At the IBM InterConnect 2017 conference today, IBM unfurled a slew of cloud services intended to help enterprise IT organizations take advantage of a wide variety of emerging technologies, including a blockchain platform.
As essentially a distributed database, any form of blockchain technology needs to be able to access to a lot of compute horsepower to make it work. IBM today announced it will make a blockchain platform available on an instance of Linux running on a mainframe that can be invoked as a service.
Based on the Hyperledger Fabric developed under the auspices of the Linux Foundation running on the IBM LinuxOne operating system that IBM developed for its mainframes, Don Boulia, general manager of cloud developer services at IBM, says the IBM service is the first enterprise-grade instance of blockchain technology that can host production applications. IBM claims that platform can process 10,000 transactions per second.
“We think it’s ready for prime time,” says Boulia.
By way of example of that readiness, IBM and Beijing Energy-Blockchain Labs Limited announced they are working together on the world’s first blockchain-based green assets trading platform based on Hyperledger Fabric, while also working with SecureKey to enable a digital identity verification service aimed at consumers.
Blockchain ledgers are only one of the emerging technologies where IBM is trying to establish any early presence. IBM also announced it is making an instance of the open source Kubernetes containers orchestration engine available as a managed service.
In addition, IBM launched a pay-as-you-use pricing option for accessing object storage on IBM Cloud that takes advantage of analytics and machine learning technologies to automatically move or archive data on less expensive storage when it is not being regularly accessed. IBM also announced partnerships with NetApp and Veritas that will make it simpler to move data into the IBM Cloud from systems running on premise.
IBM also unveiled today an IBM Cloud Integration suite that promises to make it simpler to access data via a consistent set of application programming interfaces regardless of where that data is stored. Boulia says the basic idea behind the IBM Cloud Integration suite is to provide an overlay for moving and processing data using a standard set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be deployed on premise or in the cloud.
In a similar vein, IBM announced a partnership with Red Hat under which it will host the distribution of OpenStack curated by Red Hat on IBM Cloud.
Finally, IBM is making it easier for developers to discover and invoke services on the Watson cognitive computing platform, while also revealing that it has infused machine learning algorithms into the IBM MaaS360 software-as-service (SaaS) platform for managing multiple types of endpoints via integration with the IBM Watson cognitive computing platform.
While IBM continues to trail Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft in the cloud, it has made significant strides in terms of making available advanced cloud services to enterprise IT organizations that are still in the early stages of embracing public cloud services. As those IT organizations make that transition, IBM is betting that many of them will simultaneously want to make several leaps ahead in terms of adoption of everything from microservices to machine learning algorithms. It’s too early to identify the degree to which that strategy will yield that desired result. But in terms of aspirations, at least, IBM is making a concerted effort to stake out as much space as it can in the cloud as early as possible.