IBM has announced a suite of analytics products for its System z mainframes, in a response to customer demand for real-time insight into consumer transactions.
Described by IBM as an accumulation of five years' worth of technology development, the new analytics services aim to take transactional data flowing across the System z mainframes and extract real-time insights from commercial activity as it occurs.
In effect, the analytics will provide System z users with the information needed to take action to maximise the value of every customer interaction, according to IBM.
IBM InfoSphere BigInsights for Linux on System z, unveiled at the firm's Enterprise2014 event, combines an open source Apache Hadoop database framework with IBM technology to create a platform to deliver enterprise grade analytics.
To protect and speed up the analytics process, IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator boosts the response time for complex data queries by a factor of 2,000.
IBM said that the analytics products address the challenges its clients face when trying to act quickly on consumer interaction while relying on outdated IT systems that can provide only "after-the-fact intelligence".
The company claims that a combination of huge amounts of data and consumers interacting with companies via mobile devices, means that businesses require a way to conduct analytics in real time to rapidly identify and react to new sales opportunities and improve fraud prevention.
Ross Mauri, general manager of System z at IBM, described how analytics normally require the offloading of data to an external system that is complex and costly.
"Now there is an end-to-end solution that makes analytics a part of the flow of transactions and allows our clients to gain real-time insights while improving their business performance with every transaction," explained Mauri.
IBM also revealed that its clients will be able to incorporate social media into the analytics process to see how their business is performing "in the moment" and against competitors.
In an interview with V3, Barrie Heptonstall, platform leader at IBM, discussed how the company has been building on its mainframe technology for over 50 years and can now deliver a mix of traditional technology with modern services such as cloud computing and analytics.
He explained that, rather than starting with a brand new form of computer architecture, IBM has instead focused on designing its mainframes with future technology in mind.
"One of the governing rules we've had since the 1960s is having a platform that is compatible with future additions," Heptonstall said.
He went on to explain how creating proprietary technologies with System z allows IBM to ensure that the software it provides works effectively with its hardware.
"[This] means that we have complete control - one of the advantages that gives us is the people in the IBM hardware division and software division can work together," he said.
The company also unveiled IBM Elastic Storage for Linux on System z, which extends the firm's part of its software-defined storage portfolio to Linux environments running on System z servers.
IBM also announced IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack for System z to provide support for cloud environments running on a mix of supported server processor architectures such as IBM Power and x86.
IBM appears to be putting increased focus on delivering analytics services to businesses, as it recently revealed that its supercomputer-derived Watson Analytics service is now available to all, providing business users with powerful cloud-based analytics.
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