IBM launches Watson AIOps, series of automation tools for IT operations, 5G and edge offerings

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Managing AI and ML in the Enterprise

The AI and ML deployments are well underway, but for CXOs the biggest issue will be managing these initiatives, and figuring out where the data science team fits in and what algorithms to buy versus build.

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IBM is launching Watson AIOps, a suite that uses artificial intelligence to automate IT infrastructure as part of a broader roll out of automation tools.

At its Think Digital 2020 virtual conference, Big Blue is positioning Watson AIOps as a way to improve business resiliency. That’s not a small topic given the COVID-19 pandemic has revamped work, processes and business practices in a few short weeks.

The other primary pitch for AIOps is that it can reduce costs in multi-cloud deployments as IT infrastructure now encompasses data centers, various public cloud providers as well as edge computing resources.

Rob Thomas, senior vice president of IBM Cloud and Data Platform, said Watson AIOps can trim response times to outages to minutes from hours. “We want to arm every CIO in the world with AI that will automate how enterprises detect, diagnose and respond to IT problems,” said Thomas.  

New CEO Arvind Krishna said on IBM’s first quarter conference call that he plans to focus on technical prowess as well as a relentless focus on client needs. Krishna will elaborate on those plans at his Think 2020 keynote. “I want IBM-ers to lead with a more technical approach. I want our teams to showcase the value of our solutions as early as possible. Likewise, there must be a relentless focus on quality. Our products must speak for themselves in terms of user experience, design and ease of use,” said Krishna.

Watson AIOPs is built on the latest release of Red Hat OpenShift and is designed to work with IT monitoring tools such as Mattermost and ServiceNow and plug into collaboration tools like Slack and Box.

Many traditional data center vendors are working to be that single plane of glass for hybrid infrastructure. HPE on Monday made its HPE GreenLake Central suite generally available. That suite has tools to optimize and better manage IT infrastructure as well as cloud spend. Dell Technologies is also positioning itself as a manager of infrastructure as well as clouds.

The optimization of IT infrastructure and cloud offerings often include app modernization. To that end, IBM outlined its Accelerator for Application Modernization with AI, a tool within IBM’s Cloud Modernization service. The application modernization suite offers analysis and recommendations for architecture and microservices via AI models built in part by IBM Research.

IBM’s other big theme for Think 2020 revolves around automation. IBM already has an Automating IT Operations set of products, but it is creating bundles in the series to automate business planning, operations and call centers. Updates and new items include:

  • Cloud Pak for Data, a data and analytics platform, has added extensions to IBM Planning Analytics to automate planning, budgeting and forecasting as well as DataOps capabilities.
  • Cloud Pak for Automation has a new update for designing, building and running automation apps. These tools help create AI digital workers for things like business routing and data capture.
  • IBM Watson Assistant has been designed for easier deployment in call centers without developments. IBM Watson Assistant also gets a feature called autolearning that learns from prior customer interactions to provide relevant answers.

Primers: What is AI? | What is machine learning? | What is deep learning? | What is artificial general intelligence?   

IBM, Red Hat eye 5G, edge computing connection

Separately, IBM and Red Hat said they will combine services and offerings to better connect 5G networks with edge computing resources. See: Understanding Edge Computing

IBM’s bet is that edge computing, 5G networks and multicloud deployments will converge for everything from healthcare to transportation and other use cases.

Hillery Hunter, IBM Fellow, CTO IBM Cloud, said telecommunication providers will need to increasingly “cloudify” their infrastructure to deliver 5G services and handling edge computing. “If you’re doing edge computing it is essential you have a platform that scales to thousands of nodes. It also needs to be a platform that can handle disruptions and protect sensitive information,” she said. 

New offerings include:

  • IBM Edge Application Manager, which uses analytics and AI to optimize, manage and deploy enterprise Internet of things workloads. Edge Application Manager can manage up to 10,000 edge nodes via one administrator. The software using Open Horizon, an open source tool to allow one person to manage a network of edge devices.
  • IBM Telco Network Cloud Manager, an application built on Red Hat OpenShift to orchestrate virtual and container network functions.
  • Services for edge computing and telco network cloud and 5G deployments.
  • An IBM Telco Network Cloud Ecosystem that brings equipment manufacturers, IT, networking and software vendors together for 5G and edge collaboration. 

Red Hat held its annual conference last week. Here’s the recap: