IBM released a number of new solutions designed to help enterprises harness the power of artificial intelligence. The company announced IBM Watson Data Kit and revealed new offerings with Apple at its technology conference IBM Think 2018 in Las Vegas this week.IBM Watson Data Kits is designed to accelerate the development of AI applications and enable business leaders to make more informed decisions with machine-readable and industry-specific data.According to the company, data scientists spend about 79 percent of the time collecting and mining data, which makes it difficult for businesses to implement AI technology at scale. The Watson Data Kits aims to help streamline the development process and drive business value with rich insights and more engaging consumer experiences. “Big data is fueling the cognitive era. However, businesses need the right data to truly drive innovation,” said Kristen Lauria, general manager of Watson Media and Content. “IBM Watson Data Kits can help bridge that gap by providing the machine-readable, pre-trained data companies require to accelerate AI development and lead to a faster time to insight and value. Data is hard, but Watson can make it easier for stakeholders at every level, from CIOs to data scientists.” Watson Data Kits will be available in the second quarter of this year and will initially server travel, transportation and food industries. IBM also released new solutions with Apple to help enterprises harness the power of AI. Together, the companies have combined their AI and machine learning technologies to create the IBM Watson Services for Core ML. IBM Watson Services for Core ML enables developers to build secure AI apps that provide leaders with real-time insights. Apps built with this solution will be able to learn from every user activity so they get smarter over time, according to the company. IBM’s visual recognition model, Watson Visual Recognition Service, will be the first model available on this solution, able to be exported to Core ML and run on Apple devices. The two companies have also released a new developer console that will allow Swift developers to link to the IBM Cloud. The IBM Cloud Developer Console for Apple will provide a step-by-step guide for developers of all levels, integration with AI data and mobile services optimized for Swift, and provide an IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Starter Kit for “iOS developers to safeguard credentials, services, and data using the IBM Cloud Hyper Protect services,” according to IBM.Other announcements from the conference included the IBM Cloud Hper Protect Crypto Services, IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Containers, and a new partnership with VMware.
Advancing DevOps was a key theme at the recent Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco. The most significant developments included the launch of the company’s Anthos hybrid extension of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to Cloud Run, a new Knative serverless offering running in its Kubernetes service in the pipeline and various other tools to simplify DevOps.DevOps, and what Google describes as a “shared fate” philosophy among IT ops teams and developers, was a key focus of the developer keynote session at Next. Leading that keynote was Adam Seligman, Google’s VP of developer relations, who oversees everything from the GCP cloud portfolio, Kubernetes, Auto ML and even gaming. Just before going on stage, Seligman sat down with SD Times, where we discussed Google’s efforts to expand DevOps capabilities. Some comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.SD Times: Are you seeing enterprise customers considering GCP more seriously than in the past?Seligman: We’re seeing increased enterprise adoption of GCP at a faster pace. I’m getting pulled into CIO meetings and they say: “Train my 20,000 developers around the world, our bank is going big in the cloud, get us skilled up.” Also, not just the technology, they want to learn the practices and cultural stuff.Presuming they have worked with other clouds in some form, what are enterprise customers looking for that’s unique to GCP?There are other cloud platforms out there, but candidly it still feels like really early. And developer teams are trying to learn about productivity, DevOps culture, about operating services and SRE [Site Reliability Engineering]. There’s this whole journey there on skills beyond just the technology itself.And in terms of skilling, what do they need to do to get to a DevOps model?There are really two parts: the first part is all this infrastructure automation and here we’re talking about containers. And Anthos raises the water line of infrastructure. Now they have this really awesome container infrastructure, where everything within that container world is managed by the cloud provider. And one of things we announced is that it is going to be managed by us, whether it’s in GCP, or it’s on-premises. And app dev teams can really go target that. They’re not responsible for these clusters of containers, they’re responsible for their app, and delivering a service. The second theme is helping these dev teams become super-productive and to shift to modern practices, doing DevOps. They don’t write an application, they deliver a service. Their job is to create this great service, get traffic routed to it, monitor it, test, canaries, have new features, keep the service reliable, stay within your error budgets, implement good survivability practices and all those kind of cultural things that are needed to operate a service, not just write an application.In this mindset, do developers become more involved in the operations side of things?Absolutely. And it’s a big cultural shift. Instead of throwing it over the fence and an ops team is supposed to figure it all out, we use a term here at Google called “shared fate,” which means the developers and operators and everyone else involved shares the same fate. This includes shared visibility into metrics, shared blameless postmortems and a lot of transparency, because the whole team is in it together operating this service.How does Anthos and Cloud Run on GKE change the world for both IT ops teams and developers?The spirit of Anthos is to help customers accelerate their cloud journey. And there’s two parts to that: one is using cloud infrastructure like actually researching the clouds inside of their data center. But another thing is using the cloud software and patterns inside their data center. The Anthos announcement is about bringing both those things together: this great managed GKE [Google Kubernetes Engine] infrastructure in the cloud, totally parallel-managed with GKE infrastructure on-premises. Managed containers is the new water line for application development in your company. Period, whether it’s cloud or on-premises. But this sets up the second part, which is developers now have something modern with a new target. And for regulatory requirements, whether they need to run an application in-house inside their data center, that’s totally fine. But it’s a managed GKE service and they can use tools like Cloud Run to deploy to it. Now, you take any code, package it up, and then run it in a serverless model where researchers only burn the things that do the computation and we will manage the event routing, elastic scale, all of these new serverless capabilities that people want and we will bring it to them in both the cloud and in-house. What’s your take on service mesh architectures? Clearly Google has taken a leadership role in the Istio service mesh project.It’s really early days for service mesh architectures. The really big ‘a-ha’ in Istio and the class of service mesh technologies like that, is it’s a proxy, and you can just inject it in your app. And suddenly your observability level goes way up, because suddenly you can see all the traffic and suddenly you can add security policy, service naming and discovery. You go from being in a fog to having a whole bunch of observability into how your app works. And I think that’s really, really exciting for developers.What about other service center architectures? Linkerd, HashiCorp’s Consul, and of course you know that F5 recently announced it is acquiring NGINX. Is there room for all these different service mesh architectures?I don’t think there’s one service mesh to rule them all. But for every use case, we’re pushing really hard and Istio is building a great open-source community around it. I think Istio has got a really bright future. I bet there’ll be more than one. There usually is in an open-source world, we’re really focused on Istio right now.Of course, Kubernetes played a key role in paving the way for Istio. Are you surprised at the surge in Kubernetes support over the past year or so?Kubernetes seems to be the core of everyone’s container infrastructure right now. And I think it’s good. It’s becoming like the new Linux from the perspective that it’s the standard platform for everyone to use. Now everyone has a managed container infrastructure. This lets app developers have lots of fun and just focus on their apps and services.In the keynote demo when they showed the sharing of an app between GCP and AWS using Anthos, how will that work?It was a preview of where we’re going, and it showed us managing containers on VMs.Is it technically feasible to do that in a serverless scenario as well?The thing I would just generally say is serverless is super-exciting. Our investment with Knative is to help bring serverless to the container world to add those benefits — not burning up resources when the app is not running. Just fast spin-up time, event routing, monitoring, security policy, all that to get that nice serverless kind of workflow but running on a container infrastructure. And our vision is to manage that container infrastructure, on Google Cloud, on-premises and in the future, multi-cloud.How will the new Cloud Code tool work?It lets the developer sit in the IDE of their choice, either VS Code or IntelliJ, and make all the automation to go from code to containers deployed. Super, super easy. The takeaway is really to let developers work the way they want to work. Using IDEs is super-important. Deploying the containers is super-important. But let’s remove all the toil and the pain. You shouldn’t have to be an expert in Kubernetes to deploy Kubernetes, infrastructure should be managed and we provide that for you. So that’s kind of the vision.