BOSTON—IBM for the past couple of years has been aggressively building out its cloud data capabilities, spending billions to bring in companies like Cloudant, SoftLayer and—last month—Compose to bring it up to par with other top-tier cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services.
IBM has for a while had the tools to help organizations build out their private clouds, according to Chris Glew, senior product manager for IBM’s Cloud Data Services unit. What Big Blue needed to do was grow its public cloud technologies to give customers the ability to run their application seamlessly in either private or public environments.
It’s that hybrid model that’s exactly IBM’s sweet spot,” Glew said Aug. 25 during what company officials called the IBM Cloud Data Boot Camp, a half-day event here that was designed to give business intelligence (BI) and data analytics experts a look at what they can do with the vendor’s broad range of cloud data services in general and the cloud-based dashDB hosted data warehousing solution in particular.
It also was the first of at least three such events around the country that IBM has planned to publicize what it has to offer in the realm of cloud-based data services. The company wants to drive developer productivity and innovation around open-source and cloud data services, not only by expanding its portfolio but also by contributing to a range of open-source cloud projects that touch on everything from analytics and mobile to data.
It’s a growing and competitive space. Analysts with research firm Markets and Markets expect the cloud database and database-as-a-service (DBaaS) space to grow from $1.07 billion last year to $14.05 billion by 2019, increasing at an annual rate of more than 67 percent a year. Helping fuel the growth is ability to give developers the tools they need to rapidly spin out Web and mobile applications without having to deal with back-end databases and system administration. Organizations no longer have to plan out what they’re going to do in three- to five-year increments, Glew said.
“The cloud takes away a lot of that barrier of entry,” he said. “The ability to move faster is huge. … They know what they need to do today. Planning down the road is very hard.
It’s also a market populated by the likes of Amazon and Microsoft. IBM officials said Amazon is probably better known for its capabilities at this point, but the gap is narrowing.
“Yes, Amazon is a player, but IBM is catching up,” said John Park, product manager for dashDB, admitting that IBM “was behind the curve in respect to the public cloud.”
Big Blue is working hard to build out its capabilities. IBM’s Cloud Data Services offerings are composable, integrated services for developers that run on the company’s Bluemix platform-as-a-service (PaaS). During the Boston event, Glew and Park outlined the broad mix of self-service and full-service offerings the vendor offers, from dashDB and DataWorks data refinery service to MongoDB by Compose and Elasticsearch by Compose. Differentiators for IBM over Amazon and others are the deep integration of the services and the strong hybrid model, Glew said.
IBM Puts Its Cloud Data Services on Display
The company also demonstrated the capabilities of dashDB, which was first introduced in October 2014. Last month IBM rolled out dashDB Enterprise MPP (massively parallel processing) for faster query and greater scalability. Park said the new offering can scale to 20TB now, and will grow throughout the year and getting to the petabyte level in 2016. IBM also enhanced dashDB’s compatibility with Oracle and Netezza.
Shiv Sehgal, solutions architect for RSG Media, said his company is wrapping up a proof-of-concept (PoC) using Cloudant and dashDB as it looks to move more of its data services to the cloud. What attracted RSG Media to the IBM technologies was the tight integration between the services and the scalability of the Cloudant offering.
RSG Media offers a range of software and services to media companies to help them maximize revenues they can get from their content and advertising. Those media companies not only include cable and broadcasting entities, but also entertainment, gaming and publishing firms. All those companies want to be able to quickly collect, analyze and act on the reams of data they have coming in regarding how viewers are consuming their products, Sehgal said.
Episodes in television series can cost $1 million to $2 million or more to produce, so broadcasters want to make sure that they’re airing the shows at the right time to ensure that they’re getting the best return on each showing, he said. Being able to analyze the data they’re collecting and acting on the insights gleaned for the data is important to the companies.
The PoC involves developing applications they can use to help schedule their TV lineups and how best to maximize their advertising. RGS Media will have a soft launch of the applications in September, then a hard one in April 2016, Sehgal told eWEEK.