IBM doubles down on data with four new cloud tools

One helps developers build machine-learning models into their applications

Data is what makes today's business world go 'round, and IBM on Thursday launched a suite of new tools designed to help companies make the most of what they've got.

Targeting developers and data scientists, the four new offerings are part of IBM's Cloud Data Services portfolio.

First, IBM Graph is a fully managed graph database service built on the open-source Apache TinkerPop graph-computing framework. Developers can use it to extend business-ready apps with real-time recommendations, fraud detection, or IoT and network-analysis features.

An e-retailer, for example, could use the tool to suggest compelling purchase pairings to its customers.

"By treating data in its natural state rather than breaking it into formal structures, IBM Graph will enable users to uncover previously hidden patterns in large data sets," Derek Schoettle, general manager for IBM Analytics Platform Services, said in a blog post.

IBM Compose Enterprise, meanwhile, is a managed platform designed to speed the development of Web-scale apps by enabling teams to deploy open-source databases quickly on their own dedicated cloud servers. Essentially, the database-as-a-service tool creates a single point of access to seven open-source databases, including MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch and PostgreSQL. It comes with 24/7 support and automated features for developers and IT teams across nearly any cloud platform, Schoettle said.

IBM Predictive Analytics is a new service that allows developers to build machine-learning models into applications for built-in predictive capabilities.

Finally, IBM Analytics Exchange is a self-service marketplace that includes more than 150 publicly available data sets that can be used for analysis or be integrated into applications. The data sets listed are fully cleaned and ready to use, according to Schoettle. They include government, economic and environmental data.

"IBM has significantly tightened the connections between its cloud and analytics technologies and extended its support of and investments in Apache Spark," said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. "That should pay substantial dividends to both IBM and its customers over time."

By providing the new Graph tool as a managed service, IBM gives customers a way to easily adopt and scale their use at a pace that suits their budget and requirements.

Other vendors compete in the area, but few have the resources or have demonstrated the commitment to cloud and cognitive computing that IBM has, King added.

"The challenge for IBM will be in staying the course during the time it takes for customers and prospects to understand the value of these technologies," he said. "It's a long game, but one IBM is well experienced in playing."

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