IBM Preaches Cognitive, Cloud, And IT Consumption
September 26, 2016 Dan Burger
They say it’s not just about the technology. It’s really about the business. But that brings to mind an old adage from the car industry: You sell the sizzle not the steak. Right now the sizzle is cognitive computing. It has edged out big data and analytics in the one-upsmanship match of IT leadership and the next big thing. At the Edge conference last week, when IBM executives talked strategy and road maps, cognitive computing was on the tip of tongues.
Cognitive is a differentiator, an upper hand for IBM. Big Blue has not let the world forget about Watson, its game show champion that’s evolved into a must-have business advantage in the making. Watson’s augmented intelligence, a term IBM prefers over artificial intelligence, has been applied to healthcare, finance, commerce, education, and security. According to IBM, it has thousands of scientists and engineers working on cognitive projects, which also extend to clients, academics, and external experts.
Of course, cognitive computing doesn’t hush any conversations about big data analytics. Cognitive is actually the crown jewel of big data analytics. Watson is Linux based, which fits nicely with IBM strategy and it’s deliverable in the cloud–another nice fit strategically speaking.
“Three years ago, cloud was thought of in terms of commoditization and standardization,” Tom Rosamilia, vice president of IBM Systems group, said during a press conference at Edge 2016. “The consumption model has seen a huge change. We see more need for differentiation. As more advanced usage happens on the cloud, it requires innovation. Cognitive ups the ante on innovation.”
IBM has a couple of cognitive computing white papers for those of you with a bigger appetite for the topic. Check out Learning to Trust Artificial Intelligence Systems and Computing, cognition and the future of knowing.
Linux continues to be the star on which the Power Systems hitches its wagon. Power Systems GM Doug Balog says it’s the market with the greatest opportunity.
“There are plenty of opportunities in the Linux market,” Balog noted in a press conference last week in Las Vegas. “Workloads like SAP HANA, which only runs on Linux; Blockchain (keep reading for more on this) is in the Linux server market; machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence depend on Linux; and Linux is the foundation for the cloud.”
The OpenPower alliance also targets the Linux market, which Balog pegs at $18 billion and growing at a 5 to 7 percent compound basis annually. He says Linux on Power is responsible for virtually all of the new business. AIX is a diminishing market and IBM i is more or less stable. “Our new business has all been around Linux on Power,” he says.
As the new kid on the block in the Linux market, Balog has his work cut out for him to make Power Systems a player. One thing he has going in his favor is the group of partners that make the OpenStack cloud controller. Each of those partners has a Linux customer base that will not be able to escape the Power Systems marketing message about a better price/performance package than Intel and that a switch to Power does not require organizations to change their operational models.
No matter who’s holding the microphone at Edge, it’s a safe bet, even in a place like Vegas, that no speaker will talk for five minutes without using the word innovation a minimum of three times. The amazing thing is they never stop to reload. There always seems to be another innovative bullet in the chamber.
One topic that was repeatedly shot with the innovation gun was Blockchain. I think it got what it deserved.
Blockchain, officially known as the Hyperledger Open Source Blockchain Project, is an example of open source speed, agility, and collaboration at its best. It began as a protocol used by BitCoin to record financial transactions and is now used to write applications that record information and transfers of assets for a variety of industries including insurance, healthcare, and manufacturing. IBM is using it in its supply chain, which at any given time has $100 million tied up in disputes.
With the inclusion of encryption, access policies, and digital signatures, it provides a secure database and validation protocol for all participants. The IBM supply chain Blockchain runs in the cloud with the highest level of security.
A year ago this didn’t exist. Now it’s real world and solving business problems such as resolving disputes in the supply chain, as just one example.
Open source projects are thriving at IBM. Cloud, mobile, and data technologies are swarming with open source projects. IBM is contributing to more than 400 open source projects each month. That’s about a 4X increase in contributions over the past five years, according to Chris Ferris, IBM CTO for Open Technology.
Cognitive computing, data analytics, and the cloud dominated the agenda at the Edge conference, but they’re not the whole show. The general session presentations and interviews with keynote speakers can be found on the IBMGO website.