A Change in Role

For 27 years I’ve had the privilege of working in the storage industry, most of those years focused on storage software. While leading the storage team at Texas Instruments, I developed a great working relationship with IBM. As an IBMer, I’ve had the opportunity to build lasting relationships with clients, business partners, industry analysts and other IBMers all over the world. These are innovative people whose daily excellence has made work really fun! Heck, what’s not to like? As I move to a new role, I’m leaving a team that IDC says is either #1 or #2 in every segment where they compete.

So where am I going?

Well, I’m still an IBMer – an association I’m quite proud of. Check out this video to better understand why.

I’m moving to a relatively new division focused on applying IBMs considerable expertise to the challenge of Software Defined Environments (SDE). Officially, my title is Program Director, Software Defined Environments.

What will I be doing?

The IT industry is going through a transformation. Whole generations of IT professionals, yours truly included, grew up when IT infrastructure was something that you could walk down the hall and touch – assuming you had the right security clearance to get through the door into the machine room. But with the rapid onset of SDE, infrastructure is changing. Servers aren’t servers; they are virtual machines that are elastic in horsepower and mobile (Software Defined Compute – SDC). Disks aren’t disks; they are thin provisioned, compressed virtual volumes that are replicated, snapshotted and mobile from tier-to-tier, vendor-to-vendor, and site-to-site. Tapes aren’t tapes; they are a deduplicated, replicated figment of the imagination that is stored on a disk (Software Defined Storage – SDS). And increasingly, networks aren’t wires with plugs; they are programmable, dynamic paths through chained sets of services that run in virtual machines (Software Defined Networks – SDN). It’s a big shift with even bigger promise.

My job is two-fold. I’m going to help clients with the transition – understanding the benefits and use cases of SDE, and how to start or in many cases continue the transition. I’m also going to help IBM. Like our customers, we are a company with a lot invested in hardware defined environments. Hardware isn’t magically disappearing, but this industry transition is shifting focus toward SDE and that needs to be managed carefully. The new division I have joined was created for just that reason.

Why am I moving now?

For almost 20 years I have had a piece of paper in my office with these words written on it.

Excellence

Throughout my career I’ve enjoyed working with people who reach for excellence. I’ve only just started to build relationships with my new team but already they seem like folks who fit the mold. The thing that has kept the work interesting and fresh though is innovation and right now SDE is overflowing in that respect. Perfect storm! I feel like a kid in a candy shop and I love it!

If you want to follow along with IBM as we lead clients through the transition to SDE, follow IBM Software Defined on Twitter @IBMSDE, or watch #IBMSDE.

About Ron Riffe

IBM Manager, Software Defined Portfolio. Adoring husband, proud daddy, imperfect but redeemed. I have a thirty year background in the storage industry having held positions as both a consumer and a peddler and in roles spanning from administrator, to thought leader, to strategic planner, to senior manager. I’m also a passionate leader, speaker and author. My perspectives are my own.
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