Learn Bluespeak with IBM: Internal buzzword-bingo memo schools staff on this newfangled thing called The Cloud

Acquiring Red Hat: $34bn. Not knowing what 'hybrid cloud' means: Priceless. For everything else, there's IBM

A teacher schooling some kid

Exclusive It's been an oft-heard refrain at tech conferences that IBM "doesn't know what it's bought" with regard to Red Hat. Usually meant positively, it seems it might be a bit closer to the truth than anyone thought; at least, for Big Blue's marketing department.

As IBM closes its $34bn slurpage of Red Hat, the IT giant has seen fit to issue instructions to its soon-to-be-purple-wearing employees on what all those complicated words spurted from its marketing orifice actually mean.

In a staff memo seen by The Register, IBM luminaries Arvind Krishna (senior veep of IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software), Mark Foster (senior veep of IBM Services and Global Business Services) and Michelle Peluso (senior veep of IBM Digital Sales and chief marketing officer) define "Cloud terms you should know".

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Here are some key points from the internal missive:

"I" is for "IBM Cloud" and "hybrid multicloud platform" because, gang, "we are the only company that supports multiple public clouds", right? So "when we talk about the 'IBM Cloud' we refer to the totality of our cloud capabilities." After all, what other cloud could employees mean? The one hanging over their prospects if they don't adopt the new Bluespeak?

"N" is for "next-generation", which is "what's new about our hybrid multicloud platform". Heaven knows what that actually is, but don't worry: "It will enable the next chapter of critical business innovation that our clients need". So if in doubt, and you think you might be talking about something Red Hat-related, just prefix everything with "next-generation."

Turn the jargon up to 11

"T" is for tortuous phrases, or "infrastructure-independent common operating environment". What it actually means is a "Linux and Red Hat OpenShift enterprise Kubernetes applications platform" but for God's sake don't say something dumb: "Terms like 'fabric' and 'stack' should not be used". While "Being 'open' is fundamental to our approach..." we wouldn't want customers putting "open" and "stack" together and getting all sorts of naughty ideas.

"H" is for "hybrid" – it "means more than just moving work across public clouds but includes private and on-premises environments as well." Really? But, but what about the "hybrid multicloud platform" we already learned about? This cloud stuff is hard.

"G" is for "IBM Garage" – a "signature client co-creation experience" rather than a damp, dark hole into where excited Red Hatters will be quietly ushered after purplification is complete.

If you're wearing a Red Hat, or a tie of IBM Blue, the instruction is to "use these terms consistently in our communications" to be "clearer and more unified in market".

And ominously, "over time, we will add more terms to a common style guide..."

Perhaps redundo-gun, axe, and price gouging, may we suggest?

One thing we can be sure of, Krishna, Foster and Peluso will be watching. Always watching... ®

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