POWER Play: 5 Companies Who Are Mastering Big Data in a Big Way

Big data

Big data is big business. Getting the right insights at the right time can make-or-break an organization’s ability to stay ahead of competitors and on top of new opportunities.

The right tool for the big data job

Not all server chipsets are created equally. IBM POWER8 chips are architected to offer 4 times the performance for data analysis and processing than x86 chipsets. This is due to the multithreading capability for each individual core and the high memory bandwidth of each socket versus the single threading of each core and narrow socket bandwidth found in x86 chips.

See how the IBM Power Systems OpenStack solution with POWER8 processor technology is helping these five organizations tackle their big data problems and drive mission-critical initiatives.

1.      Earth Signal – Quickly processing big seismic data projects critical to the bottom line

Data processing services like Earth Signal provide oil exploration firms with seismic data they need to bid on parcels of land.  The faster clients get results, the sooner they can determine their bidding strategies. Earth Signal needs to crunch huge volumes of high-compute data within short decision windows. To compete on price and timeline, they need a big compute out of the smallest possible footprint. With IBM and Softchoice they deployed IBM Power Systems S822L with POWER8 CPUs. They found a 2U Power Systems solution could complete a job in 60 hours. A 21U Intel Xeon setup required over 100. That’s a 40% time savings! Now Earth Signal can keep up with industry pressure and take on projects that used to be unimaginable.

2.      Celero – Improving customer service by processing Oracle databases lightning fast

Celero is a company dedicated to modernizing banking systems for credit unions & financial institutions. Celero needs always-on availability to provide top quality customer service to its clients’ users. Its core banking solutions depend on Oracle databases running with high-speed response times. They deployed IBM Power Systems technology, including IBM Power S822 servers, IBM AIX OS, and IBM Power VM software. The adoption of POWER8 processors saw a tenfold increase in Oracle database response times. Celero now offers clients 25% to 30% faster performance for teller-level customer service interactions.

3.      ZTEsoft – Analyzing large-scale customer data in new markets without large-scale infrastructure

Zsmart CEMS from ZTEsoft helps telecoms enhance the customer experience by better understanding consumer data. To attract telecom clients outside China, it needed to offer a more powerful and flexible hardware option. ZTEsoft went to IBM in Montpelier, France, to benchmark their solution performance. Running a Linux environment on IBM Power Systems, the result was much higher capacity than a similar stack run on Intel x86. ZTEsoft is confident their solution can analyze huge volumes of data without major infrastructure. IBM’s open stack design gives ZTEsoft customers more freedom to port software with little development work.

4.      University of Toronto – Creating a future around affordable healthcare 

Research in photo-dynamic therapy (PDT) has the potential to advance the state of cancer treatment and detection. But, the process relies on a computing-intensive simulation type. The processing cost drives down adoption of PDT and other optical cancer detection methods. IBM OpenPower and POWER8 allows the University of Toronto to explore more efficient ways to run simulations. They’ve achieved 16 times the performance per-FPGA (field-programmable gate array) card and 67 times the power efficiency of simulations run on CPU. This means more workable options for hospitals and clinics to improve care using PDT.

5.      Google – Enabling the future of the internet

Appetite for Google services is always growing. This leaves the data giant working to keep up with demand. Google, IBM and Rackspace have delivered the POWER9 processor based on IBM Power architecture. The technology is now in place across the Google toolchain. Google now has a way to overcome slowing progress in processor improvement. They’re no longer tied to Moore’s Law of just doubling the number of transistors every two years and can explore new ways to scale their infrastructure. IBM’s open stance on Power removes barriers preventing collaboration on new system design.

If your business deals with big data you may be compelled to review if IBM Power Systems is the right solution for you. For more information on how POWER8 systems can help you, please email me Michael.Seixeiro@softchoice.com.

Watson & Your Business Part 1: Better understanding customers [IBM]

Unless you’ve been living in cave – although even caves are wired these days (just ask Batman) – you’ve probably heard about Watson, IBM’s latest Research Grand Challenge, designed to further the science of natural language processing through advances in question and answer (QA) technology.

 In February 2011, Watson competed against two human Jeopardy! champions and beat them. Quite an achievement for something IBM drearily describes as a “workload optimized system based on IBM DeepQA architecture running on a cluster of IBM® POWER7® processor-based servers that hold roughly the equivalent of one million books.” In other words, it’s a big fancy computer – but what a computer it is.

 Make no mistake about it. IBM didn’t develop Watson to play games. The advances in Watson’s QA technology are poised to help support professionals in a variety of critical and timely decision-making areas like health care, business intelligence, enterprise knowledge management and customer support.

 In fact, Watson’s ability to understand the meaning and context of human language, then rapidly process the information to find precise answers to complex questions, holds enormous potential to transform how computers can help people accomplish tasks in business and industry.

 In the next four posts, I’ll take a brief look at four of the areas in which Watson’s DeepQA technology holds the most promise, beginning with the quest to better understand customers.

 As IBM’s Craig Rhinehart describes it: “[Watson’s] DeepQA technology provides humans with a powerful tool for their information gathering and decision support.”

 Take customer relationship management, for instance. Imagine a tool built on DeepQA that has a deep understanding of natural language to the point where it’s able to process users’ questions and quickly deliver and justify precise, succinct, high-confidence answers. That’s the sort of potential descendants of Watson will offer organizations. [Read more…]

World first: Man vs. Machine on Jeopardy! [IBM]

IBM and Jeopardy! have announced that an IBM computing system named “Watson” will compete on Jeopardy! against the show’s two most successful and celebrated contestants — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.   The first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011, with two matches being played over three consecutive days.

Softchoice is getting in on the action too – keep reading to learn how you can win one of five $100 gift cards!

Combining advanced natural language processing and DeepQA automatic question answering technology, Watson, named after IBM company founder Thomas J. Watson, is the IBM supercomputer that represents the future of data management, analytics, and systems design. [Read more…]