IBM bets the farm on big data in annual report

Hardware and chip research stay, servers and storage 'shift' to Linux and pastures new


IBM is utterly focussed on big data and analytics as its future growth engines, according to its annual report published over the weekend. But the company has hedged a little on the future of its semiconductor and hardware businesses.

Available here, the least-brochure-like bits are to be found in the A Letter from the Chairman (PDF) Virginia Rometty, who offers the insight that plenty of organisations are choking on data. To clear their airways, different infrastructure, hybrid cloud and cunning analytics will be needed.

Rometty claims IBM has “built the world’s broadest and deepest capabilities in Big Data and analytics—both technology and expertise.” Big Blue apparently has 15,000 people in the field, including 400 mathematicians, and is now directing two thirds of its research effort towards analytics.

On the cloud front, Rometty claims “IBM today is the leader in enterprise cloud” thanks to “investments of $7 billion on 15 acquisitions, most notably SoftLayer in 2013.” Leadership is also due to the fact “We provide the full spectrum of cloud delivery models—infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service and business process as a service,” along with “1,500 cloud patents and … by thousands of cloud experts.”

Just how the likes of AWS and Microsoft might respond to those statements, The Reg cannot say. We're guessing they'll dispute IBM's choice of leadership metrics.

On the infrastructure front, IBM says selling Lenovo was “consistent with our continuing strategy of exiting lower- margin businesses, such as PCs, hard-disk drives and retail store solutions.”

“But let me be clear—we are not exiting hardware,” Rometty adds. “IBM will remain a leader in high-performance and high-end systems, storage and cognitive computing, and we will continue to invest in R&D for advanced semiconductor technology.”

Just what is meant by continuing to invest in semiconductors isn't explained, which may keep eyebrows raised after recent rumours suggested Big Blue would offload its chip business. The phrase “continue to invest” does not rule out a sale and ongoing joint research engagement.

Rometty also signals “... shifting the IBM hardware business for new realities and opportunities.” That means “... accelerating the move of our Systems product portfolio—in particular, Power and storage—to growth opportunities and to Linux, following the lead of our successful mainframe business.”

The letter also points out that IBM continues to do well financially, continuing an eleven-year run of growth in earnings-per-share even if pre-tax income dipped by eight per cent. The big bet on big data is expected to turn that last item around, before big trouble brews. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • It's 2022 and there are still malware-laden PDFs in emails exploiting bugs from 2017
    Crafty file names, encrypted malicious code, Office flaws – ah, it's like the Before Times

    HP's cybersecurity folks have uncovered an email campaign that ticks all the boxes: messages with a PDF attached that embeds a Word document that upon opening infects the victim's Windows PC with malware by exploiting a four-year-old code-execution vulnerability in Microsoft Office.

    Booby-trapping a PDF with a malicious Word document goes against the norm of the past 10 years, according to the HP Wolf Security researchers. For a decade, miscreants have preferred Office file formats, such as Word and Excel, to deliver malicious code rather than PDFs, as users are more used to getting and opening .docx and .xlsx files. About 45 percent of malware stopped by HP's threat intelligence team in the first quarter of the year leveraged Office formats.

    "The reasons are clear: users are familiar with these file types, the applications used to open them are ubiquitous, and they are suited to social engineering lures," Patrick Schläpfer, malware analyst at HP, explained in a write-up, adding that in this latest campaign, "the malware arrived in a PDF document – a format attackers less commonly use to infect PCs."

    Continue reading
  • New audio server Pipewire coming to next version of Ubuntu
    What does that mean? Better latency and a replacement for PulseAudio

    The next release of Ubuntu, version 22.10 and codenamed Kinetic Kudu, will switch audio servers to the relatively new PipeWire.

    Don't panic. As J M Barrie said: "All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again." Fedora switched to PipeWire in version 34, over a year ago now. Users who aren't pro-level creators or editors of sound and music on Ubuntu may not notice the planned change.

    Currently, most editions of Ubuntu use the PulseAudio server, which it adopted in version 8.04 Hardy Heron, the company's second LTS release. (The Ubuntu Studio edition uses JACK instead.) Fedora 8 also switched to PulseAudio. Before PulseAudio became the standard, many distros used ESD, the Enlightened Sound Daemon, which came out of the Enlightenment project, best known for its desktop.

    Continue reading
  • VMware claims 'bare-metal' performance from virtualized Nvidia GPUs
    Is... is that why Broadcom wants to buy it?

    The future of high-performance computing will be virtualized, VMware's Uday Kurkure has told The Register.

    Kurkure, the lead engineer for VMware's performance engineering team, has spent the past five years working on ways to virtualize machine-learning workloads running on accelerators. Earlier this month his team reported "near or better than bare-metal performance" for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) and Mask R-CNN — two popular machine-learning workloads — running on virtualized GPUs (vGPU) connected using Nvidia's NVLink interconnect.

    NVLink enables compute and memory resources to be shared across up to four GPUs over a high-bandwidth mesh fabric operating at 6.25GB/s per lane compared to PCIe 4.0's 2.5GB/s. The interconnect enabled Kurkure's team to pool 160GB of GPU memory from the Dell PowerEdge system's four 40GB Nvidia A100 SXM GPUs.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022