For the past four years, Yu Deng has had her head in the cloud – working on nearly 20 cloud computing inventions for which she has filed or received patents. An IBM Master Inventor and researcher in services analytics and knowledge management, Deng is lead or co-inventor on innovations that will make cloud computing easier, more accessible and more affordable.
Deng’s work at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., is helping define a new type of cloud service delivery model and propel cloud computing into the future. One of Deng’s key ideas, which is up for patent, would help make catalog management flexible and extensible over the cloud.
“One of my goals is to create a path that connects the business support system with the operational support system in the cloud environment,” Deng said. Normally these are separate entities so it’s important to bridge the gap so each side can understand the other and interact to create and manage service offerings.
Deng has several innovations on cloud analytics up for patent consideration as well, and is currently working on others. “I believe analytics will be a very big future direction for cloud platforms and we’re busy innovating to ensure IBM’s leadership in this area.”
Pending patents will propel cloud into the future
Deng’s long list of pending patents addresses a wide spectrum of cloud computing needs. For instance, Deng led development of a royalty-tracking idea that could make it easier to build cloud solutions that include multiple smaller components from individual contributors.
“This new model lets you track and distribute royalties at a finer granularity, so individual developers can get their fair portion of royalties based on resource usage,” Deng said. This royalty framework, which breaks the traditional business-to-business model, will open the door to greater innovation in the cloud environment.
Deng also helped develop a resiliency solution to help ensure a high availability cloud; a method for managing software licenses in the cloud environment; and an approach for dynamic pricing and provisioning.
In the critical area of analytics, Deng is approaching innovation on two fronts. She is working on solutions to offer analytics services over the cloud–and also has several inventions that provide analytics of the actual cloud environment, to support better cloud management.
“Our data center analysis framework will help you easily locate the root cause of a problem that arises in a large, complex data center, so you can quickly and easily resolve the issues and run your cloud better,” Deng said.
A pathway to new products
To Deng, the great value of filing patents is not simply that they protect today’s ideas, but they point the way to future innovation.
“As a researcher, you always want to think about what your next step will be, and the ideas that we disclose for patents provide guidance for our products to follow,” Deng said.
Many of the ideas that Deng and her colleagues have submitted for patent approval are not yet incorporated into product offerings, but will get folded into upcoming versions of the IBM SmartCloud.
“The patents come first and then many of these individual ideas will be combined together, extended and reinterpreted to help push IBM’s cloud platform well into the future,” Deng said.
Ultimately, Deng hopes her ideas will contribute to building a cloud services marketplace, where users can log in, type in their requirements, and the system will identify relevant components and help dynamically form the desired offering.
“Getting patents is nice, but it’s really the process of inventing and brainstorming with my colleagues that I find most exciting and rewarding,” Deng said. “It’s great to create something new – that no one has ever thought of before – and make a real impact on tomorrow’s technology.”