IBM debuts massive analytics cloud

The platform created for internal use spawned a version for clients looking to break down data silos

IBM has launched what it says is the world's largest private cloud for business analytics, dubbed Blue Insight, and used the internal template to create a separate offering for clients called IBM Smart Analytics Cloud.

Blue Insight grew out of IBM's need to address one of the biggest problems enterprises face: How to not only collect data, but make it widely available for use. "Typically, you got the siloed repositories of data, building up institutional knowledge in pockets," said Michael Bradshaw, vice president of application and infrastructure management optimization. "One of the big breakthroughs we've had is enterprise-level visibility."

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Bradshaw fingered IBM's acquisition of BI (business intelligence) vendor Cognos in 2007 as a pivotal development in the creation of Blue Insight. "Adding Cognos's capabilities gave us the right combination of pieces to allowing us to bring forth data in ways that we never were able to do before," he noted. "It's been a need that's been recognized for a while."

With Blue Insight, IBM is able to put a petabyte's worth of real-time data, as well as the kind of analytics previously only available to senior-level executives, in the hands of front-line employees around the world. The Cognos UI allows for either pre-made or customized views for end users, so everybody from sales staff to developers to manufacturing engineers can find the data and run the analytics they need.

Blue Insight also serves the model for IBM's Smart Analytics Cloud, an enterprise-level private analytics cloud for clients. Smart Analytics Cloud helps businesses make all their data available to end users, provides IBM Cognos 8 BI software for analytics, and uses IBM's System z mainframe. IBM also is offering a System z Cloud Solution Edition for customers looking to leverage existing systems.

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