IBM tools up z196 for BI analytics

Last week was a business intelligence (BI) love fest at IBM’s Information On Demand (IOD) conference in Las Vegas. DB2 for z/OS was featured, as was Cognos 10 and Smart Analytics. IBM is pushing BI heavily for the zEnterprise; note that one of the first blades coming for the zEnterprise is a Smart Analytics Optimizer blade to pop into the zBX extension cabinet. But IOD went beyond that; even enterprise content management, InfoSphere, and IMS got to share the spotlight.

The overall theme of the conference seemed more about business analytics for the masses, as IBM addressed extending BI and analytics to social networking, collaboration and mobile workforces.  For sure, this is not traditional BI for the enterprise and certainly not for the mainframe, at least not yet.

At IOD, IBM introduced Cognos 10,  which sports a new user interface. The goal is to combine social collaboration and analytics for the purpose of delivering real-time intelligence both online and through mobile devices such as iPad, iPhones, and Blackberry devices.

DB2 also got a boost with DB2 10, which promises to deliver a 40% performance improvement. IBM InfoSphere Server got a remake through what IBM describes as new software that redefines how an organization handles data behind the scenes and provides faster and more accurate integration of diverse forms of data.

More interesting promised to be a technology preview of Hadoop-based big data analytics software running on the IBM Test Development cloud. Hadoop, a project of the Apache Software Foundation, has potential in large enterprises, especially for private clouds.

Hadoop is a distributed computing platform for processing extremely large amounts of data.  To date, it has not been an enterprise data center or mainframe game, but as private clouds proliferate and need to scale to extreme levels, don’t be surprised to see Hadoop in the mainframe data center, maybe running on thousands of virtualized Linux machines.

IOD even encompassed unstructured data. Here IBM is aiming to address content-centric processes and manage unstructured content, such as scanned images, electronic documents, web pages, video, email and text messaging. IBM expects 650% enterprise data growth over the next five years. Of this data 80% will be unstructured, generated from forms, web content, chat transcripts, and such.

Of specific interest at IOD to System z shops was IBM ECM for z. ECM typically is handled on distributed platforms.  At IOD IBM was touting nine ECM products for the z, including Content Integrator for z/OS, Content Manager for z/OS, DB2 ImagePlus for z/OS, and more.

BI is one thing, analytics is another. In the past organizations ran analytics, especially real time analytics, on processors like POWER that are optimized for compute-intensive processing. That meant doing the analytics processing on Power Systems machines. Going forward, z196 shops will be able to run the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer on POWER7 blades within the new extension cabinet to streamline the analytics process. Now all that’s missing are the actual blades and z extension cabinet to ship.



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