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Pardon the pun, but there’s nothing elementary about IBM’s newly formed, New York City-based Watson Business Unit (BU).

IBM is committing $1 billion and 2,000 employees, as well as its considerable research and development (R&D) talents and marketing muscle to Watson, thus putting the full weight of its global technology and services brand behind the newly formed BU and initiative.

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty said that Michael Rhodin, most recently SVP of IBM’s Software Solutions Group, will take charge of the Watson Group. According to Rometty, the company established Watson as a separate BU based on the strong demand for cognitive computing. The IBM Watson Group will develop cloud-based technologies that can power services for businesses, industries and consumers.

Rometty also said the new IBM Watson Group notably integrates design, services, core functions, technologies, and a fully formed ecosystem which includes a design lab as well as hundreds of outside external partner applicants, foundations and advisors. All of these elements are crucial if Watson is to succeed.

One of the most daunting and off-putting challenges for any enterprise IT department is how to efficiently plan and effectively manage cloud deployments or upgrades while still maintaining the reliability and availability of the existing infrastructure during the rollout.

IBM solves this issue with its newly released Platform Resource Scheduler which is part of the company’s Platform Computing portfolio and an offering within the IBM Software Defined Environment (SDE) vision for next generation cloud automation. The Platform Resource Scheduler is a prescriptive set of services designed to ensure that enterprise IT departments get a trouble-free transition to a private, public or private cloud environment by automating the most common placement and policy procedures of their virtual machines (VMs). It also helps guarantee quality of service while greatly reducing the most typical human errors that occur when IT administrators manually perform tasks like load balancing and memory balancing. The Platform Resource Scheduler is sold with IBM’s SmartCloud Orchestrator and PowerVC and is available as an add-on with IBM SmartCloud Open Stack Entry products. It also features full compatibility with Nova APIs and fits into all IBM OpenStack environments. It is built on open APIs, tools and technologies to maximize client value, skills availability and easy reuse across hybrid cloud environments. It supports heterogeneous (both IBM and non-IBM) infrastructures and runs on Linux, UNIX and Windows as well as IBM’s zOS operating systems.

IBM AIX v7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Highest Security Marks

Nine out of 10 — 90% — of the 470 respondents to ITIC’s 2010-2011 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey rated the security of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 R2 and IBM’s AIX v7 as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” This was the highest security ratings out of 18 different Server Operating System distributions (See Exhibit below). Three-quarters or 75% of survey participants gave HP UX 11i v3 “Excellent” or “Very Good” security ratings; this was the third highest ranking of the 18 major server OS distributions polled. This was followed by Ubuntu Server 10 and Debian GNU/Linux 5, which tied for fourth. Seven out of 10 survey participants — 71% — of those polled ranked the two most popular open source distributions’ security as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” Red Hat Enterprise Linux v 5.5 and Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise 11, the two most widely deployed Linux distributions trailed Debian and Ubuntu but were nearly tied with each other in security rankings. Just over two-thirds — 67% — of Red Hat users rated its security as “Excellent or Very Good” while 66% of survey participants judging Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise 11 security to be “Excellent” or “Very Good.”

Some 58% of Apple Mac OS X 10.6 survey respondents rated its security as “Excellent” or “Very Good,” putting it at the bottom of the pack, beating only Oracle’s Solaris 10 which was rated “Excellent” or “Very Good” by 63% of respondents, which in the past two years has been notching modest gains among corporate users.

Also noteworthy was the fact that only a very small percentage of respondents gave thumbs down “Poor” or “Unsatisfactory” security grades to their server operating system vendors. In this category, Apple had the highest percentage of respondents – 7% — who gave its Mac OS X 10.6 both “Poor” and “Unsatisfactory” marks. This might appear puzzling to some since Apple’s users have long touted the security of the platform. Apple users have long boasted about the fact that there are far fewer viruses and malicious code written targeting Macs compared to Windows. However, now that Apple is once again re-emerging as a significant presence in corporate networks, the Mac OS X 10.6 will no longer enjoy the “security by obscurity” that it claimed as a standalone consumer OS. Macs, iPhones, iPads and tablets are becoming mainstream staples as business tools. Hence, the number of exploits, including such malware as worms, Trojans and bots that target the Mac is increasing commensurately. Apple will have to respond accordingly with tighter security.