IBM’s new Services Platform uses AI to help businesses manage their IT operations

IBM is launching a new machine learning-centric product for enterprises today: the IBM Services Platform. This new service aims to help businesses manage their IT infrastructure and make better data-driven decisions to keep that infrastructure running smoothly.

Because there can’t be a machine learning service from IBM that doesn’t invoke the Watson brand, the service’s full name is “IBM Services Platform with Watson.”

The overall idea here is to take all of the data that enterprises gather from their networks and operations and use it to predict and prevent potential problems. In the best-case scenario, the platform will be able to prevent issues by taking action ahead of time, but it can also autonomously fix issues if it’s too late to stop them from escalating.

As IBM stresses, though, the focus here is on pairing human and machine — not necessarily on completely removing IT from the operations. In addition to its autonomous features, the service also provides IT staff with information about the state of their networks and tools to help them make their own data-driven decisions, too.

As a company spokesperson told me, the service can run client workloads on premises and in the cloud. Existing services can be integrated into the platform so that their data becomes available to the Services Platform for analysis. Thanks to this, users can continue to run their workloads on their preferred clouds.

“The platform supports the entire managed services life-cycle, from designing to building, integrating and running services, with autonomic operations and augmented subject matter expertise,” IBM explains in today’s announcement. The company also notes that its service can look at unstructured data from emails and chats to gather insights about issues.

All of this sounds a bit abstract and IBM’s announcement is a bit short on details, but there can be little doubt that IT infrastructure automation — which is essentially what this new service provides — will be a fast-growing market. And it makes sense to look to cognitive services like this to manage the increasingly complex IT infrastructure that is now at the heart of virtually every major enterprise.

As far as how this service is structured in practice, IBM says that it uses the IBM Data Lake to gather all of this data, with a dashboard for its users on top of that. This dashboard gives IT real-time access and visibility into the company’s IT environment and keep tabs on the autonomous services that will aim to keep everything running.

On the startup side, services like Heili and others also offer AI-driven cloud infrastructure management services that use machine learning to keep a watchful eye over a company’s infrastructure. Sunview and others offer similar capabilities.