Interesting times we live in! In a move acknowledging the machine learning lead of cloud rivals, IBM has made its Watson service available across Azure, AWS and Google clouds.
This is a wholesale departure for IBM, which has provided corporate customers access to its data crunching technology — but only if they used it on its cloud computing service. Apparently, now the company wants to expand the reach of the Watson service.
The company said on Tuesday that it would allow businesses to use some of IBM Watson related software with underlying data that I stored in rival cloud centers.
They will also be able to use Watson with the data that they have stored in their own datacenters.
Rob Thomas, IBM general manager of data and AI:
“It is enabling a level of openness that hasn’t been available to date.”
Ultimately, this is quite a shakeup in strategy for IBM, which has never really been open with its cloud computing service and Watson technologies. And this change of heart comes as the IBM public cloud has faded away to fourth place in terms of market share.
Behind, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform.
And while the company maintains that the best way to run Watson will be through the company’s own cloud computing service, this openness means that organizations will not be locked into a particular vendor when it comes to machine learning projects.
IBM has not yet set a price for the new service, but is expected to offer tied pricing, based on the needs of the customers.
Additionally, while the service is currently only compatible with North American cloud providers, the company may bring it to Asian cloud vendors like Chinese technology giant Alibaba. Watson services are likely to be available across Red Hat, too, which is being acquired by IBM.
The big picture, for IBM, nevertheless remains its multicloud efforts.
Which has been a big theme for 2019 in the industry.