IBM’s New Integration Play Targets Cloud, On-Premise Workflows

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    Now here’s an intriguing item you may have missed in last week’s pre-Thanksgiving rush: IBM patented a new technique for integration.

    The technique is a cloud play that will support collecting and integrating data both on-premise and from the cloud, according to several news reports about the patent.

    It’s not exactly an integration play, though. The patent itself is for a cloud computing-based, business process management system.

    Talkin’ Cloud’s CJ Arlotta spoke with Dennis Quan, IBM’s Cloud Infrastructure Services VP, about the patent.

    The article says the patent combines distributed cloud services with local IT systems, with the goal to “‘integrate and analyze data no matter where it is stored’ by integrating cloud-based Big Data with locally-stored business information.”

    Quan also said the technique could lead to a new type of hybrid system that “allows organizations to gain a holistic view of in-house data along with dynamic information in cloud applications.”

    This is just one of more than 1,400 cloud-related patents held by IBM, according to the article.

    Maria Deutscher of SiliconAngle points out that this is not just about cloud — it’s also about the Big Data sets, including the tsunami of data that will be generated by Internet-connected sensors.

    “With the Internet of Things driving exponential growth in data volumes, organizations are under increased pressure to look beyond the firewall for new revenue streams and business value,” Deutscher writes. “IBM’s patent could significantly simplify this task by accelerating and reducing the overhead associated with collecting social media interactions, sensory data and other information from outside sources.”

    eWeek notes that the technique goes beyond accessing data sets to making it easier to combine and analyze data wherever it’s stored.

    eWeek offers a retail-specific use case:

    ‘For example, a retailer may want to cross-reference customer information from an on-site database with Big Data insights from analysis of purchase data stored in the cloud to deliver relevant offers or coupons.’

    Every article focused on data that’s both on-premise and in the cloud. I’m no patent attorney, but I have to wonder how much of this is about IBM’s cloud competition.

    After all, the patent does lead with, “A software method for dealing with service provider competition within business process flows comprising …” and then goes on to name a long list of workflow scenarios.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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