IBM Gives Watson New Hybrid Cloud Capabilities

Big Blue announced new hybrid cloud capabilities for its Watson cognitive computing system.

hybrid cloud capabilities

IBM has rolled out new hybrid cloud capabilities for its Watson cognitive computing system to help organizations bridge enterprise data with Web-based cloud applications for faster and more insightful data intelligence.

By integrating IBM Cloud capabilities for hybrid cloud, users will be able to gain faster intelligence from data across multiple secure traditional and cloud environments, allowing clients to deploy applications in seconds and with minimal configuration.

Watson Hybrid Cloud will use Watson Explorer—a cognitive computing exploration capability for the enterprise—as the on-premises platform for the application development, combining enterprise data sources into the application through a scalable environment that keeps utilized data local, private and secure, IBM said.

"Enterprise developers are building applications that are more than just using infrastructure, they're creating capability to process business transactions that fuse insights spanning various data sets," said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM Watson, in a statement. "What we see today is that the cloud is transforming into a hybrid data delivery model, so naturally developers seek flexibility to run apps and services across on-premises systems and the cloud, thereby making it much easier to deliver Watson to the enterprise."

IBM is bringing together the cognitive computing and content analytics capabilities from Watson with a growing list of Watson services found in the Watson Zone on Bluemix, IBM's open standards-based cloud innovation platform. A common challenge that arises with cognitive computing application development is where data resides. Enterprise developers often can't move all of their data into a public cloud for various reasons—some of the data sets will be too big to move in bulk or there could be regulatory, privacy and security requirements.

According to IDC, 80 percent of new cloud applications are predicted to be big-data intensive, and much of it born on the cloud. Hybrid cloud capabilities have become key for enterprises that want to have the ability to link data and workloads across multiple cloud environments or combining external data with on-premises, traditional IT infrastructure.

Watson Explorer provides users with a view of contextually-relevant information to help them find and understand the information they need to work more efficiently and to gain more insights from their unstructured content. Users will be able to use the combined strength of analytics and cognitive capabilities in on-premises and public cloud capacity by tapping developer tools and services available on IBM Cloud, enabling them to start building their own hybrid Watson applications.

IBM recently announced that Watson Health Cloud platform is a prime example of a hybrid cloud environment fit for innovation. The Watson Health Cloud will help advance the quality of personal health care by enabling heath data to be anonymized, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social heath data. The approach addresses patient privacy and data confidentiality, while providing a flexible platform for mining data for insights.

The introduction of new connectors to the family of Watson services—including the recent addition of the Alchemy API suite of services now part of the Watson ecosystem—will give developers the ability to easily leverage services, applications and any of the 25 APIs already on the Watson Zone, built on public data into their development plans.

This integrated development environment will facilitate access to entity extraction, sentiment analysis, keyword extraction, tagging, and other capabilities to enrich the data in Watson Explorer. Using Alchemy API's concept tagging for instance, Watson Explorer can now employ sophisticated text analysis to tag documents in a manner similar to how people identify concepts in minutes versus days, IBM said.