Fuzzy no more
Conversations about cloud are numerous and some would say plentiful; it has captured the IT conscious. Amazingly enough, most people have a skeptical perception of the technology. Many perceive that cloud is a fuzzy, all-encompassing descriptor. Some argue that it is some artistic repackaging of older computing architectures. This perception is common to both business and consumer users of computer systems. Many also associate the term cloud with public cloud and with specific applications such as Google docs. The reality is that cloud is now recognized by businesses of all sizes as the technology game changer because of the competitive economics that it drives. Businesses have quickly come on board to the realization that cloud technology is well structured and easily adoptable. No longer is the conversation about cloud in general, but rather about Private Clouds, Public Clouds and increasingly about Hybrid Clouds.
So how does one choose between these three and what are the most significant attributes that make your business a competitive champion? Actually, the National Institute of Standards (NIST) is a great place to start. The five or so attributes make great sense, they include: automation, resource pooling, self-service, metering and reporting, and broad network access. The first conceptual change is to treat all computing capability as a service that is delivered and consumed. As a provider of such services cloud becomes the new delivery model and as a user of these services cloud becomes the new consumption model.
Figure 1: Key Cloud Attributes and Features
Behind this nicely packaged and encapsulated set of concepts is a powerful technology that is enabling a revolution. Now you can envision using tailored and customized computing capability on any device of your choosing, at any time and from anywhere. Brilliant! Now you can expect reliability and security. Now you can seamlessly see, hear and interact with other people either directly or with their artistic media. Now you can use computers that fit your personal style, preference and budget. This capability is enabled by cloud. And the growth of cloud based technologies has only just begun. 2015 is on the horizon with the most significant growth rate perhaps of any technology being enjoyed by anything cloud related.
IBM PureFlex Improves Private Cloud Efficiency and Operations
Let’s explore specific private cloud capabilities and contrast them to public and hybrid clouds. Private clouds are especially useful to businesses that prefer to keep their IT resources. Now they can enjoy the shared management, automation, access from anywhere, reporting and other features of cloud. In many cases, private clouds implicitly provide the necessary controls over resources that may be required to meet security or privacy requirements because storage, networking and compute resources are within or on company premises. Because these physical resources continue to play a significant role in the overall stability of the datacenter – choosing the right platform is still a major factor and where a robust foundation is critical. IDC reports that the IBM PureFlex System is in itself able to yield about a 30% improvement in operational costs. In addition, “the built-in IBM Flex System Manager capabilities have helped reduce administration costs by up to 50% and cut system setup costs by as much as 66%.”
There is no doubt that cloud makes sense for its tremendous benefits to business. In my past blogs I have referred to the need for both elasticity and scalability.
In this Aberdeen Group report, one key takeaway is that “all organizations, not just midsize ones, would gain from fully deploying a Private Cloud to continue reaping the gains begun with just server virtualization.” The idea of shared management is identified as key capability of cloud. The article goes on to point out that, “allowing end users to play more of a role in deploying and managing their own infrastructure requires giving them an easy and intuitive tool.” This is where the combination of tools, capabilities and technology sets PureFlex apart for cloud deployments.
There should be no doubt then that between PureFlex and Flex System the conundrum of moving to cloud has been simplified. But rest not happy traveller – more can be done. In order to maximize the competitive cost savings of this new infrastructure, use it to its full potential. For IBM clients transitioning from IBM BladeCenter to IBM Flex System this concept is not new. The roadmap for technology updates to these is aggressive but reflects IBM’s obsession with bringing client focused capabilities to market. An example of this never ending in features is the new IBM Flex x222 compute node which doubles the density of virtual machines with a half high server with 2 sockets. Another example is the breadth of the management node which increased to 16 chassis managed (5000+ end points).
Figure 2: IBM Four Quadrants – Technologies supporting cloud
What I have tried to point out is that cloud is now a well-structured technology that has proven its prowess. IBM PureFlex System has been designed for cloud. IBM has a full suite of technologies from the infrastructure elements to advanced software in support of cloud for business of all kinds. Whether it is for creating an internal private cloud or for creating revenue generating cloud services, private or public clouds solutions based on IBM PureFlex and Flex System await you. Clients looking for easy access to a public cloud can use IBM’s SoftLayer cloud. IBM sees SoftLayer as providing very tangible benefits to clients as you will see in this New York Times report.
There are more exciting cloud announcements coming from PureFlex in 2014. The goal of expanding the portfolio of useful solutions that makes sense to businesses makes sense to us. Register for the Smarter Computing January webcast today and to hear what’s new from PureFlex from Alex Yost. The arena is exciting and the need is ever growing. Expect to see new insights into pattern automation and orchestration which are key elements of cloud and services delivery.
Innovative companies continue to look for ways to deliver business value by accelerating time to market, improving application performance, and reducing the staff time needed for many routine ongoing management and support activities. Learn how you can do that and more in this Integrated Systems Analyst Paper from the IDC.