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IBM Cognitive Storage Support Promises to Reduce Customers’ Technical Issues and Support Costs

When IBM originally announced Cognitive Storage as a future direction in April 2016, it was unclear where the company would take the technology. Was this to be a smarter version of storage tiering, in which data would be stored on a storage system and medium based on its calculated value? Or would the technology be used to enable other use cases?

It turns out that both of these are true. In IBM’s latest statement of direction, announced towards the end of October, the company revealed that cognitive capabilities will be added to its cloud-based storage management platform, IBM Spectrum Control Storage Insights. This new functionality will enable device and system metadata to be streamed virtually in real time from IBM storage arrays to the cloud, where it will be anonymized and combined with metadata from the entire universe of installed IBM storage systems, and then analyzed using AI-driven, self-learning technologies. IBM will be pairing this cognitive computing functionality with IBM storage support, allowing support engineers to identify and diagnose what’s going on in a customer’s environment, utilizing the intelligence accumulated across many different customer installations and support situations over time.

So, for example, if a customer’s storage system is beginning to experience health issues or run out of capacity, IBM support engineers will be able to recognize the symptoms of the developing issues in advance, and in most cases take action to correct the issues before the customer even realizes what’s happening. Those actions might include dispatching an engineer to take care of a hardware defect or maintenance issue, or remotely adjusting system configuration parameters. As IBM Cognitive Storage gains experience and “self-learns” from processing many millions of telemetry-driven data points across a wide range of storage systems and customer environments, a greater percentage of potential storage system issues will be recognized automatically, and addressed in an automated fashion without direct human intervention. Over time, IBM Cognitive Storage should greatly reduce both the number of reported (and customer-visible) support issues, as well as the time needed to resolve the stickier problems.

IBM’s vision is that Cognitive Storage will ultimately enable self-governing storage, in which the systems can self-adjust and self-repair issues before they turn into serious problems, without the involvement of a human support engineer. That vision may be a bit aggressive, but if IBM’s experience is similar to that of HPE with its Nimble Storage InfoSight technology, the company will likely reap significant dividends from this investment over time. If IBM Cognitive Storage support can anticipate, address and eliminate 90% of customer issues before they become problems, they will have reduced IBM’s storage burden by an order of magnitude, and more importantly, boosted customer satisfaction and retention rates. That’s an outcome that everyone can sign up for.

  • Premiered: 11/13/17
  • Author: Jeff Byrne
Topic(s): IBM Storage Cloud Management AI Cognitive Computing Big Data


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