As part of its effort to enhance its presence in the cloud, IBM this week announced a new cloud resiliency center and several new cloud-related wins in the marketplace.
IBM, on Sept. 22 announced a new cloud resiliency center in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, which provides business continuity capabilities in the cloud to protect companies from potential costly disruptions.
IBM’s new resiliency center integrates cloud and traditional disaster recovery capabilities with physical security features. Indeed, IBM said with cloud resiliency services, the once standard recovery time of 24 to 48 hours has shrunk dramatically to a matter of minutes.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the resiliency center team will monitor developing disaster events and then mobilize as needed to ensure that the infrastructure for all customers is configured to handle the latest threats to keep data, applications, people and transactions secure.
According to analysts, the overall market opportunity for business continuity and disaster recovery is expected to grow to almost $32 billion by 2015.
Monitise, a provider of mobile banking services, is the first mobile-centric technology enabling business to use IBM’s new center. With more than 30 million registered users and the value of payments and transfers across its platforms worth $88 billion annually, Monitise turned to IBM to help the company expand its mobile banking, payments and commerce ecosystem at cloud resiliency centers in RTP and Boulder, Colo.
“Banking, paying and buying on mobile is becoming an increasingly integral and recognizable part of daily life – so for us as a mobile money provider, delivering a quality, always-on service is essential,” said Adam Banks, executive vice president of technology at Monitise, in a statement. “As we expand globally, this partnership with IBM allows us to provide a consistent, reliable customer service while having in place a proven cloud resiliency plan that ensures us that no matter the issue, our real-time service capabilities will not be impacted.”
According to a survey by the Ponemon Institute, a substantial outage—one lasting more than an hour or two—costs a company more than $32,000 a minute on average. In addition, since any outage can be reported on social media within seconds, the longer systems remain down, the greater the impact will be on a company’s reputation and future revenue.
“The work we’re doing with Monitise at this new cloud resiliency center is a strong testament to IBM partnerships with enterprise clients to drive new innovation,” said Mike Errity, vice president of IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services, in a statement. “By creating a new benchmark for delivering client continuity services in hybrid, public and private cloud environments, we meet the demands of businesses required to serve the around the clock needs of their clients.”
This year, IBM will also be opening two new cloud based resiliency centers in Mumbai, India and Izmir, Turkey. These new facilities—which will join the 15 other global centers planned by SoftLayer and 150 resiliency centers—will speed up recovery times by virtually eliminating network latency while allowing businesses to manage federal and local data residency compliance regulations.
Meanwhile, IBM also announced key new cloud wins, including attaining business from technology startups that initially went with competing providers but that moved to IBM to take advantage of Big Blue’s flavor of cloud expertise—particularly the Bluemix Platform as a Service (PaaS).
IBM Leverages Bluemix PaaS, Resiliency in Cloud Battle
For instance, MutualMind, a startup that provides social media sentiment analysis, has migrated from Amazon Web Services and Rackspace onto IBM cloud infrastructure, doubling the computing power of its real-time, on-demand content analysis and visualization application, the company said.
MutualMind helps customers monitor brand discussions on the social networks, enabling them to gain fast, valuable insights from myriad posts, likes, comments and shares referencing their brand. With this feedback, customers can tune into social discussions about their brands, gauge sentiment, track competitors, identify influencers, engage with their audience and measure the ROI of their social media initiatives. Organizations—including some of the best-known brands in the world, such as Kraft, AT&T, Nestle, and Walgreens—use MutualMind to support various product development, market research and consumer care programs.
With more global brands turning to MutualMind, the company was quickly surpassing its ability to keep up with client demand. It needed a scalable cloud platform that could provide enough computing power to maintain high levels of performance, but was also within budget and could be configured to its unique architecture. MutualMind moved its application to IBM’s SoftLayer and doubled its computing capacity.
MutualMind’s application aggregates millions of documents—including YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook posts and more—enabling its customers to easily search through structured and unstructured data for mentions of its brand, products or any topic relating to their market or business. MutualMind’s platform can process between 30,000 to 80,000 different queries on these documents at any moment. Using SoftLayer’s bare metal infrastructure, MutualMind’s engineers can customize and configure the right kind of servers and apply changes where needed, such as when a client needs extra support for a major new product launch or social media campaign.
“We turned to IBM to help us upgrade our infrastructure and double our computing power, allowing us to improve processing efficiency, performance and scalability while also meeting growing customer demand,” said Barbar Bhatti, CEO and co-founder of MutualMind, in a statement. “We now have the ability to successfully offer our products cost-efficiently and provide our customers the real-time support needed in today’s digitally social world.”
In addition, IBM cloud solutions are helping MutualMind better respond to customer needs by enabling the company to mine big data where it resides.
“MutualMind is one of many startups looking to IBM to help deliver improved business solutions in the cloud,” said Sandy Carter, general manager of ecosystem development at IBM, in a statement. “In today’s social era, companies need real-time visibility into the immense amount of digital conversations happening around them, and should be able to respond to any feedback or crisis at a moment’s notice. Such a herculean task requires the power of the cloud – as well as a cloud infrastructure which is global, secure, and can scale precisely to a customer’s needs.”
IBM also announced that Vivocha is adopting IBM Bluemix to further develop its platform and integrate new, customer-centric features in the cloud. Vivocha offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for online businesses, including retailers that want to improve their engagement with customers.
Vivocha helps businesses engage with consumers in a new way by meeting their customers’ expectations for support through real-time, cloud-based communication online or via their mobile app, using a combination of VoIP video, chat, callbacks and collaborative tools such as assisted browsing and document sharing.
IBM officials said Vivocha recently migrated most of its core reporting functionalities from Amazon Web Services to IBM Bluemix and is now developing new customer service apps using Bluemix’s big data and analytics, security and hybrid cloud environment tools. By doing so, Vivocha can get new mobile and social channels of customer communication, or “systems of engagement,” up and running in less than five minutes, all of which can be quickly and safely connected to a client’s “systems of record”—or backend infrastructure data with critical security needs such as customer records and financial data, IBM said.
IBM Leverages Bluemix PaaS, Resiliency in Cloud Battle
“We turned to IBM Bluemix to tap into a broad roster of open tools and services – from both IBM and other third parties – which would allow us to bring our clients the features they want while still maintaining a high degree of security, availability and scalability,” said Federico Pinna, CTO and co-founder of Vivocha, in a statement. “Through Bluemix, we can bring our clients stronger, analytical customer engagement models and help drastically improve the percentage of site visitors who turn into customers.”
Built on Cloud Foundry and IBM’s cloud infrastructure from SoftLayer, Bluemix combines IBM’s middleware portfolio and third-party services to bring users an open app development experience in the cloud. Bluemix helps both born-on-the-web and developers working in a legacy, on-premise infrastructure to build new, cloud-based mobile and web apps with tools specific to individual integration and capability needs. The PaaS also features a “DevOps in the cloud” model, which enables developers to rapidly develop, deliver and improve their apps based on continuous testing and user feedback.
In addition, IBM announced that Verdafero, a San Francisco-based utility analytics startup, has selected IBM Cloud to power its utility analytics platform, enabling customers to reduce their energy, water or waste consumption by up to 30 percent. Verdafero chose IBM’s Bluemix over a previously used platform to speed the development and delivery of more features and offerings to its users.
Verdafero helps organizations such as cities, gas stations, hotel chains, health clubs and other businesses owning multiple properties to efficiently manage utility costs and usage across all locations with the help of cloud-based analytics. Through a centralized dashboard, organizations can visualize, compare and analyze their entire electric, gas, water, waste, fuel and carbon footprints across all of their properties and usage histories. With this level of understanding of entire utility usage, Verdafero’s web platform has helped users reduce utility consumption by as much as 30 percent and ultimately cut costs, IBM said.
“Switching our development to the Bluemix platform has been a game changer,” said Dr. Alastair Hood, CEO of Verdafero, in a statement. “We wanted a solution that would allow our infrastructure to grow and remain secure as we expand our app into new markets and build new features. Bluemix’s user interface allows our new employees and developers to get up to speed quickly, collaborate and develop faster – and we are now turning around valuable features at a rapid pace.”
Indeed, Verdafero shifted from its traditional provider to IBM Bluemix to increase solution scalability, security and data storage. This shift not only allowed the company to accelerate its development speed, but also provided the necessary flexibility for Verdafero to set its sights on building new features, such as making its APIs available for external developers to integrate into other, separate apps in new markets.
Since its launch in February, IBM has seen rapid adoption of Bluemix with key clients and partners such as Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), GE Capital, Financial Insurance Management Corp (FIMC), GameStop, Pitney Bowes, Continental Automotive and start-ups including EyeQ, aPersona and Byte, among many others.