IBM Cloud Object Storage Opens a Layer for Watson Analytics Data

IBM’s Cloud Object Storage group has unveiled three new functions: an integration with Watson Data Platform services, a more unified user experience with the IBM Cloud and increased security options.

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While many new software applications are aimed at line-of-business company employees who aren’t trained to write code, this news story is about something a bit more old-school: why expertise in cloud storage is necessary to use some new IBM object storage features.

IBM’s Cloud Object Storage group on Nov. 6 unveiled three new functions: an integration with Watson Data Platform services, a more unified user experience with the IBM Cloud and increased security options.

Enterprises are looking to the cloud to efficiently and securely store and analyze their data at massive scale; they find that they run out of on-premises space all too quickly. As the foundational data store for the IBM Cloud (no longer called IBM Bluemix Cloud, by the way), IBM Cloud Object Storage is designed to help companies manage data growth, whether they need cloud storage with data protection, archiving for data retention, storage for cloud native applications or a data repository for analytics.

The integration of IBM Cloud Object Storage with the Watson Data Platform is the biggest news. This provides a persistent storage layer for ad hoc analytics, predictive analytics, real-time streaming, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for software developers and data scientists.

With this new integration, users now can:

  • scale their compute and storage resources independently, (with IBM Analytics Engine and IBM Cloud Object Storage), so that they more cost-efficiently meet the dynamic needs of their organization;
  • optimize connectivity to Apache Spark applications with a standard API interface for efficient analysis;
  • achieve cost-effective, built-in disaster recovery by storing only one geo-dispersed copy of their data;
  • simplify their data governance with defined access policies and metadata about each data asset via the Watson Data Catalog and Data Refinery; and
  • easily access their data sets and analytics jobs globally, allowing for streamlined workflows and increased collaboration.

The so-called new “unified user experience” is designed to simplify start up, make it easier to manage and interact with data, accelerate application development and enable easier integration with IBM Cloud services. IBM introduced four key enhancements that enable developers and IT teams to:

  • provision an account and storage buckets within minutes, thanks to a new, simplified registration and management process;
  • manage data with an intuitive object storage management console to create and manage buckets, upload and download objects and view details of service instances, such as endpoints, credentials, storage class and usage metrics;
  • Integrate applications with Cloud Object Storage using prescriptive SDKs for Java, Node.js and Python with support for IBM Cloud’s Identity Access and Management (IAM) permissions; and
  • get started with a free Lite Plan option offering up to 25GB of data storage capacity, with no credit card pay wall. Companies can use this option to evaluate cloud object storage to see if it’s the right fit for them.

Security-wise, IBM has enabled customer-driven permission identity control by integrating the Cloud Object Storage service with IBM Identity and Access Manager in the IBM Cloud to give businesses additional control over their data.

Companies can now set Cloud Object Storage bucket-level access policies, selectively grant permissions, assign user roles and control the actions that users and applications can perform.

Big Blue also enhanced its encryption key options to give enterprises more control over their data security. In addition to the default encryption option, which automatically encrypts data at rest, users will soon be able to bring their own encryption keys, retaining complete control of their existing keys while benefiting from IBM’s advanced encryption for data at rest.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...