Big Blue is very busy with its cloud data services and data analytics and today has penned an agreement with Twitter aimed at enterprises and developers.
The deal means IBM will deliver cloud data services with Twitter built in – meaning that companies can use analytics to mine meaningful data from the flood of tweets that hit cyber space every day.
IBM described Twitter as unlike any other data source in the world because it happens in real time, and is public and conversational.
IBM claims it can separate the signal from the noise by analysing tweets with millions of data points from other data that is public.
The deal means that developers can search explore and examine data using its Insights for Twitter service on Bluemix.
The company said it can also analyse Twitter data by configuration Biginsights on Cloud and combine the tweets with IBM’s Enterprise Hadoop-as-a-service.
It has already given 4,000 of its own staff access to Twitter data.
A report from IBM’s security division estimates that in 2014 “at lease” a billion records of people across the world were leaked.
That’s about one in seven of this planet’s humanoid population.
IBM released its X-Force quarterly report and relays information about over 9,000 security “vulnerabilities” affecting over 2,600 vendors in 2014. That’s an increase of 9.8 percent compared to 2013 and Big Blue said it’s the highest single year total in the 18 years it’s been tracking such things.
The USA has suffered the most because at 74.5 percent that’s far higher than other territories. IBM said that 40.2 percent of the most common attacks didn’t get described by those surveyed but malware and DDoS accounted for as much as 17.2 percent each.
IBM said that there was a big rise in so-called designer vulnerabilities.
All operating systems seemed to be under attack – including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
One key vulnerability happened in October with a researcher showing there are thousands of security problems in Android apps.
Suits in Biggish Blue’s Systems Middleware division are fighting over the right to flee the company and collect a nice redundancy.
Some 110 people want to be paid to leave the company which is way more than the ten per cent of the division’s 736-strong workforce that IBM wanted.
IBM has said that if too many people applied for redundancy then it would choose from the list of volunteers.
The voluntary redundancy process is “coming to an end” and some will be offered redundancy. But the sheer size of the numbers of people who want out will be bad for IBM. It shows staff no longer have much confidence in the company and would rather take the money and run.
IBM has also bought in spending and travel restrictions to manage costs and it is investigating property portfolio projects which are aimed at reducing overall occupancy costs across IBM UK.
IBM staffers asking for redundancy will leave on 5 April, and compulsory lay-offs are not expected – at least, by employees.
Big Blue has restructured internal divisions, placed a big bet on cloud systems. It is also cutting costs by reducing its worldwide headcount. This follows eleven straight quarters of revenue decline.
IBM said it would take a $600m restructuring charge to expunge several thousand people this year, although the number of leavers depends on their seniority and pay scale.
Big Blue said it is cooperating with Semtech to create a new technology using low power wide area networks (LPWANs) that it says has advantages over wi-fi and cellular nets for machine to machine communication.
The long rage wide area networks (LoRaWAN) uses a spec and protocol for low power nets that uses a wireless spectrum that can contact sensor over long distance in anticipation of the emergence of the internet of things (IoT).
These networks have better mobility, security, bi-directionality and localisation as well as being cheaper than existing networks, IBM said.
Semtech, IBM and other firms have formed an organisation called the LoRa Alliance to develop and provide standardisation for the technology.
The technology promises communications of over 60 miles in favourable environments, nine miles in semi rural environments and 1.2 miles in urban environments with data rates of 300 bit/s up to 100 kbit/s.
Sensors can run on one AA battery for 10 years and AES128 keys make for good security, IBM claimed.
Applications include machines telling distributors when they’ve run out of supplies or need fixing; cities could offer smart metering; distributors can track cargo containers; and home heating firms would get alerts when oil tanks are running low.
IBM has made the LoRaWAN protocol open source to encourage standardisation.
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is working with IBM to create “smarter buildings”.
CMU wants to save 10 percent on utilities using a cloud based analytics system to reduce energy and operating costs.
It thinks the savings will be worth up to $2 million a year when the IBM system is used over 36 buildings on its campus in Pittsburgh.
Donald Coffelt, a VP for CMU’s facilities management service said using the IBM system will give a “very attractive return on investment”.
He said: “This technology offers us important gains in initiatives related to advanced infrastructure systems research, the Pittsburgh 2030 initiative and a more proactive building and infrastructure management model.”
Estimates are that buildings will be the biggest consumer of global energy in 10 years time but while systems report data across building networks, most organisations don’t use the the data as well as they could.
The CMU technology will kick off with a pilot in nine buildings and then be extended to other buildings, with full implementation ready in three years, said IBM.
IDC said that the storage market ended well. In the last quarter, worldwide enterprise storage systems revenue grew 7.2 percent year on year to amount to close to $10.6 billion.
And capacity shipments rose by 43.7 percent compared to the same quarter the previous year to represent 99.2 exabytes.
Eric Sheppard, a research director at IDC, said spending on enterprise storage grew in most markets worldwide with factors including demand for midrange systems using flash memory and systems designed for hyper scale data centres.
EMC was the top dog in fourth quarter, with a 22.2 percent market share. That company was followed by HP (13.8%), Dell (9%), IBM (9%) and Netapp (7.2%).
Macro 4 said it is now a piece of cake to connect via the web to your IBM mainframe -if you have one of those in your back room using a smartphone and a tablet.
The company has released a new version of Tubes for z/OS.
The software gives access to mainframe applications using a web browser on a smartphone or tablet.
The company claimed that the software avoids enterprises having to update web interfaces at some cost.
R&D manager Keith Banham said there is no development overhead at all, and you don’t need to run a computer running a terminal emulator.
The software avoids the need to buy 3270 emulation software to access mainframe applications, he said.
Big Blue said it has bought a company that specialises in creating scalable cognitive computing application program interface (API) services and deep learning technology.
IBM said it has bought the company because it is complementary to its own development of next generation cognitive computing apps.
The move brings 40,000 developers into its own Watson framework.
The Denver based company was founded in 2005 and its software processes billions of API calls per month, IBM said. It’s available in eight different languages – English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
IBM didn’t say how much it paid for AlchemyAPI but it will integrate the firm’s software into its own Watson offerings.
Figures supplied by market analyst company Gartner showed that the worldwide server market grew 4.8 percent in shipments for the fourth quarter of 2014.
And revenues grew 2.2 percent in that quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Jeffrey Hewitt a VP at Gartner, described server market for the whole of 2014 as showing strong growth. Growth for the whole year was 2.2 percent.
“Hyper scale data centre deployments as well as service provider installations drove the X86 market upwards,” he said. “Enterprises had less unit growth impact because of the ongoing presence of physical server consolidation through X86 server virtualisation. This overall market growth developed despite declines in both mainframe and Unix platforms.”
HP was the leader server vendor in the quarter in terms of revenues, but only grew 1.5 percent in the whole year. Its market share is 27.9 percent worldwide. IBM showed a decline of 50.6 percent, and Lenovo had extraordinary growth of 743.4 percent. This is because IBM sold its X86 server business to Lenovo in the fourth quarter.
Dell is the second biggest vendor with 17.3 percent in terms of revenues, IBM third, Lenovo fourth and Cisco fifth. “Others” had a market share of 28.6 percent.
HP also led the pack in terms of shipments, pushing out 642,007 units in the fourth quarter.
Big Blue has been sued by a shareholder who thinks the company committed securities fraud by failing to write down a money-losing semiconductor unit before agreeing to pay another company $1.5 billion to take that unit off its hands.
In October IBM’s said it would sell the unit to GlobalFoundries (GloFo) and take a related $4.7 billion pre-tax charge.
IBM also announced third-quarter results that day. Its share price fell nine percent over the next two trading days, wiping out more than $18 billion of market value.
According to the complaint, IBM inflated its stock price before selling the semiconductor unit by carrying the unit’s property, plant and equipment assets on its books at $2.4 billion, when it should have known the assets were worthless.
The shareholder moaned that potential bidders had been unwilling to pay much more than $1 billion for the entire unit, including intellectual property and personnel, suggesting that the hard assets had no or negative market value.
The shareholder in question is the City of Sterling Heights Police & Fire Retirement System in Michigan. It also named three IBM officials as defendants, including Chief Executive Virginia Rometty.
It seeks class-action status on behalf of shareholders.
“Defendants presented a misleading picture of IBM’s business and prospects,” the complaint said. “When the truth about the company was revealed to the market, the price of IBM common stock fell precipitously.”
The IT division of Hitachi said it has started to sell an analytics package aimed at telecom service providers.
Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) said that its Live Insight for Telecom is aimed at giving providers real time information into networks, services and application level performance.
This, HDS claims, will let them predict network activity using both real time and historical data in parallel
Analytics is big business now – for example IBM is betting the farm on big data and the cloud.
So companies like HDS are claiming their products will reduce subscriber “churn”, lower the operational costs and give them new sources of revenue.
HDS claims that are close to seven billion mobile subscribers worldwide, with 78 percent of households in the developed world connected to the web.
But, it continues, even though telco providers can access tens o
Big Blue thinks it can restore itself to its former suited glory by pushing heavily into cloud and big data.
Apparently the outfit has set itself a target of making $40 billion a year from cloud, big data, security and other growth areas by 2018.
The target was mentioned at the company’s annual investor meeting in New York yesterday and is the first hint of a serious “cunning plan” since IBM moved away from its previous strongholds in hardware and servers.
The $40 billion will come from areas which IBM calls its “strategic imperatives,” namely cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security software.
That would represent about 44 percent of $90 billion in total revenue that analysts expect from IBM in 2018.
Those businesses generated $25 billion in revenue for IBM last year, or 27 percent of its total $93 billion in sales.
The company said it would shift $4 billion in spending to its “strategic imperatives” this year.
Revenue at IBM has gradually shrunk over the past three years as it sold off its unprofitable units in businesses such as low-end servers, semiconductors and cash registers.
IBM Chief Executive Virginia Rometty has said she was happy to jettison revenue from such unprofitable businesses, which she dubs “empty calories.” Although we would have thought that empty calories would be a good thing, because they would fill you up without meaning you put on weight.
IBM revenue has now fallen for the past 11 quarters, while earnings growth has been sporadic.
The company says its long-term plan is to hit “low single-digit” revenue growth and “high single-digit” growth in operating earnings per share. Last year IBM withdrew its long-term plan to hit $20 per share in operating earnings for 2015.
Things have not been going that well for IBM of late. It gets more than half of its cash from foreign parts, and the strong US dollar has hurt its sales by more than six per cent this year.
Juniper and IBM have decided to work together in a bid to provide customers with improved mobile facilities, look at Internet of Things (IoT) applications and plumb the world of big data.
IBM said that the two companies will work together to deliver high performance network analytics to speed up enterprises, reduce costs, and provide better end user applications.
IBM and Juniper have worked together for a while, but are now devising the integration of Juniper’s MX Router Service Control Gateway with IBM Now Factory analytics.
Other future developments will include providing visibility of subscribers and the ability of CSPs offer automated services based on data. Juniper will use IBM Analytics to understand data flows and self configure and optimise network operations.
Juniper will also integrate IBM Analytics features into its own Cloud Analytic Engine.
Bob Picciano, a senior VP at IBM, said: “Integrating predictive analytics directly into the stream of data processing – and embedding into the network of CSPs – will help to ensure the reliability of the network.”
IBM has already invested $1.2 billion in cloud services and has now announced it will open two cloud centres in Sydney and Montreal in the next 30 days.
In addition, Big Blue said it will build similar cloud centres in Milan, and in Chennai before the end of 2015 while it will announce further centres later on in the year.
The cloud centres are part of the company’s SoftLayer plans – it already has centres in Frankfurt, in Mexico and in Tokyo.
The idea of the cloud centres is to give its customers options to create public, private or hybrid cloud environments. It has to offer different locations because enterprises have to conform to local regulations about where data resides, as well as providing levels of security.
Jim Comfort, general managed of IBM Cloud Services, said: “With each new location, we’re not only adding more computer capacity… we’re enabling enterprises to move to the cloud at the speed and in a way that makes the most sense for them.”
In a related announcement, IBM said it had extended its partnership with CSC to speed moving their businesses to the cloud. IBM thinks that there will be a 10 fold increase in the number of cloud applications in the next four or five years, meaning the number of developers specialising in the field will triple.
In a bid to promote projects based on data, IBM said that it has opened a London studio to be the hub of design in London.
IBM wants to pull in clients from healthcare, financial services and the retail marketplace to cooperate with IBM consultants and researchers to explore integrating mobile, social, analytics and cloud technologies. Obviously it wants to sell its products and services.
IBM Design prototypes data centric products and uses its Design Language as a framework for developing future products and services.
The studio is being endorsed by the Design Council. John Mathers, CEO, said that good quality improves people’s lives. “This is why we work to bring the design and business communities together and help develop the skills which are vitally important to our economy.”
Matt Candy, who runs IBM projects like this in Europe, said: “London is a creative epicentre that now boasts a powerful digital economy. IBM Studio will bring digital experiences to our exceptional digital city, where some of our most forward looking clients reside.”
The studio will be based at IBM’s head office in Southwark.