IBM Deploys Private Cloud for Business Analytics, Supported by System z

IBM announced what its says is the world's largest private cloud computing environment for business analytics, supporting more than a petabyte of information, or the equivalent to 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text, which stacked end-to-end would circle the entire planet. The analytics cloud will be made available for both internal IBM use and as services for customers. The internal deployment for IBM employees is called Blue Insight, while the customer offering-based on a similar architecture-is called IBM Smart Analytics.

The cloud analytics offering will run on a System Z10 mainframe computer, with 48 processors (32 processors for production, 18 processors for development and test environments) and strong cryptography capable of handing up to 10,000 secure transactions per second, with redundant backup support.

The new offerings bring together a range of IBM product lines, including software from Cognos, its business intelligence division. However, adds Harriet Fryman, Business Unit Executive, Business Analytics Platform for IBM, "IBM Cognos is just one aspect of cloud offering. The configuration for Blue Insight-our internal offering-is the same as our external IBM Smart Analytics Cloud offering for clients."

The components of the offering are intended to "provide a self-service model for adopters and tenants to leverage a centralized BI service, which includes provisioning of the infrastructure, operational support, SW Licensing and support," Fryman tells 5 Minute Briefing. Along with Cognos 8 BI, the new cloud offering also incorporates, DB2 Connect, Tivoli Directory Server for LDAP Management, IBM Application Creator used for the on-boarding of new organizations onto the private cloud and functions as a workflow and data collection tool, and custom-built billing and auditing solutions.

IBM's Blue Insight cloud will provide more than 200,000 IBM employees with the ability to extract information from around the world to make decisions at the point of sale, and to predict and act immediately and accurately on business opportunities. The cloud will provide a common business analytics framework no matter where an employee sits in the enterprise. Blue Insight will gather information from nearly 100 different information warehouses and data stores, providing analytics on more than a petabyte (1,000 terabytes or 1,000,000 gigabytes) of data, turning that data into insight for IBM's sales force and development communities.

The IBM Smart Analytics Cloud-a private analytics cloud solution for large enterprises - provides consumable business intelligence services, systems and software to help customers create an efficient delivery of shared business intelligence services across lines of business and functional organizations. IBM's own Analytics Cloud deployment served as the template for this solution offering, which also features IBM Cognos, IBM Smart Analytics, and IBM services.

Having the private cloud supported by System z helps ensure top-notch data security, Fryman says. "System z is a highly efficient platform that offers 'fortress-like' security, obviously a critical element for any BI effort. By running BI workloads on a System z, the transactions inherit the security-enforced by RACF-and the availability characteristics of System z. IBM z/VM can act as a hypervisor for hundreds of Linux workloads, running as guests within the Integrated Facility for Linux on System z. System."

Information about IBM's Smart Analytics Cloud solution offering is available here.