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On Data Management: Interview with Kristof Kloeckner, GM IBM Rational Software

by Roberto V. Zicari on November 30, 2011

” In the last years, our main development focus in the data management area has been on technologies that help customers turn insight into action.” – Kristof Kloeckner, IBM Corporation.

I wanted to learn about IBM`s current strategy in data management. I have interviewed Kristof Kloeckner, General Manager of IBM Rational Software, IBM Corporation.

RVZ

Q1. In your opinion, what are the most important technologies being developed and deployed in the last years that are affecting data management?

Kloeckner: In the last years, our main development focus in the data management area has been on technologies that help customers turn insight into action. Three fundamental shifts are being experienced across industries where these technology advances have been critical i) information is exploding, ii) business change is outpacing the collective ability to keep up, and iii) the performance gap between leaders and laggards/followers is widening. Successful organizations are taking a structured approach to turning insight into action through business analytics and optimization. Specifically, innovative technologies that have helped businesses optimize to address these shifts include:

1 – Competing on speed: enabling organizations to speed up decision making and processes to act in a time frame that matters to retain/attract new clients and grow revenues:

2 – Exceeding customer and employee expectations: consumer IT innovation has created high employee expectations of IT: ease of use, collaboration, and mobile access

3. – Exploiting information from everywhere – access to data wherever it resides and in any variety, any velocity, and at any volume. Advancements in Big Data technology include new compression capabilities to transparently compress data on disk to reduce disk space and storage infrastructure requirements.

4- Realize new possibilities from Analytics. Developments within analytics processing that combine and analyze information through multiple analytics services including content analytics and predictive analytics are transforming Healthcare.

5 – Governance information: addressing the pressure seen with regulatory compliance. Technology advancements with Hadoop allow multiple users to access unstructured data for governance purposes.
• Content-development workflow advancements for enterprise business glossaries enable a governed approach to build, publish, and manage enterprise vocabularies

6 – OLTP Scale Out and Availability.

Q2. In a recent keynote you introduced the concept of “Software-driven innovation”. What is it?

Kloeckner:Innovation is increasingly achieved and delivered via software. The need for innovation is key for companies trying to gain competitive advantage in today’s business environment.
In a recent IBM survey of more than 1,500 CEOs – nearly 50% of respondents called out the increased need for product and service innovation as a top concern.

Software connects people, products and information. The more interconnected, instrumented, and intelligent a product or service is, the greater its potential value is to its users. Challenges to achieving software-driven innovation derive from the complexity of interconnected systems, but also from the complexity of software delivery due to the increasingly global distribution of development teams, new models of software supply chains including outsourcing and crowdsourcing, and the reality of constantly shifting market requirements. Effective software-driven innovation requires application and systems lifecycle management with a focus on integration of processes, data and tools, collaboration across roles and organization and optimization of business outcomes through measurements and simplified governance.

Q3. You defined three elements for realizing “software-driven innovation”: Integration, Collaboration, and Optimization. Could you please elaborate on this? In particular, how is the software design and delivery lifecycle managed?

Kloeckner:Collaborative Lifecycle Management integrates tools and processes end-to-end, from requirements management to design and construction to test and verification, and ultimately, deployment.
It enables traceability of artifacts across the lifecycle, real-time planning, in-context collaboration, development analytics or ‘intelligence’ and continuous improvement. It eliminates manual hand-offs, and can lead to increased project velocity, adaptability to change and reduced project risk.

Collaborative design management brings cross-team collaboration on software and systems design and creates deep integrations across the lifecycle. Effective modeling, design and architecture are critical to developing smarter products and services.

Collaborative DevOps bridges the gap between development and deployment by sharing information between the teams, improving deployment planning and automating many deployment steps. This leads to faster delivery of solutions into production.

Collaborative Lifecycle Management, Design Management and DevOps can considerably increase business agility by accelerating software and systems delivery. They can be augmented by capabilities that further increase alignment of development with business goals, for instance through application portfolio management.

Q4. IBM recently announced a new application development collaboration software built on its Jazz development platform. What is special about Jazz?

Kloeckner:Jazz is IBM’s initiative for improving collaboration across the software & systems lifecycle Inspired by the artists who transformed musical expression, Jazz is an initiative to transform software and systems delivery by making it more collaborative, productive and transparent, through integration of information and tasks across the phases of the lifecycle. The Jazz initiative consists of three elements: Platform, Products and Community.

Jazz is built on architectural principles that represent a key departure from approaches taken in the past.
Unlike monolithic, closed platforms of the past, Jazz has an innovative approach to integration based on open, flexible services and Internet architecture (linked data). It is complemented by Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC), an industry initiative of more than 30 companies to define the interfaces for tools integration based on the principles of linked data.

Jazz is supported by a community web site (Jazz.net), as well as a cloud environment supporting university projects (JazzHub).

Q5. What about other approaches such as social networks ala Facebook? Aren’t they also a sort of collaboration platforms?

Kloeckner:Without a doubt, software delivery is a team sport, and the process of delivery becomes an instance of ‘social business’. Collaboration is vital for organizational cohesion on a global scale, but also for the sharing of best practices and artifacts. Increasingly, developers expect to use similar mechanisms to interact and share to those they are using in their personal lives.
At IBM we combine development tools such as Rational Team Concert and Rational Asset Manager with our social business platform IBM Connections to provide an infrastructure for code reuse supporting more than 30000 members in more than 1700 projects. It has a governance structure derived from Open Source which we call Community Source. The platform uses wikis, forums, blogs and other feedback and communication mechanisms.

Q6. What is IBM strategy in data management? DB2, Apache Hadoop, CloudBurst, SmartCloud Enterprise to name a few. How do they relate to each other (if any)?

Kloeckner:Our strategy is to enable the placement of data and the workloads that use it in cost-effective patterns that encompass public and private clouds as well as traditional deployment topologies.

IBM has provided enablement on both public as well as private clouds. This enablement provided easy access to IBM’s rich enterprise data management portfolio for evolving businesses. Our focus is on the enablement of deeper cloud capabilities such as the Platform as a Service and Database as a Service style features in the IBM Workload Deployer (the evolved WebSphere Cloudburst Appliance). The adoption of these technologies leads to the need to integrate with existing IT infrastructures as well as the evolving world of NoSQL.

This deeper cloud capability additionally focuses on the need to expose deeper analytical capability and insight into raw business data which is difficult to model and or understand yet. This leads to the Big Data topic. The run-time infrastructure being used for this deeper insight into this data is built on Apache Hadoop and is the basis for IBM’s Big Data product. This offering is available in a cloud offering or as a product offering. However, Big Data is allowing businesses to expand the range of information that they can do analysis on. Moreover, for this data to be useful, it often needs to tie into the more traditional Information Management world – existing operational and warehouse systems which provide the context needed to both support the broader range of analytics that Big Data enables as well as the context needed to operationalize the results.

Q7. What are the main business and technical issues related to data management when using the Cloud?

Kloeckner:There are four main issues, each of which relate to the data itself: data movement, data security, data ownership/stewardship, as well as the analysis of enormous datasets. The challenge with data movement manifests itself primarily in two ways: availability and the obvious time that it takes to transfer data between sites. The relation to availability is not immediately obvious but high speed data movement is used for replication based HA models as well as recovery scenarios that need to pull data from a remote site. The higher the bandwidth and the lower the latency, the easier it is to create a highly available data management offering on the cloud.

Data security is one place where most of the concerns surface and a lot of the enterprise companies have very sensitive data. Questions such as “Who is the group of people working behind the cloud facade and can I trust them?” are the probably the most common. Fortunately with IBM, we’ve been handling sensitive enterprise data for most of the last century. Having a reputable company to partner with to either host or protect your data in the cloud is absolutely key and it is also why many companies are reaching out to IBM as a cloud provider. Dealing with sensitive data is business as usual for us.

Related to security, is the issue around ownership and stewardship of such data in the cloud. If data is believed to be out of the control of its stakeholders, unless you can demonstrate otherwise, they may begin to lose confidence in the trust-worthiness of that information. This leads to the need for governance of such data in the cloud and tied to security of it.

Lastly, what do you do with petabytes of structured and unstructured data? Cloud and hadoop some times get interchanged in some circles, but IBM’s direction on hadoop is illustrated above with BigInsights which includes BigData and Streams products. Cloud is just as critical put serves a different role. One area that information management is focused on around clouds as an example is making it simpler for business users to build sand boxes and smaller systems in the cloud and integrate there data capture and governance with the technical IT groups that make the business data. We need to make it simple for business users, but allow IT some control over what data goes into the cloud and how long it lives.

Q8. Private cloud vs. public cloud? What is the experience of IBM on this?

Kloeckner:Clients have choices for deploying enterprise applications, and the key factors they take into consideration are not just cost or convenience, but also security, reliability, scalability, control and tooling, and a trusted vendor relationship. We find that for enterprise critical applications customers in their majority favor private (including private managed) clouds. We also find increasing adoption of IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.

IBM has a proven approach for building and managing cloud solutions, providing an integrated platform that uses the same standards and processes across the entire portfolio of products and services. IBM’s expertise and experience in designing, building and implementing cloud solutions—beginning with its own—offers clients the confidence of knowing that they are engaging not just a provider, but a trusted partner in the transformation of their IT service delivery. The IBM Cloud Computing reference architecture builds on IBM’s industry-leading experience and success in implementing SOA solutions. We have also invested in technologies that integrate cloud environments and allow clients combine services deployed in their private cloud environments with services delivered through public clouds. We believe that such hybrid environments are becoming increasingly more common.

Q9. In your opinion, will we ever have a “Trusted” Cloud?

Kloeckner:Concerns about security are the most prominent reasons that organizations cite for not adopting public cloud services. Therefore, creating more comprehensive security capabilities is a prerequisite for getting organizations to adopt public cloud-based services for more complex, business-sensitive, and demanding purposes. A recent Forrester Research reports they fully expect to see the emergence of highly secure and trusted cloud services over the next five years, during which time cloud security will grow into a $1.5 billion market and will shift from being an inhibitor to an enabler of cloud services adoption. The advent of secure cloud services will be a disruptive force in the security solutions market, challenging traditional security solution providers to revamp their architectures, partner ecosystems, and service offerings, while creating an opportunity for emerging vendors, integrators, and consultants to establish themselves.

Q10. Where do you see the data management industry heading in the next years?

Kloeckner:Across industries, technology providers and technology consumers are moving to address the exponential growth in quantity, complexity, variety, and velocity of data to enable better business insights and drive informed actions. Add to this the immediacy of the web and data in motion, the new control and influence of the individual consumer, and the fact that most companies have yet to fully exploit the raw data they have in house within the context of structured models, and you can easily discern the driving forces behind strategic moves, acquisitions and recent product announcements. The potential for business risks continue to increase as do requirements for regulatory compliance. By 2015, the information and analytics software spending is estimated to reach $74B as a result.

The consumability of core technologies such as High Performance Computing and embarrassingly parallel workloads, real-time analysis of streaming data and process flows, ease of access to analytics as services via the cloud and embedded within business processes, as well as advances in natural language interfaces will take analytics to the mainstream and to main street.. IBM’s Watson is just a hint of what is to come.

Solution delivery trends in mobile, cloud, and software as a service are driving information management technology investments to meet these demands. Evolving data access trends from traditional business applications and existing OLTP environments are extending in reach in to social media and content as an example, driving technology investments in processing Big Data as well as content and text analytics.

As technology advances in systems processing power, in-memory computing capabilities, extreme low-energy servers, and storage capabilities such as solid state drives continue to progress, data management technologies continue to advance in parallel leveraging these technologies to enable optimized workloads and consolidated platforms for cloud environments.

Both companies and consumers look for better/faster/easier access to a single best view of the truth, ability to predict the next best action. Whether it be process optimizations within a business, risk and fraud management, dramatically enhanced personalization of each customer experience, or improving the speed and accuracy of diagnosis based the full compendium of the latest research, historical data and best practices, health care, financial services, customer service, precision marketing and even auto repair will be impacted.

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Kristof Kloeckner, Ph.D., is General Manager of IBM Rational Software, IBM Corporation.
Dr. Kloeckner is responsible for all facets of the Rational Software business including strategy, marketing, sales, operations, technology development and overall financial performance. He and his global team are focused on providing the premier development and delivery solutions for transforming business through software-driven innovation. Dr. Kloeckner is based in Somers, New York.

Resources

- ODBMS.org: Free Downloads and Links on various data management technologies and analytics.

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- Analytics at eBay. An interview with Tom Fastner.

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