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IBM Expands Big Data Portfolio With New Predictive Intelligence Software

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, at Information on Demand Forum (#IBMIOD), IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced a variety of new offerings that leverage cognitive computing and predictive analytics technologies to help companies more easily predict and respond to opportunities and challenges hidden in data. IBM is also helping clients to harness massive amounts of data with new high speed analytics software by expanding IBM's BLU Acceleration portfolio.


New software will enable clients to apply foundational elements of cognitive intelligence throughout their information technology (IT) infrastructure. This will enable employees to gain insights from Big Data instead of focusing on how to cope with its sheer volume. Such insights can help predict and prevent IT downtime, improve productivity and generate cost savings.

Today, organizations are increasingly faced with managing a complex IT system of servers, networks and applications. Combined with the proliferation of mobile and cloud computing environments, these systems can generate more than 1.3 terabytes of data per day, including log files, software error alerts, IT service tickets and network configuration updates. This can result in more than one million "events" or system alerts per day, some of which are critical to performance and others that are irrelevant, which can bog down systems administrators. 

These are IBM's latest Big Data technologies to help organizations transition to a new era in computing where systems can learn, reason, sense, predict and enhance decision making.  Cognitive systems, such as IBM's Watson, can "understand" the context within users' questions, uncover answers from Big Data, and improve performance by continuously learning from experiences.

"As the value of data continues to grow, the differentiator for clients will be around predicting what could happen to help transform their business with speed and conviction," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, software and systems at IBM. "IBM's latest set of solutions allow clients to help predict customer behavior and outcomes with speed and ease, all delivered from the cloud."

Cognitive Computing and Predictive Analytics Soar into the Cloud Organizations typically discard or archive IT operations data, preventing them from tapping a valuable business resource. Now with IBM SmartCloud Analytics - Predictive Insights, they can sift through terabytes of IT operations data in real time, spotting only the trends that are critical to IT network performance. The software's cognitive computing capabilities learn, reason and sense an organization's IT systems. As business and performance conditions change, the software adapts, updating settings and eliminating inadvertent but costly errors caused by poor system configuration. This new technology will run on the SoftLayer infrastructure, which will be the foundation of IBM's cloud portfolio. 

Working with IBM, Consolidated Communications, a leading telecommunications company, expects to save $300,000 annually in reactive costs alone by analyzing IT operations data. The company sets and monitors more than 80,000 performance standards, such as connectivity speed and television frequency levels for each of its 500,000 clients. The cognitive intelligence in the IBM software learns and predicts normal usage and performance standards, automatically setting and monitoring the metrics that are the most important for each client. The intelligent software also helps the company recognize minute yet critical abnormalities amid massive volumes of data, spotting potential network problems before they occur.

"By working with IBM to apply cognitive technologies to our IT operations data, we are able to learn what defines good service for each customer's connection and then determine instantly when critical deviations happen, no matter how small," said Chris Smith, director of network tools and automations, Consolidated Communications. "With the IBM software, we are able to tailor our services to individual clients, improve overall network efficiency and spot and stop issues before they happen." 

IBM is also applying machine learning and analytics to storage with a new version of SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center. Now, organizations can save time and money by automating complex storage tiering decisions and moving to cloud storage. By analyzing data usage patterns, this intelligent software identifies the type of storage best suited for an organization's data, and automatically makes the change without interruption to the user or applications. The software learns key usage patterns over time, adapting and shifting data as business needs change. IBM deployed this automated storage tiering capability at its own Boulder, Colorado data center and reduced per terabyte of storage costs by nearly 50 percent.

IBM SmartCloud Analytics--Predictive Insights is one of the 100-plus IBM software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings that infuse analytics into line of business and IT operations that will be supported by SoftLayer infrastructure in the near future. SoftLayer is fast becoming the foundation of IBM's cloud portfolio, adding more than 1,000 new clients since IBM acquired the company in July, 2013. 

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