While IBM's primary cloud message over the past few years has been about multi-cloud, it has continued to offer its own public cloud and has targeted it at complex enterprise workloads that typically run on mainframes or other systems. Among the flurry of announcements coming out of IBM Think this week is the preview of IBM Cloud Satellite, that will shortly be available for beta. It's intended as an extension of the IBM Public Cloud that can run inside the customer's data center or out at the edge.
Like IBM's other hybrid cloud offerings, underneath the hood IBM Cloud Satellite runs on Red Hat OpenShift, the Kubernetes management environment. It works by adding the mechanism of a Location that signifies an instance of IBM Public Cloud outside IBM's data centers. Each satellite location has a set of hosts, running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that can operate on any commodity hardware or on an IBM Cloud Pak System that is a self-contained turnkey private cloud prepackaged hardware/software offering.
They are connected using Link, a dedicated connection to the IBM Cloud that provides the administrative control plane. It provides audit, packet capture, and visibility to the security team, while a configuration utility provides a global view of applications and services running on Satellite. A service mesh, using Istio, is used for connecting services running on different clusters across locations.
IBM Cloud Satellite differentiates from the Cloud Paks in that they are not preconfigured Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) self-contained offerings running services such as data, API integration, and applications that are designed for cloud-independence. Instead, IBM Cloud Satellite specifically extends the IBM Public Cloud with a generalized Infrastructure-as-a-Service environment, and while providing access to IBM Public Cloud Services such as Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud Databases, Continuous Delivery pipelines, AI, and others. It also joins a portfolio that includes OpenShift, both as a software framework available from Red Hat, and as a managed public cloud service run by Red Hat on AWS or Google Cloud.
Over the past 18 months, virtually every cloud and IT infrastructure provider has introduced hybrid cloud platforms, addressing the needs of organizations demanding the operational simplicity of the cloud control plane for scenarios where either internal policy or external regulatory mandate preclude use of a public cloud. IBM positions the Satellite offering, both as an extension of IBM Public Cloud for workloads that must run within the customer's walls, or for workloads that the customer eventually wants to transition to the public cloud. It is in preview now.