Sunday, 25 May 2014

Busy week for IBM

IBM has had a busy week, with announcements about cloud, tape storage, and even giving Watson a personality! So let’s have a look at what’s being said.

An IBM survey (produced by the Institute for Business Value) found that global organizations are unprepared for things like cloud computing, analytics, mobile devices, and social media. And guess what? IBM has some new systems, software, and capabilities to help those organizations create smarter infrastructures that will give them faster access to big data insights through the cloud and improved business performance.

IBM recently announced software enabling organizations to access any data from any device and from anywhere in the world, and has added to that with storage announcements. Its Storwize, XIV, tape library, and Flash storage products can optimize storage for large-scale cloud deployments through virtualization, real-time compression, easy-tiering, and mirroring, and provide fast access to information.

IBM’s Storwize V7000 Unified has been enhanced with new clustering capabilities, real-time compression, and Active Cloud Engine to help customers manage growing amounts of data. The system also supports 4 petabytes (twice the storage capacity of previous models).

IBM’s XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers provides a pay-per-use pricing model for business partners that reduces the initial cost of the system. New features demoed included XIV multi-tenancy, enhanced data security, and improved cloud economics through the partition of XIV storage into logical domains assigned to distinct tenants.

The TS4500 Tape Library enables large-scale cloud deployments with a data architecture that maintains high utilization and can back up three times more cloud data in the same footprint. And the IBM DS8870 Flash enclosure provides up to three and one-half times faster flash performance requiring 50 percent less space and 12 percent less energy.

IBM has launched IBM Cloudmanager with Openstack that can be downloaded from its Marketplace like any other application. It’s based on IBM Cloudentry, and includes full access to Icehouse, the latest version of Openstack. It can also be bought as part of a package with the IBM Power Systems server range to form the IBM Power Systems Solution Edition for Scale Out Cloud.

IBM also has IBM Flex System X6 compute nodes and IBM Flex System x880 X6 eight-socket, x480 X6 four-socket, and x280 X6 two-socket compute nodes. These nodes include modular blade design that enables seamless scalability without ‘rip and replace’ as analytic workloads increase.

The IBM System x3100 M5 is a new, compact, tower server equipped with the latest Intel Xeon E3-1200v3 processors for increased performance, and four levels of RAID for enhanced data protection.

The IBM PureFlex Solution for Parallels allows managed service providers to integrate Web, IaaS, SaaS, and core services for their clients on the Parallels Automation software platform.

IBM also announced cloud-based offerings (Software as a Service) for IBM Concert, IBM Project Catalyst, and OpenPages. IBM Concert provides a way to make budgeting, planning, and forecasting software more accessible to sales, marketing, and incentive-compensation decision makers. Project Catalyst provides advanced analytics capabilities to everyone. OpenPages provides governance, risk-management, and compliance application as a managed service on SoftLayer

Meanwhile, IBM and Fujifilm have demoed a 154TB LTO-size tape cartridge. The density developments rely on smaller magnetic particles, narrower tracks, meaning more tracks on a half-inch-wide tape, and better read:write heads to follow and read/write to/from these tracks.

And finally, in a busy week of announcements, IBM’s Watson group has acquired Cognea, an Australian-founded start-up that makes virtual assistants for enterprise customers. They say that the Watson Platform will fit into the “cognitive era of computing” where people have conversations with machines that are able to understand natural language. IBM has brought in Cognea to offer a range of personalities for Watson, “from suit-and-tie formal to kid-next-door friendly”. The acquisition furthers IBM’s plan to make Watson a development platform available to the enterprise, start-ups, and universities.

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