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A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
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24 February 20142
White Paper
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watso...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
1
Abstract
The concept behind DevOps is getting Developers and Ope...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
2
Watson is ushering in a new era in computing
Founded 103 years a...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
3
They are looking for a combination of human intuition and machin...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
4
Watson business announcement, January 2014
In January 2014, IBM ...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
5
Delivering the cognitive experience to the masses
As part of the...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
6
DevOps approach speeds IBM Watson solutions to market
DevOps has...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
7
employed. Collectively this is referred to ‘faster, cheaper, bet...
A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
8
IBM’s Watson ecosystem and the Venture Capital fund
There are a ...
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www.rational-ug.org
Tweet with Us @RationalUC #rationaluc
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White Paper: A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market

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The growth in DevOps is a response to the increasing awareness that this disconnect often manifests itself as conflict and inefficiency; the requirement being the reverse when in terms of the IT function supporting the achievement of organizational goals. The IT function requires agile development leading to improvements in quality, efficiency and effectiveness.

IBM defines DevOps as an enterprise capability for continuous software delivery that can enable organizations to seize market opportunities, respond more rapidly to customer feedback, and balance speed, cost, quality and risk. By applying lean and agile principles across the software delivery lifecycle, DevOps helps organizations deliver a differentiated and engaging customer experience, achieve quicker time to value, and gain increased capacity to innovate.

Watson is IBM’s cognitive computing system, capable of reading and understanding enormous sets of unstructured data, and then generating confidence-ranked responses to questions about that data,posed in natural language. Famously, the computer system was specifically developed to answer questions on the Jeopardy! quiz show received the first prize of $1 million. Since Jeopardy! IBM Watson has announced deployments within the arena of healthcare with companies like MD Andersen, WellPoint and Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center on multiple areas such as cancer treatment.

This white paper is based on a webcast presentation to the Global Rational User Community by Carson Holmes, Executive Vice President of Software Development Experts and Carl Kraenzel, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Director of Watson Cloud Technology and Support.

View the DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market Audience Q&A blog post: https://rational-ug.org/community-groups/find-a-virtual-or-global-group/vruc_watson/b/weblog/archive/2014/04/25/a-devops-approach-speeds-ibm-watson-solutions-to-market-audience-q-amp-a.aspx

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White Paper: A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market

  1. 1. Join the Community www.rational-ug.org Tweet with Us @RationalUC #rationaluc www.twitter.com/rationaluc Join Our Group on LinkedIn: Global Rational User Community https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Global-Rational-User-Community-GRUC-120486/about Connect with Us on Google+ https://plus.google.com/+RationalugOrgGlobal/posts
  2. 2. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 0 24 February 20142 White Paper A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market
  3. 3. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 1 Abstract The concept behind DevOps is getting Developers and Operations staff to work closely together to benefit the business. The goal is to reduce friction and increase velocity between one side (Developers) that wants change and the other side (Operations) that wants stability. The growth in DevOps is a response to the increasing awareness that this disconnect often manifests itself as conflict and inefficiency; the requirement being the reverse when in terms of the IT function supporting the achievement of organizational goals. The IT function requires agile development leading to improvements in quality, efficiency and effectiveness. IBM defines DevOps as an enterprise capability for continuous software delivery that can enable organizations to seize market opportunities, respond more rapidly to customer feedback, and balance speed, cost, quality and risk. By applying lean and agile principles across the software delivery lifecycle, DevOps helps organizations deliver a differentiated and engaging customer experience, achieve quicker time to value, and gain increased capacity to innovate. Watson is IBM’s cognitive computing system, capable of reading and understanding enormous sets of unstructured data, and then generating confidence-ranked responses to questions about that data, posed in natural language. Famously, the computer system was specifically developed to answer questions on the Jeopardy! quiz show received the first prize of $1 million. Since Jeopardy! IBM Watson has announced deployments within the arena of healthcare with companies like MD Andersen, WellPoint and Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center on multiple areas such as cancer treatment. __________________________________________________________________________ This white paper is based on a webcast presentation to the Global Rational User Community by Carson Holmes, Executive Vice President of Software Development Experts and Carl Kraenzel, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Director of Watson Cloud Technology and Support. In this webcast, Carson and Carl discussed how the IBM DevOps solutions, including the use of the Rational Team Concert, enabled continuous software delivery and continuous innovation for Watson Solutions and allows the Development Team to jointly deal with the constant requirement for change.
  4. 4. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 2 Watson is ushering in a new era in computing Founded 103 years ago, the first IBM machines were used to tabulate numbers; it was all about helping businesses add up data. Around the 1950s, the company got into the programmable systems era with tape machines and ways to compute and that grew into today’s systems of databases and other applications. The majority of computing in that class is still about input and output of well-structured data. Then came the explosion of unstructured data and the web where more and more text was being combined with the programmable data systems. This created the first systems of engagement and the cognitive era was born. The problem which was being created now though was that all of the additional unstructured content was dwarfing the world of structured content leading to a ‘needle in the haystack’ situation. What the need now became was for computers to be able to support the fundamental task of cognition, by handling expansive sets of data and information, surfacing patterns and insights contained within that data, and helping people to make sense of it all, all at massive scale. This created both huge challenges and opportunities for the entire industry. Organizations are now seeking the next ground-breaking application that can move them beyond the restraints of standardized menus and responses to have an intelligent, interactive dialogue with the user.
  5. 5. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 3 They are looking for a combination of human intuition and machine intelligence that possesses the ability to answer questions they were previously unable to answer. Watson is opening up a world of new possibilities Despite Watson’s celebrity status from the Jeopardy! broadcast, the goal is not just to play games. Four years of research went into the taking part in that show. After that, from 2011 to 2013, Watson went through first the incremental proofs of making sure that this technology was meaningful outside of a game, in other words that it could operate in ‘real world’ scenarios, as well. This was scaling it up into what are now considered cognitive products. During 2013, the IBM Watson Group announced their first product offerings that are horizontal and domain- specific. Now in 2014, this has expanded into an ecosystem play you would see around any of the other platforms that are dominant for the industry, such as the J2EE platform. We see a cognitive ecosystem that has Watson at the heart of it bringing in a new era of computing for all of us. Being able to leverage content from a number of resources helps extend the power of the cognitive applications beyond a vertical. An ecosystem promotes the growth of both content and cognitive applications by using the content to help increase the relevance of the answers and enhance user guidance. The Watson ecosystem provides a symbiotic environment to catalyse competition and innovation, serving as a platform for businesses to potentially thrive in the adoption of cognitive functions in their applications.
  6. 6. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 4 Watson business announcement, January 2014 In January 2014, IBM made a major announcement regarding this next era of computing. After five years of research and two years of testing in the marketplace, the IBM Watson Group has been formed. With a new HQ in Silicon Alley, there is easy access to clients and dialogue on this technology is now on center stage. The organization is setting up a 100 million dollar venture capital fund for partners to work with the Watson platform, but the investment goes much deeper. Throughout IBM there will be thousands of developers working on the technology under a billion dollar investment. Also there will be new offerings based upon the Watson technology broadening what Watson is and does.
  7. 7. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 5 Delivering the cognitive experience to the masses As part of the ecosystem concept, other direct offerings are being brought to the marketplace like Watson Engagement Advisor. For partners in the ecosystem environment, there is a Developer Cloud, a Content Store and a Talent Hub. All of this is about enabling an ecosystem of ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) and content and delivery partners to bring cognitive solutions into different industries and markets. IBM has deployed some Advisor solutions with major healthcare companies, such as WellPoint and M.D. Anderson Cancer Centers. These have been in production with WellPoint for well over a year and that version of Watson is helping many hundreds of nurses when they have to look at requests for everything from approval of knee braces to MRIs to sinus surgery and beyond. For them to answer those questions and approve the procedure quickly has a big impact of the cost of the healthcare. Watson helps the nurses by reading through all the policy manuals as well as the insurance that applies to the patient involved, together with the request from the physician’s office. It matches all of that together and gives the salient information to the nurse for them to make the decision. Watson never makes medical decisions, but instead provides the key salient pieces needed by the nurse with anything irrelevant stripped out. Even if there is a key item missing like gender, Watson highlights that, so that the nurse can quickly resolve the question. So Watson is good at reading lots of text and helping to find answers, but this shouldn’t be confused with ‘search’. With the latter key words are entered and the user gets hits that are near what they are looking for. The relevant keywords are often impossible to know. If your question doesn’t yield to a keyword search, how are you going to find the answer? Watson understands the full meaning of a question, in the context in which it's presented.
  8. 8. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 6 DevOps approach speeds IBM Watson solutions to market DevOps has been at the heart of how Watson has been progressed for the last couple of years. When the technology was handed over by the research team, the decision was made to bring it to the marketplace as ‘Software as a Service’ and ‘Platform as a Service’. This was seen as the best basis to accelerate it into the marketplace using quick developments with maximum impact. Interestingly though, the DevOps approach was not a conscious decision. The desire was for rapid delivery, compact release cycles, no down time and the realization came, as pointed out by the Rational Team, that a DevOps way of working had naturally evolved based on the objectives and goals that were set. At the heart of the developments has been the IBM Power® 750, the hardware platform that has been fundamental for Watson. The Power technology and hardware platform underneath Watson has provided numerous benefits around throughput, input/output processing and excellent usage of memory. Yet most valuable for DevOps was its incredible support for rolling upgrades. Rational has helped execute a DevOps methodology and given guidance. Even though Watson development team ‘backed into’ DevOps, this was done with a lot of good advice. It started out with a team of engineers that focused on creating a common platform foundation of the software and another team that took on the common Watson software platform and configured a particular ‘flavor’ of Watson, say, for oncologists. Each of those configurations is posted on the Watson cloud, allowing them to be used by the customers and partners. It may be that a flavor of Watson is put into a given solution, maybe a CRM solution, or perhaps there are partners that have content that would be more valuable to if they have Watson attached. In the cycle of the development, the platform team hands it to the application solutions team that hands it to the cloud operations support team. Methods to do that more quickly and more effectively were then
  9. 9. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 7 employed. Collectively this is referred to ‘faster, cheaper, better’, meaning faster delivery times, shorter delivery cycles leading to reduced cost, better application function and capability. The goal to reduce ‘up’ cycle times from a month to weeks in terms of getting updates out meant that first and most fundamentally, there was a need for all involved teams to talk to each other and collaborate very efficiently. So, Rational Team Concert (RTC) has been the ideal repository for the common requirements and the work flow associated with that requirement, so that improvements could be manifested very pragmatically. One thing about what was done here that is different from other cases where RTC has been applied relates to the Operations team. The Ops part of DevOps really works when the Operations team has full and complete access and involvement with the requirements. RTC is not just the tool for development. The key learning point here is that if there is an organization that wants to do DevOps properly, the boundary between the Development teams and Operations teams should be removed. A key way to do that is to give them common tools and methods. Another thing that the Watson team did was to build a bottom-up cost model that tracked how much labor was involved to manage the software, how much labor involved to support it, how often updates were undertaken and what was the update labor associated with that. Many times Operations teams will establish this information but never have reason, or the ability, to share it with the Development teams. Yet for the IBM teams involved with Watson it provided a pivotal common touchstone. Using both RTC and the cost model, product management, development and operations could constantly get together and ask: “How can we improve things, our speed of deployment and our costs?” Because everyone is looking at the same information, there’s no confusion that adding a given feature either improves our approach or automates how quickly deployment can take place. It may be prudent to defer some things that add cost. If these considerations are visible on a weekly basis,, then the correct joint decisions can be made. Such transparency is very important. RTC, along with a shared cost model, has been fundamental to that transparency. With the intense workload that was being generated, Power had been the obvious choice even from the first days for the research team. However, there had been some highly significant improvements since the Jeopardy! game show. At that point, there was only a single user environment that was optimized to provide an answer within three seconds, there was only one user at a time, one question at a time across 2,880 CPU cores. At that time, the configuration of Watson was highly parallel and compute-intensive focused. Since then, there has been much re-factoring of how that technology and research was pulled together. The research team continued to help the development team advance the technology and re-factor it to fit on individual P 750s which can then be clustered together in a classic, horizontal cloud scale. Teams that run all the commercial configurations for IBM Watson customers each has a cloud that is powered by P 750s.
  10. 10. A DevOps Approach Speeds IBM Watson Solutions to Market 8 IBM’s Watson ecosystem and the Venture Capital fund There are a number of options listed here in regards to information on Watson and IBM DevOps, but for the ecosystem, interested organizations should first visit ibm.com/watson to start learning everything about Watson. Following the link to ‘Partners’ will lead to all likely information required. To date, thousands of potential customers and partners have submitted ideas and have expressed interest in becoming a part of the Watson Ecosystem. Organizations can easily sign up and then share their interest and use case from the launch page for the ecosystem; a lot of background information is provided. IBM has the first set of partners in Welltok, Fluid, and MD Buyline, among others, but this is still early days. IBM are looking to ensure that they start off with helping people determine if they’ve actually got a ‘Watson scenario’, since Watson is not the right solution for everything. It’s very good for some things but, at times, conversations with customers and partners discover that their scenarios are really more to do with something like ‘big insights’ or enterprise contact management. Some of the early partners will pave the way in terms of showing the types of things that can be do with embedding Watson or marrying Watson to content. If an organization truly has a Watson scenario and desires to connect Watson into their application it will eventually get provisioned with some space in the Watson Developer Cloud. After that data loading can commence, putting Watson through many ‘training cycles’. Since Watson is cognitive, it has to learn by example. It is given sample questions and answers and it gets smarter.
  11. 11. Join the Community www.rational-ug.org Tweet with Us @RationalUC #rationaluc www.twitter.com/rationaluc Join Our Group on LinkedIn: Global Rational User Community https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Global-Rational-User-Community-GRUC-120486/about Connect with Us on Google+ https://plus.google.com/+RationalugOrgGlobal/posts

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