IBM Watson GPU cluster Brexits from London to Frankfurt, because GDPR

Users have migration work to do in the next month. Good thing nobody’s busy right now, eh?

IBM will lift and shift a GPU cluster from London to Frankfurt, thanks to Brexit.

Big Blue slipped out the news in an Tuesday post that announced: “Watson Machine Learning will migrate the GPU cluster from London to Frankfurt to serve European Union clients due to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance requirements.”

This one’s down to Brexit because once the UK completely and utterly leaves the European Union at the end of 2020 GDPR will no longer apply in the green and pleasant land. It will, however, continue to be in force across the EU.

IBM’s therefore fired up a GPU cluster in Frankfurt and will send its London one to sleep on May 21st.

Users won’t need to move data, because the Frankfurt cluster will happily cross the channel to touch data on UK soil. But IBM says users on either side of the Brexit divide need to do the following if they want to keep using Watson:

  • Create a Watson Machine Learning instance in Frankfurt if you don’t have one;
  • Use the Frankfurt instance for all new training jobs;
  • Save intermediate results of current running jobs in London, if possible.

The kind of thing Watson does can take a while and IBM recognises it may not therefore be possible to save intermediate results before its deadline. If you’re in that boat, log a support case and Big Blue will do its best to sort things out.

It’s likely other cloud services will need to make similar migrations as the final Brexit date nears.

Which means that while this story is that rare piece of news not related to the current colossal geopolitical SNAFU and its impact on IT departments, it reminds us that the last colossal geopolitical SNAFU can still dispense plenty of pain. ®

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