A Smarter Computing System by Design


Smarter Computing (SC) is the IBM value proposition and offering for the Smarter Planet idea and scenario. It is the IT infrastructure that enables the smarter planet!

In the new era of IT, I believe companies need a “system” that will easily provide them with the ability to access information virtually anywhere, at any time, from anyplace, using a variety of devices.

We have realized how important autonomic computing is as we see systems and technology infrastructures growing beyond the human ability to manage them. In my earlier post, “A New Era of IT?” I discussed the importance of autonomic computing given how complicated the current system’s environment is. Today we have quite the IT conundrum—with pervasive devices, client devices, browsers, web servers, firewalls and application servers, as well as millions of configuration combinations, unknown dependencies, hardware and software version control issues, and increased security exposures. Finding skilled people to manage this system will be costly and also very difficult. Businesses simply will not be able to handle networks that are many times more complex than those in existence today.

The scenario I’ve described above indicates many of the compelling necessities for a business’s continuation, and we at IBM Research have worked and are still working to develop and think about solutions that will match the above expectations.

Moving toward a Smarter Computing system

When we talk about a Smarter Computing system by design we want to highlight and provide answers to the needs stated above. Where are we today, and how can our offerings be called smarter computing by design?

We started in the 1980s with learning systems:


We moved into the 21st century with autonomic systems:


And today we are in the cognitive systems scenario:


How a by-design system will hide the complexity

To be autonomic, a computing system needs to “know itself” and consist of components that also possess a system identity. Since a “system” can exist at many levels, an autonomic system will need detailed knowledge of its components, current status, ultimate capacity and all connections with other systems in order to govern itself. It will need to know the extent of its “owned” resources, those it can borrow or lend and those that can be shared or should be isolated.

Such a system definition might seem simple, and when computer system meant one machine filling up a whole room, or even hundreds of smaller machines networked within the walls of a company, it was. But link those hundreds of computers to millions more over the Internet, make them interdependent and allow a global audience to link back to those. . .and we have now blurred the once-clear concept of a system.

But it is precisely this awareness at an overall, system-wide level that autonomic computing requires.

A Smarter Computing system is “by design” at the origin when it is able to answer to the needs that each customer-company is highlighting in this new era of IT. Each customer has a larger potential capacity at any point in time. Technologies for end-to-end support for service level agreements (SLAs) cover a large ground—packet-level tracking and control, heterogeneous workload management across various tiers, electronic representation of SLAs, aggregation and correlation of metrics, moving processors from one user to another, application management, cluster management and so forth.

This system will easily help companies to manage their business with today’s web technologies and in the new economy, in which billions of agents behave as autonomous economic decision makers that exchange information, goods and services.

Numerous articles appearing in journals or at conferences devoted to artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems, artificial life, game theory and electronic commerce have made contributions to the theory of automated dynamic pricing. These results are well-publicized both in academic circles and in the popular press.

Our platforms (ready by design) will support the creation and interaction of economically motivated software agents and include mechanisms for registering and discovering new information, goods and services.

Enterprise IT needs to behave more like a service provider based on an infrastructure that is cloud-ready, data-ready and security-ready. IBM demonstrates this!

In the fit-for-purpose scenario, IBM has offerings that integrate hardware, software and services, in each segment of products, that will allow customers to be agile, fast and simply managed in their IT environment.

Leone Branca Leone has over 30 years experience with IBM, mainly focusing on STG sales and bringing new and emerging technologies to the European market. You can find Leone on Twitter: @Lb001Lion

Redbooks Thought Leader

Smarter Computing Analyst Paper - HurwitzTo effectively compete in today’s changing world, it is essential that companies leverage innovative technology to differentiate from competitors. Learn how you can do that and more in the Smarter Computing Analyst Paper from Hurwitz and Associates.

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