The importance of cloud to the analytics platform

Content Marketing Manager, IBM Analytics Platform, IBM

The first few days of Insight 2015 have been a showcase of innovation and insight thanks to what this year’s attendees and speakers have brought to the conference. I never tire of hearing stories of industry transformation and disruption, but one thing keeps jumping out at me whether I’m in the general session, listening to a keynote or walking around the EXPO: the cloud.

Moving to a cloud world

During Monday’s general session, Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM Analytics, said, “Cloud is the vehicle for continuous innovation.” Small wonder, then, that so much attention has been paid to cloud technology during Insight—especially in the presentations I have attended, which have focused on analytics platforms. I’m happy to recap what I’ve heard, but don’t forget to follow #ibminsight and #race2insight, nor to visit the other Insight blogs on the Big Data & Analytics Hub, to follow the conversations of some of Insight 2015’s 14,000 other attendees.

Monday’s data management and advanced analytics keynotes both focused on the cloud. Indeed, within the first few minutes of the data management keynote, Rob Thomas, vice president of product development for IBM Analytics, said, “We are quickly moving to a cloud world.” Of course, as we heard again and again that day, the cloud must connect with existing on-premises solutions to form hybrid solutions. And, as Paul Zikopoulos, vice president of client success for IBM Analytics, put it, “hybrid will mean seamlessly interacting on premises and in the cloud.”

The data management keynote gave attendees a glimpse into the seamless transition that gets beacon data into Cloudant, moves it into dashDB and then gets it working with R. The advanced analytics keynote that followed highlighted both the IBM–Box partnership, which helps provide organizations with secure cloud data storage, and IBM Cloud Data Services, which gives developers the resources that will allow them to obtain, create and analyze data using the IBM cloud.

Making data easy

Tuesday continued in similar fashion as cloud data services featured in both the general session and a dedicated super session. At the general session, Hothead Games’ director of technology, Joel DeYoung, described his company’s experience with what he called “Soccer-geddon”: When the company’s first mobile game surged in popularity, its online infrastructure struggled to handle the influx of traffic. Hothead solved the problem in the cloud by relying on Cloudant and collaborating with the IBM cloud data services team to leverage its experience.

The cloud data services super session built on the idea of making data easy through data services that are integrated and open by design. Such services give developers an experience that will keep them coming back again and again—for example, going into IBM Bluemix, looking at the goods and services offered, then trying new things and iterating. Through a mock example involving a shoe company, the super session demonstrated how insights can be uncovered through the seamless use of Cloudant, dashDB, Watson Analytics, Puredata and other solutions. the cloud ecosystem

Even the Hadoop, Streams and Spark session took note of what cloud technology has to offer, describing the use of the Spark service on cloud and the Hadoop service on cloud, as well as the Streaming Analytics service. The Spark service, now generally available, gives data professionals access to an expanding ecosystem of tools in a managed environment, and the Hadoop service helps avoid the complexity of on-premises solutions. The streaming service, by contrast, focuses on speeding applications. Indeed—the cloud is on people’s minds no matter where you look at Insight.

Thus the Insight 2015 analytics platform tagline rings very true indeed: “Built on Spark. Hybrid. Trusted.”  No matter where I am at Insight, I get the message loud and clear—and the cloud stands out in particular.

Take your cloud data services journey to the next step. Learn more about IBM dashDB, a fully managed cloud data warehouse service with in-database analytics, massively parallel processing and seamless connectivity.