Summary of 2012 IBM Technical World for Smarter Computing Conference

I just returned from the 2012 IBM Technical World for Smarter Computing Conference that took place from April 15 – 19 in San Francisco. I want to share my impressions with you, while they are still fresh in my mind.

This conference consisted of three events happening at the same time:

  • IBM SmartCloud Symposium
  • IBM Power Systems Technical Symposium
  • IBM System z Technical Symposium

IBM SmartCloud Symposium, which I attended, was new for this year. This was a great opportunity to meet with cloud experts from IBM and IBM Partners, learn about the leading-edge cloud solutions, and see trends in the cloud industry.

The cloud sessions in IBM SmartCloud Symposium were grouped in six categories:

  • Cloud Business
  • Cloud Infrastructure – Cross Brand
  • Cloud Infrastructure – Systems Networking
  • Cloud Infrastructure – Solutions
  • Cloud Infrastructure – Cloud Security
  • Cloud Infrastructure – Storage

Although this conference was organized by the IBM STG Division, cloud sessions were a good blend of sessions on cloud offerings from all IBM Divisions and IBM Partners. The focus was more on the IBM SmartCloud Foundation layer (Private and Hybrid Clouds) as shown in the figure.

The keynote speakers were Terri Virnig, Vice President, STG Business Line Executive, and Jeff Jonas, IBM Fellow Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics.

Terri’s session focused on IBM PureSystems.  The following figure, which was one of her initial slides, shows the three main characteristics of IBM PureSystems:

  • Built-in Expertise
  • Integration by Design
  • Simplified Experience

Terri went into details of these points and presented some impressive statistics about IBM PureSystems. For example, “IBM PureSystems is a result of over $2B in R&D and acquisitions over 3 years, millions of development hours across 37 labs in 17 countries.”

When I had received my Conference Guide, I wondered why there were blank spaces on the sessions agenda in the guide. I later learned that those were placeholders for IBM PureSystems sessions. Because IBM PureSystems was just announced on April 11, it was confidential at the time of printing the Conference Guides.

Jeff Jonas was the second keynote speaker. Jeff is IBM Chief Scientist on Entity Analytics. His presentation, which was about how to turn your company’s constantly growing data into useful information, was very informative and hilarious. Some time ago I had read his blog post, “Big Data. Deep Analytics. New Physics,” and his presentation was an expanded version of the ideas presented in this post.  The following quotation is from his presentation, which stresses the importance of real-time sense and response versus batch analytics processing:

“The most competitive organizations are going to make sense of what they are observing fast enough to do something about it while they are observing it.”

There were a lot solutions presented in the Solutions Center from IBM and IBM Partners including a number of exhibitions on cloud computing and most of them were quite interesting.

I was also pleased to meet with my fellow bloggers Megan Irvine (@mirv_pgh) and Bob Oesterlin (@rstbob). Megan presented a session called “Cloud and Social Media,” where she gave tips about using social media for business purposes and talked about her own experiences with social media, including how she started contributing for the Thoughts on Cloud blog.

In summary, the IBM SmartCloud Symposium was a very informative event.  The onsite sessions were valuable to be able to connect with cloud leaders from IBM and IBM Partners. In the same week, another cloud-related conference was held in San Francisco: OpenStack Design Summit and Conference. So, maybe in the coming years we will see a schedule change that would allow people to attend to both conferences (especially now that IBM has joined the OpenStack).

Overall, a great conference!

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