Cognitive Storage Empowers IT Systems With Data-Value Analytics

By: James O'Brien| - Leave a comment

Data scientists at IBM’s Zurich labs have announced a research initiative meant to transform databases into cognitive storage centers — advanced information systems that can evaluate and make decisions about how to keep and protect the data they contain.

A New Era of Machine Learning

According to, the plans represent an evolution in how machine learning will work with IT infrastructure. Cognitive storage systems will assign value to different types of data, select the best media on which to save it and be charged with decision-making on governance, data protection and data lifecycles.

As the new technology is developed, one of the key benefits will be lowered costs of storing data. As The Stack notes, secure, highly responsive data storage that operates with minimal latency can be one of the most expensive parts of an IT framework.

IBM’s new cognitive model would streamline and redefine the way hardware, staffing and energy resources are used. The most frequently accessed data in a set would be assigned the highest value and then be stored on the most responsive media, kept in multiple backups and given the greatest security attention. Meanwhile, low-demand data would be assigned to less expensive media for long-term preservation. All of this would occur in the context of regional data governance rules, so regulated information would not be accidentally de-prioritized, even if it is accessed less frequently.

Cognitive Storage Bodes Well for Enterprises

The development of the new system emerges in part from IBM’s work on the DOME initiative, a radio telescope project currently under design by Astron. According to The Stack, the project is expected to ingest up to a petabyte of data daily, and the value assessment and sorting functions of the cognitive storage algorithms stand to augment this process in powerful ways.

The prototype system also promises advantages for enterprises. As IBM researcher Vinodh Venkatesan told, “For an enterprise, there are ‘must-keep’ classes of data, and these could be set to be of permanently high value. … The rest, the majority, which cannot necssarily be manually set, can be handled by cognitive storage — such as big data-type information and sensor information that might have value if analyzed.”

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About The Author

James O'Brien

Freelance Writer

As a journalist and writer in the branded content space, James O'Brien covers business, technology, social media, marketing, film, food, wine, writing and news. The Nieman Journalism Lab has called his work in the custom content space "sponsored content done right." He has written for major regional newspapers, and he has managed and edited established, startup and turnaround newsrooms in varied markets, from community papers to major-city dailies. He consults for firms and businesses — startups to seasoned — on the creation of effective content strategies and the establishment of practical editorial calendars for enacting them. O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in Editorial Studies from the Editorial Institute at Boston University, where he researched and edited Bob Dylan's other-than-song writings. He is engaged in a bibliography for Oxford University Press, covering writings about filmmaker John Cassavetes. He is the author of "The Indie Writer's Survival Guide." His short stories and poetry are published in numerous journals and magazines.

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