IBM's $6 Billion RandD Spend Delivers Systems Efficiency

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-07-22 Print this article Print

Leading up to the release of the new IBM mainframe, the zEnterprise system, eWEEK recently connected with Ambuj Goyal, general manager of the IBM Systems and Technology Group's Development and Manufacturing organization.

Leading up to the release of the new IBM mainframe, the zEnterprise system, eWEEK recently connected with Ambuj Goyal, general manager of the IBM Systems and Technology Group's Development and Manufacturing organization. Goyal offered his perspective on why the company still invests almost $6 billion annually in research and development and how it translates to solving business problems for Big Blue clients.

Goyal is responsible for all of IBM's global server and storage systems hardware and software development. In addition, Goyal leads the company's microelectronics business. He joined IBM in 1982 as a research staff member at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, N.Y. And he has held several key leadership positions throughout IBM. Goyal sat down with senior editor Darryl K. Taft for the following interview.

Q: As IBM's general manager of manufacturing and development, what new workload challenges are you tackling to help drive innovation and still cut costs?

A: IBM is tackling a number of workload challenges from data explosion and exploitation to efficient data centers to more secure systems. System workloads are becoming more massive in scale, must consume less energy, floor space and manpower. Workloads also must handle mountains of data and make it easier and less expensive to store, manage and retrieve. Our clients need to turn data into insight they can apply. At the same time, the workloads must be protected against risks that must be predicted and prevented to protect businesses and consumers from privacy breaches, identity theft and fraud. Tall order, but it's actually IBM's sweet spot because of our systems heritage.

We need to consider that data is adding a level of stress with terabytes of structured online data from internal databases to petabytes of unstructured data from Web-based collaboration, smartphone applications and real-time streams from sensors which monitor electrical use, environmental contamination and food shipments.

Making our data centers more efficient requires innovation beyond anything we've ever seen. It begins with systems that are optimized for specific kinds of workloads.  

As more information is digitized, shared and accessed remotely, we will go from online data security and intrusion detection to security analytics for intrusion prediction and prevention. Systems will inherently provide fraud prediction, preventing security breaches from ever taking place. Because IBM innovations are built into at all levels in the stack - from hardware to software to services - we can drive new levels of efficiency, improved management and better automation.

Q: Can you describe the anatomy of a workload optimized system?  Why should companies consider workload requirements in challenging economic times?

A: A workload-optimized environment consists of computerized systems that are optimized for specific kinds of work. It requires innovation and integration at every level from the silicon up through the middleware and application. This is not about putting different packages of software together or combining hardware silos. This is about looking at the whole spectrum of interdependencies, determining how efficient each component can become and finding areas for improvement.  

Workload requirements are important because many IBM clients are working aggressively to navigate the current economic climate. One way is to ensure ongoing business velocity. Our clients are fighting their competitive battles. Like IBM, they are on the front lines to meet new demands and shifts in market dynamics. We need to consider the baseline business objectives and then create a flexible system or systems.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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