International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced a multiyear agreement to bolster security and artificial intelligence (AI). Under terms of the deal, the two tech giants will collaborate on advancing confidential computing in hybrid cloud environments.

Both companies will utilize open-source software, open standards, and open system architectures across the process. AMD and IBM expect this to expand encryption and virtualization in high-performance computing.

The agreement also addresses one crucial challenge. The security industry has become adept at protecting data while it is at rest or even in transit. Still, data must often be available in an unencrypted form while in use. This presents a security challenge that makes some companies hesitant about the cloud.

Image of public, hybrid, and private clouds beside one another.

Image source: Getty Images

But confidential computing offers a potential solution to keep data encrypted while workloads run. If AMD and IBM can address this issue, they believe they can remove a significant barrier to hybrid cloud adoption in some highly regulated industries.

The deal also builds on key strengths within each company. IBM has focused heavily on the hybrid cloud since purchasing Red Hat and integrating the Red Hat OpenShift platform. AMD has also worked to enhance confidential computing in the private cloud and has made hardware-enabled security a key design feature in its EPYC processors.

"The commitment of AMD to technological innovation aligns with our mission to develop and accelerate the adoption of the hybrid cloud to help connect, secure and power our digital world," said Dario Gil, director of IBM Research. Gil also reiterated IBM's commitment to providing security for its hybrid cloud offerings without compromising choice or flexibility.

Mark Papermaster, executive vice president and chief technology officer of AMD, also pointed out his company's commitment to working with industry leaders. "AMD is excited to extend our work with IBM on AI, accelerating data center workloads, and improving security across the cloud," Papermaster said.

IBM and AMD researchers have already begun joint development activities.

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