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A Cloud Pak for Data fairy tale

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A fairy tale of the Cloud kingdom’s perfect library system – Cloud Pak for Data and why freedom of choice matters

Once upon a time, in a kingdom on a planet far, far away, there was a young man who had inherited a second-hand bookstore from his parents. The bookstore’s shelves were filled with books, but due to the recession, the sales were not enough to put food on the table. There was no public library in the kingdom, as the king did not believe in such fripperies. Our heir, however, was intelligent and ambitious, so he decided to open a private library and make use of the volumes there. The king had known the departed second-hand bookstore owners well, and consequently gave his permission to open a library.

First, the heir had to find suitable facilities for the library. There were many fine pieces of real estate in the capital of the kingdom, each one more exquisite than the last. The prices were extremely low as the owners wanted to get paying tenants at any cost. After careful examination, the heir found only three options that would be suitable for library services. After all, the inherited bookstore did not only come with books, but also with a big selection of audio and visual recordings. These set their own requirements for the facilities in demand.

Could a school become suitable real estate for a bookstore?

One of the local schools was emptied to save costs, and the king’s officials were trying their hardest to sell it:

“The classrooms could be named according to book themes, and the gym could be used for the uncategorized material. You won’t be able to find a cheaper storage space in the city, but unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the price of the rent after the first year. In addition, we will transport all your books to the school building for a nominal charge of one percent of a thaler per volume. Yes, we can also transport your books out, if you later wish to give up this magnificent property. Oh, what would that cost? Well, we’d only charge you our costs, which would be a thaler per book at most. And I’m sure you wouldn’t want to leave a building this great.”

Would a grocery store be a better option?

The city’s biggest grocery shopkeeper had an old empty market space. The shopkeeper made a good offer: “I can offer everything the school officials offered you, but the rent is slightly higher. However, the overall costs are notably lower, because I can offer you the store’s storage and shop control system to use for the entire duration of the rental contract. This will make a fine library system, and I already have a subcontractor in mind that can tailor the system to your needs. Then it will have excellent tools to categorize, search and manage books. No, I can only guarantee the price of the rent for two years. I cannot sell you the library system either, and as a matter of fact, you couldn’t use it anywhere else anyways, as the warehouse logistics, shelf information boards and all modern technology is fully integrated in the construction that is being rented out. And I’m sure you wouldn’t want to leave a building this great.”

Is the third offer even real?

The third offer was strange. The heir almost turned it down without thinking twice. You see, in addition to their own decently nice building, the entrepreneur offered the buildings of their competitors. Did the entrepreneur not believe the property was competitive enough, or why else would they claim that you would be able to use other competitive options as well? Then the heir noticed something surprising in the offer print: “There will be many empty spaces in the city now and in the recent years. You can always choose the current best and cheapest offer, and transportation costs will be around one percent of a thaler per volume, which is a small cost in comparison to the rent. Please note that you will need a library system that can cater for all modern needs. Our solution utilizes the latest novelties in the kingdom, including the magical information system of the magic and wizard network and a carrier-pigeon-based booking system. The books will be delivered by squadron of eagles within two days of the order. However, the Bibles and other heavier volumes will be delivered by horse couriers within one week of the order.”

This sounded good, but the shopkeeper’s system had many similarities. The heir continued reading:

“Our library system can easily be transferred along with the books to wherever you wish, because they are built on a new “Red Hat” platform solution. The “Red Hats” have explored all the kingdom’s semi-magical and wizard-controlled abacuses and other calculation systems and fitted a platform solution to suit their abacus interface. If you want to be a successful bookstore owner, you will get my system and use in the way described above. In this case, I wish you good luck to your new bookstore.”

DID YOU READ: How cloud and AI work together

Hard choice

“There is another opportunity. As you may have noticed, inside this offer envelope is another sealed envelope, which has this written on it: Under no circumstances should this be opened before you have read my letter in the first envelope!

If you know what you want in life, forget the other letter. Open a library, get a spouse and children and live happily ever after.

If you open the other envelope, nothing will ever be the same. The curtain around this Cloud kingdom will fall in front of your eyes, and you will see a future could never have imagined.”

The heir hesitated and examined the envelope carefully in his hands. Then, he opened the envelope with determination. There was another letter. He read its mysterious content with greed.

New reality is unveiled

“My company is from a foreign kingdom far away that exists in a world very different from your own. The word about us had traveled to your king, and he approached me when he learned about your library idea. The court magician told him that you are the chosen one and can lead our kingdom to a new era, but only, if you wish to do so. You must make the final decision once you have understood what I have to say.

Now, let’s forget about the library for a minute. Of course, it is important that your subjects get a chance to learn and dream, and what better way is there than reading. However, now we have far more important things to consider. Unlike other kingdoms, yours is based on an elective process. And your king genuinely cares about his subjects. The fact that his popularity is measured through an election every few years does play a part of course.

The king wants to understand what his subjects want to become, what they dream about and what makes them happy. What better way to do this than to read their thoughts? The court magician told the king that this is a part of everyday life in the world that I and my system represent.

To be more specific, we do not read people’s thoughts. Who would want that? And let alone the technical difficulties that would bring. Instead, we analyze subjects’ thoughts based on their actions. Let’s take all the possibilities that a library can offer as an example. The thoughts concerning searching and borrowing books reflect on people’s wants and needs. Every search word or booking entered into the library system is like a small nugget of information. One will not satisfy your hunger, but in greater amounts, it will reveal the subjects’ deepest desires.

To collect enough nuggets of information, you will need the help of the hard-working army of algorithms that will self-educate and work from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn collecting information as they do not require any sleep. The algorithms can also look for stored information and offer that to researchers. The algorithms should not, however, be left to fend for themselves. You need to advise them to categorize and store the nuggets.  Without strict discipline, the algorithms can grow into big nugget mountains that will eventually collapse drowning the researchers.

Your king wants to promote the new principles of enlightenment unlike many of the autocrats in the neighboring kingdoms. For this reason, it is important to constantly steer your army of algorithms into the right direction. You see, it is prone to inherent laziness just like any other army. Without constant steering, it will try to avoid extra work and make recommendations based on the same old information. A coffee break in the military dining facility is always a better option than making an ethical call in the training grounds, especially if you have not been taught what ethics is.

Your enlightened king also understands the risks involved in your new system, if it was to end up in the wrong hands. The autocrats from the neighboring kingdoms would be more than happy to use the new technology to enslave their subjects. It would also be disastrous if the information of your subjects were to end up in the hands of your enemies. Unfortunately, we have had plenty of experience in this from our world. The system has, therefore, been prepared for these sad circumstances.

Now, you must decide whether you are happy to delight your subjects by simply opening a library, or would you rather use the library to change your kingdom. The latter needs a lot of work, but it will offer your business and ruler understanding and the means to develop your country into a kingdom of happy subjects.”

The end of the Cloud Pak for Data fairy tale

You can guess how the story ends. In real life, our heir would, of course, have chosen the solution that is the prototype in our fairy tale: IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

With this, he could have been able to utilize the best cloud services (cf. library facilities) with the best terms without the necessity to commit to one single provider.

With the chosen integrated comprehensive solution, the controlled, ethical and secure analysis of the library customers would have given the opportunity to change the world.

If you want a happy ending to your story, read more about our offer for Cloud Pak for Data and contact me at hannu.lopponen@fi.ibm.com

Data and AI Sales, IBM Finland

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