general manager of the Power Systems division.

It wasn’t until the second half of May 2021 that Kyndryl began to name its top technical staff: CIO Michael Bradshaw is new to IBM, having previously served as CIO at NBC/Universal and as CIO for Mission Systems and Training at Lockheed Martin. CTO Antoine Shagoury is a former CIO of US bank State Street and of stock exchanges in London and the US. Most recently, he worked at strategic advisory partnership Ridge-Lane.

Other senior Kyndryl hires from outside IBM include Vic Bhagat, a former CIO for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, EMC, and several units of GE as the head of its customer advisory practice, and COO Harsh Chugh, most recently CFO at SaaS provider PlanSource.

Who is on Kyndryl’s board?

To provide the new company with more stability, Kyndryl’s board of directors will serve overlapping three-year terms through 2027, so it’ll take at least two elections for an outside group to take control of the board.

Kyndryl’s first 10 directors are:

CEO Martyn Schroeter, board chairman
Stephen Hester, lead independent director. He was CEO of RSA Insurance Group until June 2021, and is chairman of easyJet
Dominic Caruso, retired Johnson & Johnson CFO
John Harris, former VP of business development for Raytheon and board member at Cisco Systems
Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Janina Kugel, former CHRO and member of the managing board of German industrial conglomerate Siemens
Denis Machuel, CEO of temporary staffing firm Adecco
Rahul Merchant, former head of technology at retirement fund TIAA, Fannie Mae, and Merrill Lynch, and current board member at Convergint Technologies, Global Cloud Exchange, Juniper Networks, and Emulex
Jana Schreuder, retired COO of Northern Trust and current board member at Entrust Datacard and Blucora
Howard Ungerleider, president and CFO of commodity chemicals company Dow

What does Kyndryl’s split mean for IBM?

IBM is still one of the biggest technology businesses in the world. Its separation from Kyndryl freed it from a legacy business that wasn’t growing, and enabled it to reorganize into three main operating segments now called Software, Consulting (formerly Global Business Services), and Infrastructure. It’s doing well post-split: For the full year 2021 revenue from Software rose 5.3% to $24.1 billion, and Consulting made $17.8 billion, up 9.8%, although revenue from Infrastructure, the segment Kyndryl was spun out of, fell 2.4% to $14.2 billion. Those trends, both positive and negative, continued through the first half of 2022.

Customer needs for application services and infrastructure services are diverging, and so spinning off Kyndryl will allow IBM to focus on growing its open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said in October 2020. The split turns IBM from a services-led company to one making more than half its revenue from software and solutions.

But until that growth takes hold, Kyndryl and IBM remain close, as they began their separate lives as one another’s largest customers.


IBM, IBM Global Services, Managed IT Services, Managed Service Providers, Outsourcing, Technology Industry

IT leaders in EMEA are increasingly leading digital transformation efforts, with 84% of CIOs saying they’re responsible for these efforts, according to the Foundry 2022 State of the CIO study.

But significant challenges remain. Their most pressing issue: the need for technology integration/implementation skills to support digital business initiatives, according to the survey. Many organizations are also struggling to modernize their IT architecture to accommodate digitization. The talent gap affects these efforts, as do a lack of strategy and little sense of urgency.

Yet, there is risk in sidelining these issues and not moving quickly. Competitors may overcome challenges and gain an advantage, for example. Fast-acting companies may be winning the race to envision and realize their digital transformation objectives. That’s why CEOs are urging their IT leaders to upgrade IT and push digital initiatives forward.

How to avoid stagnation

It’s time for enterprises to take a fresh look at their transformation projects and set a new tone to accelerate their digital initiatives. That should start with examining their IT architecture and asking whether/how it enables the business to:

Use cloud services to achieve improved business outcomes such as efficiency, cost optimization, and speed to market;

Pivot to new ways of working, as needed. Evolving market forces combined with the hybrid workplace require business agility;

Modernize by adopting new technologies. Automation, artificial intelligence, and 5G require an open, flexible IT infrastructure.

In other words, does your IT infrastructure allow for easy integration of data sources to speed business decision-making? Does it allow for easy application migration to the cloud? Do your IT teams have automated processes and platforms to ease application modernization and development?

For example, the City of Madrid was facing an urgent need to deliver digital services to its citizens. However, it was challenged by the limits of its IT architecture, complex data regulation requirements, and the ever-increasing need to improve cybersecurity efforts.

Working with Kyndryl, the City deployed a hybrid cloud IT architecture, including a new data center with backup and disaster recovery capabilities. The results:

Accelerated digital services, with enhanced security measures, for citizensFaster processing of large data volumesEnhanced data protectionAn optimized IT infrastructure with room to scale and grow as needed

The next step

Organizations facing skillset and strategy challenges can benefit from working with an expert managed services and implementation partner. Kyndryl consults with its customers to understand existing resources and business needs, then helps define and chart the digital transformation journey.

For example, Kyndryl’s advisory and implementation services have helped customers unlock business value with a pragmatic, building-block approach. Its integrated portfolio of solutions and services address use cases ranging from cloud to the digital workplace and from security to the network and edge. And Kyndryl’s infrastructure practice has deep expertise in designing, building, and implementing all types of IT environments to accelerate digital outcomes.

Accelerate your digital transformation by starting here.

Cloud Management

A growing number of organizations are looking to the cloud and cloud services to help evolve and accelerate their digital transformation plans. But why is this? What benefits do cloud services offer over self-hosted and self-managed infrastructure?

1. Faster time to market

As digital transformation is rapidly altering the competitive landscape across organizations and industries, customers expect more, better, and faster applications and services. Organizations have to be agile and respond to new requirements and opportunities as quickly as possible. Time to market is increasingly of the essence.

Cloud services can help boost developer velocity and allow you to deliver new innovative applications and services faster. Through instantly available self-serve setup options, developers are able to dive into new projects immediately, as well as build, debug and deploy the resulting applications more quickly and more frequently.

2. Reduces operational complexity

Working with a trusted cloud service provider can help reduce operational complexity by avoiding the need to build, manage and maintain your own IT infrastructure. Additionally, instead of dedicating in-house resources to installing, configuring, updating, maintaining, and managing that infrastructure, your IT teams are able to focus on more innovative and higher-value projects.

3. Fills skills gaps

With an increasing number of digital transformation leaders moving to a cloud strategy, engineering and IT teams often find themselves facing a skills gap that can be costly and time consuming to fill, and can draw resources away from more strategic projects.

Cloud services quickly fill skills gaps for teams that don’t have the time, knowledge, or experience to manage those functions on their own. And even if those skills aren’t lacking, internal teams may be better off focusing on innovation and speed instead of spending time on the rote, day-to-day tasks of building and maintaining their own platform or infrastructure.

4. Ability to focus on core competencies

Managed cloud services allow your teams to take advantage of fully hosted, integrated tools to adopt modern development methods that streamline the process of creating, testing, deploying, and iterating on new application projects.

This not only increases developer velocity and effectiveness, it has also been shown to improve employee satisfaction, helping organizations retain skilled developer and IT talent.

5. On-demand scalability

Your organization’s technology needs are constantly evolving as new applications and services are created, user demand increases, and new tools, technologies and processes emerge.

Managed cloud services are able to scale up as needed, increasing available compute resources, storage and bandwidth to meet consumer demand, day or night. Similarly, those resources can be scaled back when they aren’t needed to reduce costs.

Additionally, with cloud services, your organization doesn’t have to build or maintain its own development infrastructure, technologies and tools at all, eliminating the need for (and delays caused by) complicated and inefficient infrastructure upgrades when increased capacity is required.

6. Improved reliability and performance

Since cloud service providers are responsible for service availability and service level agreements (SLAs), you can worry less about potential outages or other disruptions. Regardless of how or when issues may occur, the service provider has experts on duty to deal with any problems that arise.

Working with a managed service provider also provides the opportunity to simplify disaster recovery efforts. Since most providers have multiple regions, it’s possible to architect systems and applications to have a disaster recovery plan that fails over to a different region, or even another cloud provider. Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and security teams are able to respond quickly, and have reliable and tested data backups and recovery plans in place.

7. Reduced security risks

The cost of cybersecurity incidents is not just measured in downtime and dollars, but also in terms of their impact on an organization’s reputation. With security threats seemingly on a continuous upswing, making sure your network, data, and applications are as secure as possible is both important and difficult.

Many cloud service providers employ security professionals. These experts help to take care of some of the security infrastructure for customers, providing features such as strong identity management, fine-grained access control, proper data encryption, advanced threat monitoring and detection, clearly defined security response plans, and more.

8. A developer-first experience

Cloud services can help provide a developer-first experience. Developers are able to choose the languages and tools they work with, while being freed from the day-to-day drudgery of managing their own infrastructure and application development platform.

Developers can also make use of the cloud services on a self-serve basis, so they can kick off the process of developing, building, testing, and deploying new applications and experiments without IT or other teams’ involvement.

9. Cost reductions

Cloud services reduce the need to build and maintain your own in-house IT infrastructure. And with the ability to scale up and down on demand, cloud services optimize your costs so you pay for only what you use, when you use it. Your cloud service provider’s SLA also shields you from unexpected costs and expensive service outages.

Staff and training are also significant expenses, of course, particularly when you’re talking about highly specialized roles such as SREs, senior IT staff, and experienced security professionals.

With the increasing demand for top tech talent, staffing a full-time, in-house IT department is growing more expensive by the day. Cloud services reduce the need for you to hire these roles yourself, letting you use your staffing and training budgets more strategically.

Red Hat Cloud Services

Red Hat Cloud Services include hosted and managed platform, application, and data services that accelerate time to value and reduce the operational cost and complexity of delivering cloud-native applications. Organizations can confidently build and scale applications with a streamlined experience across services and across clouds while Red Hat manages the rest.

Red Hat’s cloud services comprise a platform for developing, deploying, and scaling cloud-native applications in open hybrid-cloud environments. The combination of enterprise-grade Kubernetes, cloud-native approach to application delivery, and managed operations allows enterprise development teams to increase application velocity and focus on core competencies.

To learn more about Red Hat Cloud Services, visit us here.

Cloud Computing

One type of infrastructure that has gained popularity is hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Interest in HCI and other hybrid technologies such as Azure Arc is growing as enterprise organizations embrace hybrid and multi-cloud environments as part of their digital transformation initiatives. Survey data from IDC shows broad HCI adoption among enterprises of all sizes, with more than 80% of the organizations surveyed planning to move toward HCI for their core infrastructure going forward.

“Hyperconverged infrastructure has matured considerably in the past decade, giving enterprises a chance to simplify the way they deploy, manage, and maintain IT infrastructure,” Carol Sliwa, Research Director with IDC’s Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies Group, said on a recent webinar sponsored by Microsoft and Intel.

“Enterprises need to simplify deployment and management to stay agile to gain greater business benefit from the data they’re collecting,” Sliwa said. “They also need infrastructure that can deploy flexibly and unify management across hybrid cloud environments. Software-defined HCI is well suited to meet their hybrid cloud needs.”

IDC research shows that most enterprises currently use HCI in core data centers and co-location sites, often for mission-critical workloads. Sliwa also expects usage to grow in edge locations as enterprises modernize their IT infrastructure to simplify deployment, management, and maintenance of new IoT, analytics, and business applications.

Sliwa was joined on the webinar by speakers from Microsoft and Intel, who discussed the benefits of HCI for managing and optimizing both hybrid/multi-cloud and edge computing environments.

Jeff Woolsey, Principal Program Manager for Azure Edge & Platform at Microsoft, explained how Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI and Azure Arc enable consistent cloud management across cloud and on-premises environments.

“Azure Stack HCI provides central monitoring and comprehensive configuration management, built into the box, so that your cloud and on-premises HCI infrastructure are the same,” Woolsey said. “That ultimately means lower OPEX because instead of training and retraining on bespoke solutions, you’re using and managing the same solution across cloud and on-prem.”

Azure Arc provides a bridge for the Azure ecosystem of services and applications to run on a variety of hardware and IoT devices across Azure, multi-cloud, data centers, and edge environments, Woolsey said. The service provides a consistent and flexible development, operations, and security model for both new and existing applications, allowing customers “to innovate anywhere,” he added.

Christine McMonigal, Director of Hyperconverged Marketing at Intel, explained how the Intel-Microsoft partnership has resulted in consistent, secure, end-to-end infrastructure that delivers a number of price/performance benefits to customers.

“We see how customers are demanding a more scalable and flexible compute infrastructure to support their increasing and changing workload demands,” said McMonigal. “Our Intel Select Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI have optimized configurations for the edge and for the data center. These reduce your time to evaluate, select, and purchase, streamlining the time to deploy new infrastructure.”

Watch the full webinar here: 

For more information on how HCI use is growing for mission-critical workloads, read the IDC Spotlight paper.

Edge Computing, Hybrid Cloud