IBM rolls out cloud for financial services, integration, and storage

At its annual InterConnect cloud and cognitive conference in Las Vegas, tech colossus IBM announced a number of cloud initiatives meant to support big data, analytics, blockchain, and cognitive computing.

IBM chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty shares her vision for the cloud during the IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas, Nevada

IBM chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty shares her vision for the cloud during the IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas, Nevada

One of the services that were launched at the event was the IBM Cloud for Financial Services, which seeks to offer essential building blocks for the creation of financial services apps on the IBM Cloud.

IBM said more than 100,000 individual and enterprise developers from the financial services industry will now have access to APIs, data, and content to build and monetize cognitive-enabled financial services apps quickly.

Initially available in beta, developers will also have the ability to build in customer insights, regulatory compliance analytics, security, privacy, and compliance readiness to help reduce the time needed for development and testing.

The new tools can simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration, allowing developers to use IBM services or combine them with their own data.

“We have extensive expertise in financial services with 97 percent of the world’s largest banks relying on IBM. At the same time, IBM has become the leading AI platform for business,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, industry platforms at IBM.

With the support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the central bank of Singapore, IBM also developed the Singapore FinTech Hub, which is linked to IBM’s financial services developer cloud.

The hub will serve as a catalyst to support Singapore fintechs by providing information about local policies and developments in the ecosystem, access to cognitive and other APIs, insight to accelerate innovation, and a platform to showcase made-in-Singapore solutions to the world.

Also announced at InterConnect is the IBM Cloud Integration, which is designed to allow clients to access actionable business data from sources including cloud services, messaging platforms or, application software regardless of the environment in which they reside using APIs.

According to IDC, over 85 percent of enterprises will commit to multi-cloud architectures encompassing a mix of public cloud services, private clouds, community clouds, and hosted clouds by 2018.

IBM Cloud Integration offers a critical link for enterprises that need to share data in a multi-cloud environment, by providing:

• Integration of cloud applications with current infrastructure,

• A link to critical enterprise and cloud data and services to support cognitive solutions.

• And the ability to manage APIs across multiple clouds to enrich cloud services with data, enable new partners and expand to new markets

By using IBM Cloud Integration, online retailers can integrate data coming from sales and inventory applications in the cloud regardless of where they reside.

They can marry this data with information from other public cloud sources like third-party market tracking services, to gain a complete view into what’s trending, and how quickly they can make the most of their existing inventory and prepare future purchases.

“By bringing together and integrating more data through an open cloud platform, we are providing our clients with the agility and control they demand while still giving them a more complete view of what is happening within their company,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president for hybrid cloud and director of IBM Research.

IBM also unveiled at InterConnect new additions to the IBM Cloud Object Storage family. The company is offering clients new choices for archival data and a new pricing model to apply intelligence to unpredictable data patterns using analytics and cognitive tools.

IBM also announced an expanded partnership with NetApp that provides NetApp customers with more ways to take advantage of IBM Cloud.

Businesses typically have to manage across three types of data workloads: “hot” for data that’s frequently accessed and used; “cool” for data that’s infrequently accessed and used; and “cold” for archival data.

Cold storage is often defined as cheaper, but slower; for example, if a business uses cold storage, it typically has to wait extended periods of time to access data, limiting the ability to rapidly use that data to derive insights. As a result, there is a tendency to store data in more expensive hot storage.

IBM’s new cloud storage service, IBM Cloud Object Storage Flex, uses a “pay as you use” model of storage tiers potentially lowering the price by 53 percent compared to AWS S3 IA and 75 percent compared to Azure GRS Cool Tier.

Flex is a new cloud storage service offering simplified pricing for clients whose data usage patterns are difficult to predict. Flex enables clients to benefit from the cost savings of cold storage for rarely accessed data, while maintaining high accessibility to all data.

Additionally, the IBM Cloud Object Storage Cold Vault (Cold Vault) service gives clients access to cold storage data on the IBM Cloud and is designed to lead the category for cold data recovery times among major competitors.

Cold Vault joins the existing Standard and Vault tiers to complete a range of cloud storage tiers that are available with expanded expertise and methods via Bluemix and through the IBM Bluemix Garages.

“Clients need faster access to more of their data to become cognitive businesses with a deep understanding of markets and customer needs,” said John Morris, general manager, IBM Cloud Object Storage. “IBM’s new cloud storage services and innovative pricing model provides clients an efficient and less expensive way to act on insights from unpredictable data patterns.”

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