The U.S. Air Force knows a thing or two about navigating in the clouds, and with the help of IBM, it will be tapping into a different kind of cloud. Specifically, the U.S. Air Force has granted IBM a contract to build a secure cloud computing infrastructure.
"The project will push the technology boundaries of cloud computing with an infrastructure design that not only supports large-scale networks, but meets rigorous security standards and the government’s Information Assurance guidelines for all networks, IBM said. "The Air Force’s network manages the operations of nine major commands, nearly 100 bases, and 700,000 active military personnel around the world."
The contract calls for IBM to put together a secure online environment ready to be demonstrated in 10 months. Staff from both IBM and the Air Force will work together to build the infrastructure and a health monitoring system for information flow across the network.
Several chip makers are expected to talk up current and upcoming processor designs at this year's International Solid State Circuits Conferences, but it's Intel's 48-core chip that might steal the show.
Not a whole lot is known about this mega-chip just yet, other than it's an experimental 48-core processor called the Single-Chip Cloud Computer (SCCC). We also know that each core is a full x86 implementation that can run its own OS instance, but other than that, we'll have to wait for more details.
AMD will also be on hand to discuss an upcoming 32nm mobile processor, which could possibly end up being the company's first "Fusion" processor, currently codenamed Llano. Or it could be AMD's Bobcart architecture revealed last last year. Either way, AMD says the chip it plans to show off will be a 32nm implementation of an AMD x86-64 core with more than 35 million transistors (not counting L2 cache). It will run at frequencies above 3GHz and sport several power improvements.
IBM isn't exactly playing with fire, but it is playing with higher temps in its new North Carolina data center. At a glance, it might seem counterproductive to raise temperatures, but IBM is doing so in order to reduce its energy usage.
To make sure things don't get too far out of hand, IBM has equipped its 60,000 square-foot data center with thousands of sensors that dynamically keeps tabs on temps, humidity, air flow, and circuits. And to help with cooling, the company will rely largely on outside air.
"What we tried to do here is have a data center that is more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent than anything we have done before," said Joe Dzaluk, IBM's vice president of infrastructure and resource management at the Global Technology Services division.
Temps could rise as high as 80.6 degrees, which is exactly the latest environmental recommendation by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, who recently raised the threshold from 77 degrees because of improvements in equipment design.
File this one away for the future: graphene transistors. Graphene makes use of carborn rather than silicon, and transistors produced from it are capable of operating at 100 gigahertz, or about ten times faster than the fastest silicon transistors. And IBM has figured out a way to make production of these little beauties commercially feasible.
Graphene transistors aren’t new. But the methods for making them are clumsy and inefficient. For example, sheets of graphene would be flaked away from graphite--a tricky process at best. And it could only produce transistors with speeds up to 26 gigahertz.
IBM has devised a method for ‘growing’ graphene transistors on the surface of a two-inch silicon carbide wafer. The wafter is heated until the silicon evaporates, leaving behind a thin layer of epitaxial graphene, from which a transistor is produced. In addition, IBM improved the process by using better materials for parts of the transistor, such as the insulator.
Speedier transistors translate into speedier computing. Graphene transistors, therefore, hold promise for bumping up hardware potential on motherboards and add-in cards. (Not CPUs, though--graphene won’t work for CPUs.) While things will get speedier, for us it won’t be right away. Projected first applications will be in military devices. After that, maybe, graphene transistors will work their way into consumer electronics.
IBM on Wednesday announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Initiate Systems, an MDM (master data management) vendor deeply rooted into healthcare and government organizations.
"With the addition of Initiate's software and its industry expertise, IBM will offer clients a comprehensive solution for delivering the information they need to improve the well-being of patients at a lower cost," said Arvind Krishna, general manager, Information Management, IBM. "Similarly, our government clients will now have even more capabilities for gathering and making use of information to serve citizens in a timely and efficient manner."
Initiate Systems is a privately held company out of Chicago, IL, and represents IBM's 30th acquisition towards advancing the company's capabilities in information and analytics, IBM said.
IBM added that it plans to continue to support and enhance Initiate's technologies, while also introducing clients to its broader IBM portfolio.
The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2010.
IBM on Friday announced it has inked a new agreement with the ABB Group, a global provider of automation technologies, to transform the company's Information Systems (IS) infrastructure across 17 countries in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific.
"With the new agreement, ABB will realize considerable savings, while harmonizing and optimizing IS infrastructure," said Haider Rashid, ABB's global Chief Information Officer. "Our partnership with IBM allows us to implement new technologies and processes to build for continued globalization of our business. At the same time, we will be improving energy efficiency."
ABB said it expects immediate cost savings as a result of the new agreement, while it also puts ABB in a better position to utilize cloud computing down the line.
Chances are you've heard of graphene transistors before, and that's because the technology's touted as capable of one day replacing silicon. IBM Research has just overcome one of the biggest roadblocks in getting to that point, who claims to have opened a "bandgap" for carbon-based graphene field-effect transistors (FETs),
"Graphene doesn't naturally have a bandgap, which is necessary for most electronic applications," said IBM Fellow Phaedon Avouris. "But now we can report turnable electrical bandgaps of up to 130meV for our bi-layer graphene FETs. And larger bandgaps are certainly feasible."
Avrouis says this latest breakthrough swings the door wide open for the future use of graphen in digital electronics and optoelectronics devices.
After all this time, there still remains room for innovation in the magnetic tape industry. This point was underscored recently when IBM Research and Fujifilm announced they had collaborated to set a new world record in magnetic tape density, pushing the technology to 30G bits per square inch, which is enough keep magnetic tape relevant for at least another decade.
"Magnetic tape, which is the greenest storage technology available today, is alive and will continue to be a cost-effective alternative to other storage technologies for at least another decade," said IBM Fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou in a video. "Achieving 29.6G bits per square inch means that a single cartridge 10 by 10 by 2 centimeters in size will hold up to 35 terabytes of uncompressed data."
Magnetic tape remains popular as a low-cost solution, with the latest advancement in density driving the price down to just a penny per gigabyte. By comparison, today's densest optical disks are Blu-ray. Blu-ray discs store 50GB, and it would take about 700 of them to match the storage capacity of a single 4-inch tape cartridge holding 35TB of a data. Not only that, but Blu-ray runs about 30 cents per gigabyte.
IBM attributed its ability to lure customers away to its Migration Factory program introduced four years ago. Since that time, IBM says it's been able help nearly 2,200 companies switch to IBM systems from Sun and HP.
All in all, it's been a good year for IBM. The company managed to increase the revenue generated from Power Systems from competitive displacements of customers in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $200 million, which amounts to more than $600 million in sales from UNIX competitive takeouts for IBM in 2009, the company said.
IBM said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held National Interest Security Company, LLC. NISC, which operates out of Fairfax, Virginia, specializes in services for defense, healthcare, energy, logistics, and security.
"IBM's analytic and innovation prowess, combined with NISC's industry knowledge and depth of experience in defense, healthcare, energy, and infrastructure management services, will allow us to deliver an unprecedented level of service and support to our growing list of government clients," said Chuck Prow, managing partner, public sector, IBM Global Business Services.
Some of the areas NISC has been focused on includes systems engineering, biometrics, documents and media exploitation, systems integration, software development, enterprise architecture, and more.
The agreement includes the acquisition of NISC affiliate Technology and Management Services, and is subject to closing conditions and regulatory reviews. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.