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The Next Enterprise Platform

By Rob Thomas, IBM

May 29, 2018

“What ultimately makes a platform worth using in the long run are the applications that run on it.” – Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Platforms drive commerce. Whether in technology or other industries, the creation, acceptance and adoption of platforms spur innovation, efficiency, and productivity.

Consider the U.S. Interstate Highway System, which dates back to the 1950’s, when a few companies and industry groups first began to influence transportation policy. More than 50 years and $425 billion in investment later, the resulting 48,000-mile interstate highway system connects the country like never before.

The highway system did the obvious: it provided an easy way to integrate disparate cities and communities, with a single nervous system. But, the impact has been even more profound. By eliminating intersections via overpasses and underpasses, highways have addressed congestion, encouraged movement and sharing, and sparked a wave of second-order businesses, like gas stations, motels, rest areas, trucking, and fast food.

In short, the highway system, which started from the heart of the country and expanded outward, enabled the free flow of goods and changed commerce forever.

When it comes to technology, like transportation, the underlying platforms have propelled and advanced innovation. Be it the mainframe, client/server, operating system, cloud or now multi-cloud, the platform has enabled productivity to soar and innovation to flourish. In cloud computing, successful platforms are able to span from on premises and private cloud environments to public clouds in a consistent manner that helps foster growth and spread collaboration across systems and users. But, the platform has to start where the data is, which makes it an enterprise-out approach for most organizations.

This is the philosophy behind the new IBM Cloud Private (ICP) for Data, which is available starting today. Designed from the enterprise-out, this is a data platform that can integrate data science, data engineering and application building into a seamless environment that companies can use to help them quickly uncover previously unobtainable insights from their data.

Like the highway system before, it connects all data seamlessly and starts with the core of every business: enterprise data. Further, it can enable a new wave of commerce, unlocking the data of every organization and providing a platform for all analytical tools and applications. For any organization looking to modernize their data environment, this platform delivers on IBM Cloud Private’s Kubernetes foundation and offers all capabilities as data micro services. It is the highway system for the data revolution.

GDPR

But there’s even more to consider when architecting a platform that will endure. Since this platform was announced only two months ago, we’ve been busy adding more capabilities and support, to help users with their data security and compliance responsibilities. We have integrated micro services for master data management, and updated our industry models (the maps of data). We also built tight integration between the data catalog and the ability to discover, analyze and manage sensitive/risky data, to help remedy problems before they occur. By integrating IBM Data Risk Manager on the platform, companies can have a holistic view of all their data, to aid and assist in rising regulatory demands, such as those posed by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

MongoDB and Postgres Supported

Also since announcing in March, we’ve extended and augmented our data management support to include MongoDB and EDB Postgres for the enterprise. With new partnerships signed with these open source document and object-relational databases, respectively, organizations are now able to tap into and integrate data from an even broader range of options. Highway systems connected far flung cities; we are connecting all types of data, regardless of where it resides. With this news, these leading open source database technologies are now accessible through IBM Cloud Private for Data and can be easily provisioned, run and supported.

Mapping the AI Journey

As today’s news and strategy reflect, the exciting new world of multi-cloud and open data management is upon us. In this new environment data is readily available and accessible from across cloud platforms, infused with privacy capabilities to help meet rising regulations and strengthened by governance, analytics and machine learning. And, it begins enterprise-out. Also, as recently announced, in the spirit of an open platform, we have integrated with the Red Hat OpenShift container application platform. Through this agreement, clients will be able to extend their use of IBM middleware, such as WebSphere, as well as IBM Cloud Private for Data, to virtually any cloud running OpenShift; this is the bridges and overpasses of the data highway.

A modern data architecture, integrating all sources of data, paves the way for everyone from lines business executives to CIO’s, to help create new business models based on rapid, data-driven insights and pave the path to enterprise artificial intelligence (AI). These are the building blocks of AI, delivered enterprise-out. AI may not replace people, but people who don’t embrace AI will be replaced by those who do. IBM Cloud Private for Data is a major step in that direction.

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