Tag: IBM

IBM takes aim at cloud entrepreneurs

IBM logoB2B startups are being given the chance to get up to $120,000 worth of credit if they buy into the IBM cloud.

The company said it wants to provide entrepreneurs with “instant infrastructure” to launch businesses and use their resources to code, build, scale and bring their products to market.

IBM is also offering the startups the chance to connect into its enterprise client base which, it said, are always looking to startups to help them with their own problems.

The global programme includes access to BM’s Bluemix platform that includes over 75 runtimes and services. Bluemix provides integration with Twitter, high speed data transfer tools, application health and performance monitoring services and database as a service (DaaS).

IBM estimates that by 2016 a quarter of all apps will sit on the cloud and 85 percent of new software is built for the cloud.

Entrepreneurs are also being offered technical support and consulting using IBM’s 43 “Innovation Centres”, and incubator space in Silicon Alley.

IBM bets on Watson

Sherlock-Holmes-and-WatsonBig Blue is hoping that its AI based supercomputer Watson can come up with a few ideas which will help turn it around.

IBM  is taking a kicking from cheap cloud computing services and the outfit is  facing an uncertain future.

Apparently, IBM’s research division is building on the research effort that led to Watson, the computer that won in the game show Jeopardy! in 2011. The hope is that this effort will lead to software and hardware that can answer complex questions by looking through vast amounts of information containing subtle and disparate clues.

John Kelly, director of IBM Research told MIT Technology review  that IBM was betting billions of dollars, and a third of this division now is working on artificial intelligence techniques related to Watson.

Earlier this year the division was reorganised to ramp up efforts related to cognitive computing. The push began with the development of the original Watson, but has expanded to include other areas of software and hardware research aimed at helping machines provide useful insights from huge quantities of often-messy data.

So far, the research has created new recipes by analysing thousands of ingredients and popular meals, and, less interesting, electronic components, known as neurosynaptic chips, that have features modelled on the workings of biological brains and are more efficient at processing sensory information.

The hope is that the technology will be able to answer complicated questions in different industries, including health, financial markets, and oil discovery; and that it will help IBM build its new computer-driven consulting business.

There is a growing belief that machine-learning techniques may provide ways to use big data.  Already Google, Facebook, and Amazon have their own methods for hunting through vast quantities of data for useful insights.

So far those Watson has proved a bit elementary.  Some companies and researchers testing Watson systems have reported difficulties in adapting the technology to work with their data sets. However that has not stopped IBM’s CEO, Virginia Rometty, said in October last year that she expects Watson to bring in $10 billion in annual revenue in 10 years, even though that figure then stood at around $100 million.

IBM is aggressively commercialising the technology. Last week the company announced it had teamed up with Twitter and the Chinese social network Tencent to offer a service that will try to find useful insights from messages daily sent through these services, as we reported here. A company that sells phones might, for example, learn about a possible problem with one of its products from comments made by restaurant patrons.

 

IBM claims first for intelligent cloud security

clouds3Big Blue claimed it is the first company to build an intelligent security profile that protects data, applications and people in the cloud.

The offerings it announced use what IBM described as advanced analytics to react to threats across enterprise, public, private and mobile clouds  – so called hybrid clouds.

IBM said that while the cloud is being rapidly adopted worldwide, attackers are more sophisticated and more able to hide their activities.  Indeed, IBM claims that three quarters of security breaches take days, weeks or months to be discovered.

Its managed security services platform is intended to protect IBM customers as well as customers of firms like Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.

It said that its intelligent threat protection monitors the cloud environment, analysing billions of security events and including correlation and external data feeds.

IBM estimates that nearly half of large enterprises will use hybrid clouds by the end of 2017 and claims that it is the largest hybrid cloud vendor.

Dell counter attacks against rivals

Conan 1While Michael Dell was fighting to take his tin box outfit private, his rivals used the uncertainty to steal his customers – now he is counter-attacking.  

Dell opened the Dell World conference and wasted no time denouncing the “turmoil” his rivals in the industry are going through.

“They’re splitting away businesses, spinning off pieces of their businesses, and one has to ask the question: who is this for? Does this actually help the customers? Does it help them create the next great innovative products?”

It is deeply ironic for Dell. At the time HP Meg Whitman was calling Hewlett-Packard a “paragon of stability” compared to his company and IBM smugly told his customers that he was doomed.

Now Dell can point out that Whitman is breaking the the company in two. And IBM is selling its x86 server business to Lenovo and fighting to keep its profits above water.

Because the company is private, Dell does not have to worry about those quarterly targets and can plan.  He even had a dig at Carl Icahn who made him pay millions more to take his company private.

“Dell can focus on a future that’s “beyond the next quarter, the next year or the next shareholder activist,” he said.

Dell’s PC shipments grew almost 20 percent in the U.S. last quarter, Michael Dell said, faster than those of HP and Apple.

Today Dell is expected to announce a new “converged infrastructure” system called the PowerEdge FX, he said, which combines servers, network and storage in a new design that offers “the most density in the world.”

IBM reshuffles its deck

vov24k_mediumIBM has reshuffled its senior management in a bid to turn around the outfit’s flagging fortunes.

Martin Jetter, who was credited with fixing Biggish Blue’s  Japanese operation has been shifted to senior vice president and head of its global technology services unit.

Jetter, who currently heads IBM’s operations in Japan, will initially report to Erich Clemanti and will succeed him as head of the services unit on January 1, when Clemanti will move to another unnamed senior leadership role.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said that Jetter was Big Blue’s Mr Fixit and led a remarkable transformation of IBM Japan, returning it to growth. Previously he did the same thing with  IBM Germany and GBS in Europe. “In each case, he and his team have moved quickly to embrace new approaches and new thinking,” Rometty said.

IBM has been falling behind as it struggles to keep up with shifts in the industry as hardware becomes increasingly commoditized. Lately, the outfit which was once best known for mainframe computers, has been moving to higher-margin businesses such as security software and cloud services, but growth in those areas has failed to offset other company weaknesses.

Last month, IBM paid $1.5 billion to Globalfoundries to take its loss-making semiconductor unit off its hands.

Datacentre automation market worth billions

server-racksA report by Markets and Markets estimated that by 2019 the datacentre automation market will be worth $7.53 billion.

The report said that demand for fast data access and storage continues to rise and that’s creating more and more datacentres.  Datacentre automation is sometimes known as Software Defined Data Centres (SDDCs).  Automation helps management deal with scalability, flexibility, manageability and reduced costs.

The market research company said it segments the datacentre automation market by hardware such as network automation, server automation and storage automation.  It also values the secor by service including consulting services, installation and support.

The demand for data is forcing businesses to either build new datacentres or upgrade existing sites.

And the cost of datacentre infrastructure continues to increase at the same time as IT budgets continues to decrease.

Majr vendors in the industry include HP, Oracle, Dell, Brocade, Cisco, IBM, CA and BMC Software.

IBM signs deal with Chinese cloud giant

Executives from Tencent and IBMA major Chinese IT player – Tencent Cloud – has signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate with IBM to bring Software as a Service (SaaS) for various industries.

Both firms will concentrate on emerging small and medium enterprises in healthcare and other fields.

Tencent Holdings is one of the major providers of internet services in mainland China, and its Cloud division sells to enterprises and developers a number of offerings.

Taosang Tong, a senior executive VP of IBM said: “Tencent has a stable and reliable cloud computing platform, while IBM has abundant industry expertise aimed at the enterprise.”

Nancy Thomas, a managing partner at IBM China said the two companies will bring scale and cost benefits of cloud computing to Chinese enterprises.  “The industry dimension makes this especially appealing for businesses,” she said.

Financial considerations were not disclosed.

IBM brings in the clouds

Pic Mike MageeBig Blue said it has released or is just about to release a slew of cloud and Big Data analytics to the IT party.

It said that Cognos Business Intelligence, SPSS predictive analytics and Watson Analytics will soon be available on its Cloud marketplace. Currently the Cognos offering is in beta, and won’t be ready for action until the first quarter of next year.  And SPSS Modeller won’t be available for another 30 days.

What’s the Cloud marketplace?  It’s one place you can go to, or in IBM speak it’s “the digital front door to cloud innovation”.

Big Blue said that 25 percent of new business analytic installations will be as subscriptions to cloud analytic or application services by next year.

IBM wants a slice of that lucrative cake.

The giant said that it has five answers to five common problems for businesses including understanding customers, understanding operations, security, compliance and data warehouse modernisation.

IBM makes Ebola initiatives

ibm-officeGiant vendor IBM said it is offering a number of initiatives in a bid to help the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa.

It has donated IBM Connections technology to Nigera in a bid to help preparedness for future outbreaks of the disease and has created a global portal to share Ebola data.

IBM has worked with Sierra Leone’s Open Government initiative, Cambridge Uni’s Africa Voices project, telco Airtel and startup Echo Mobile.

The Sierra Leone system lets people report Ebola problems and worries using SMS or voice calls. That, it says, will help the government improve its strategies for containing the outbreak.

Using IBM supercomputers and analytics in the cloud, the system will identify correlations and emerging concerns across the entire data set of messages. SMS and voice data are location specific.

According to IBM, the system has already identified regions with growing numbers of suspected cases and helped provide faster response times for body collection and burials.

The system uses radio broadcasts to encourage people to get in touch with the project.  Cambridge Uni’s Dr Sharath Srinivasan said: “We are working with IBM to offer people across Sierra Leone a channel to voice  their opinions and to ensure the data is rapidly analysed and turned into insights about the effectiveness of public service announcements and public misconceptions about Ebola.”

Airtel has provided a toll free number for SMS messages and anonymised by Kenyan company Echo Mobile.

Meanwhile, Big Blue volunteers are calling on organisations worldwide to contribute data as it seeks to identify and classify open data sources.

Lufthansa sells IT infrastructure to Big Blue

lufthansa-history-1German airline Lufthansa is about to sell its IT infrastructure unit to IBM as part of an outsourcing agreement for the services.

Europe’s largest airline by revenue is undergoing restructuring and cost-cutting efforts to better position itself to compete with low-cost carriers and Arabic rivals

It earlier this year said it was seeking a buyer for the unit, which provides data centres, networks and telephony. Apparently, it is worried that it requires a high level of investment and economies of scale, which the airline could not afford.

Under the deal, Lufthansa will outsource all of its IT infrastructure services to IBM for seven years. The US firm will take over the airline’s IT infrastructure division, currently part of Lufthansa Systems.

The deal will result in a one-off pre-tax charge of 240 million euro for Lufthansa. It will allow Lufthansa to reduce its annual IT costs by around 70 million euro a year. It is not clear how much this will all cost in the end as this is still being ironed out.

Big Blue slows down

sn_blu_mysIBM shocked the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street by giving up its 2015 operating earnings target and moaning that it was suffering from a bad dose of weak client spending and a slumping software sector.

IBM shares fell nearly seven percent to a three year low, which must really hack off Warren Buffett whose Berkshire Hathaway owns seven percent of IBM shares. The decline shaved more than $13 billion off Big Blue’s market cap, which stood at $182 billion at the stock market close on Friday.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer said that the result was disappointing and that the company saw a marked slowdown in September in client buying behavior, and our results also point to the unprecedented pace of change in our industry.

In a move to rid itself of one underperforming business, IBM also said on Monday it will hive off its loss-making semiconductor unit to contract chipmaker Globalfoundries.

“Some of these fundamental shifts in the industry are happening faster than we planned,” Rometty said on a call with analysts. “We are continuing to remix to higher value.”

To be fair, IBM is hardly the only technology company having a hard time keeping up. German software maker SAP cut its 2014 operating profit forecast on Monday, citing a faster-than-expected move to cloud-based software. Oracle has similar problems.

Revenue from the company’s cloud service unit, which allows businesses to access software and data remotely, grew more than 50 percent in the quarter, while mobile revenue doubled.

Still, they were not enough to offset weakness in servers and other hardware, as well as some software business lines.

IBM is spending $600 million for “workforce restructuring,” but did not specify how many employees would be cleaning out their desks.

IBM, which said it would announce a new operating earning per share target for 2015 in January, reported a 4 percent drop in third-quarter revenues as clients held back on spending in September.

Revenue fell to $22.4 billion in the quarter from $23.34 billion a year earlier. Wall Street expected $23.37 billion.

Net profit from continuing operations dropped to $3.46 billion, or $3.46 per share, from $4.14 billion, or $3.77 per share in the same quarter last year.

 

Avnet picks up Lenovo’s server business

avnettsMegadistributor Avnet said it has been appointed as a global Lenovo route to market.

This follows Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s System x (X86) server business early in the month.

Avnet said it will sell Lenovo servers in over 40 different countries around the world.

As well as Lenovo System x systems, Avnet will sell BladeCenter and Flex System blades and switches, X86 integrated system, NextScale and iDataplex servers, software and maintenance.

But this does not mean Avnet is waving goodbye to IBM. It’s worked with Big Blue for nearly 30 years and will continue to distribute IBM Power Systems, Storage Systems, Power Flex servers, training, software and services.

Tony Madden, a senior VP at Avnet Global said: “Avnet is working closely with Lenovo to ensure a seamless transition for existing System x channel partners and their customers.”

IBM pays Globalfoundries $1.5 billion to cut losses

IBM Not Servers Not SemisUpdate: IBM advised late Sunday that it will be making “a major business announcement” Monday morning along with its’ third-quarter results according to Bloomberg News.

This comes as no surprise to industry watchers. Sanjay Jah, CEO of Globalfoundries Inc. is well known as a shrewd negotiator – fees for taking over IBM’s semi ops were reported as high as $2 Billion.

IBM is shedding the company’s brick and mortar structure piece by piece to facilitate what the company sees as its new destiny. Commoditisation of semiconductor and hardware server content is seen as the motivation.

Margins in both businesses have decreased to the point where economies of scale must come into play – requiring ever-larger investments with ever decreasing margins draining capital away from the company’s core business strategy.

IBM announced that it is investing $3 Billion over five years on semiconductor research in a move to reassure its customer base that the company is continuing basic research to advance hardware and software technology indicating that the company will still be supporting high end research.

What’s not clear at this time:

  • Number of people affected
  • Timeframe
  • Whether all semiconductor operations are included
  • Power PC
  • Intellectual Property
  • Operating charges

We’ll be following up on details as they become available.

Update:

In a statement made this morning IBM will pay Globalfoundries Inc. $1.5 billion over the next three years to take over the company’s loss ridden semiconductor operation.

Globalfoundries will become IBM’s exclusive server processor foundry for 22nm, 14nm and 10 nm server and Power processors for the next decade.

IBM will take a third-quarter pretax charge of $4.7 billion.

 Job Retention

Globalfoundries will offer jobs to those affected in East Fishkill, New York and Essex Junction, Vermont. Workers at IBM’s commercial microelectronics business are also included in the offer.

Globalfoundries will gain access to IBM intellectual property and technologies related to IBM Microelectronics under the 10 year partnership agreement – making the foundry one of the largest semiconductor IP portfolios holders in the world.

 Trusted Foundry

The U.S. Government has used IBM as a supplier as a “trusted foundry” supplier for decades. Globalfoundries is privately owned by United Arab Emirates company called Advanced Technology Investment Company, or ATIC, a subsidiary of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

There’s speculative agreement that Intel is the most likely candidate to take over the “trusted foundry” business from IBM.

IBM wants to dam big data deluge

IBM logoBig Blue says it has created a new model for enterprise data storage intended to work across a large number of IT solutions.

Jamie Thomas, general manager of storage at IBM, said that it’s time the “traditional” storage model must change. That’s because data is churned out to 2.5 billion gigabytes every day.

Enterprises need to make real time decisions based on this data.  Storage and data centres are the foundation for the model using analytical tools.

She said IBM has introduced something called the Elastic Storage Server, a software storage appliance that works in conjunction with IBM Power 8 servers.

She said that software defined storage is changing the entire industry and IBM can now sell products to customers that want to manage, organise, and use data as a competitive tool.

IBM will offers its Software Defined Storage products through Elastic Storage, SAN Volume Controller and the Virtual Storage Centre.

Lotus 1-2-3 is dead as a dodo

ex-parrotLotus 1-2-3 officially ended its existence yesterday as IBM’s previously announced execution date passed with barely any attention from the tech press.

Big Blue only stopped selling Lotus 1-2-3 last year after more than 30 years of stirling work.

Lotus 1-2-3 was a spreadsheet program developed by Lotus Software, which is now part of IBM. It managed to be the “killer application” which sold the PC to business. Its first victory was kicking the first spreadsheet, Visicalc out of the market. Lotus 1-2-3 was a three-in-one, integrated program which could handly spreadsheet calculations, database functionality, and graphical charts. It needed a dongle though.

The Lotus Development Corporation was founded by Mitch Kapor, a friend of the developers of VisiCalc. 1-2-3 was originally written by Jonathan Sachs, who had written two spreadsheet programs for Concentric Data Systems.

The fact it was written for IBM’s new PCs meant that it became the software test for the new range of PC clones that flooded the market.  Because it needed large amounts of memory, 1‐2‐3 helped popularise greater RAM capacities in PCs and soon a huge 640k was required.

However its days were numbered as Microsoft had a spreadsheet called Excel. As its Windows operating environment grew in popularity so did Excel and a revamp of 1-2-3 for Windows failed to make much impact. Excel didn’t need a dongle. It had Steve Ballmer, instead.

Lotus 1-2-3’s demise was not helped by the fact that Microsoft punished IBM for its use of 1-2-3 by charging IBM higher prices, a late licence for Windows 95, and the withholding of technical and marketing support. IBM punished Microsoft by declaring OS/2 was a better window than Windows.

As a result, Big Blue wasn’t granted OEM rights for Windows 95 until 15 minutes prior to the release of Windows 95, August 24, 1995. IBM machines were sold without Windows 95, while Compaq, HP, and other companies sold machines with Windows 95 on the day of release.

Despite all that, Lotus 1-2-3 had an extremely long run with a large chunk of the world’s business carried out using it. It needed a dongle, though.