In business organizations, IT no longer has a support function; information technology has moved to the strategic center of business. Business decisions are supported with business analytics while complex problems are solved in near-time. IT became the competitive advantage in business to make the correct decision and to be one step ahead of competition.
As data and the information derived from data became more significant and important, inefficiencies arising from traditional IT systems started to become one of the biggest problems. During the last couple of years, the major issues that all IT managers focused on were increasing the number of servers, storage, electricity, and management.
As information technology (IT) moves to the strategic center of business, an entirely new set of requirements is being placed on it. We’re not going to get there with the IT status quo. We need to do dramatically more without additional resources, and the inefficiencies of today’s computing models are getting in the way. We spend too much time, money, and effort “keeping the lights on,” which keeps us from putting the effort we want into moving the business forward.
It is the reason why cloud computing has become the buzz word in IT; this is the reason appliances or workload optimized systems started to emerge.
Although cloud computing and appliances or workload optimized systems seem to have different goals, the outcome is the same; both concepts are based on a smarter way of doing business instead of the traditional business. The goal is to do business with less cost, with a faster deployment, more efficiently and under control.
Note that neither cloud solutions nor workload optimized systems are the answer of all issues observed; without proper analysis, all solutions offered to customers end up as a partial success, or even failure. For example, for a successful cloud implementation, thorough analysis of the customer’s environment, customer’s skills, organization, and goals must be clarified to determine if the customer and the customer’s workload are the correct choice. Also, cloud’s impact on the organization and process must be analyzed and understood. After these elements, automation requirements must be identified, and technology and process standards must be defined. Because not all workloads are suitable for cloud, the correct workloads with the correct migration models must be implemented.
The IBM smarter computing approach has driven the need for a new platform for the new era of information technology. The new platform needs to cover the concepts of the new decades, and integration and performance that yield to workload-optimized systems, while focusing on management, automation and deployment. In short, the new platform’s architecting goal was to combine the flexibility of a general purpose system with the simplicity of an appliance, while focusing on integrated expertise throughout.
The IBM vision of smarter computing includes no barriers and limitations; thus the new platform needs to be flexible to offer a combination of computing resources, hypervisors, operating systems, networking infrastructure, and storage elements. In addition to flexibility, the platform needs an easy and advanced management feature. IBM’s vision of the new platform is a smartphone without the limitations.
With all of these elements in mind, IBM designed the new platform: IBM PureSystems. It can be fully configured with flexible building blocks, with a fully integrated and open infrastructure.
Let’s face it. Data centers and the organizations and companies that run them, come in many different shapes and sizes. Their primary functions differ from industry to industry and are based on the very different business goals and requirements of those organizations. As a result, there’s a tremendous amount of technical diversity in today’s data center. From operating systems and processor architectures, to hypervisors and cloud implementations, and everything in between, companies around the globe exploit a wide – and often integrated – array of technology.
In addition to this technical diversity, every single data center is at a different stage of development, with a variety technologies and services that range from legacy to leading edge.
With all this technical diversity, what’s an organization to do to start overcoming the challenges of mismanagement and inefficiency in the face of stagnant IT budgets, of which the vast majority is earmarked for maintenance?
The truth is, it seems there are almost as many solutions and directions one could take as there are technologies. At IBM we have years of expertise in helping customers develop their data centers and enterprise computing architectures. We understand the challenges brought on by technically diverse ecosystems and that the only way to start to turn the tide on things like sprawl, inefficiencies and high costs, is through solutions that reflect these ecosystems. Through converged systems that provide integrated flexibility, not constrain choice.
As the new data centers of the future focus on consolidation and virtualization, the new platform provides unique value to accommodate multiple compute resources for the correct platform, while providing flexibility in hypervisors for these compute resources. With the ability to manage all these resources and hypervisors from one management system, IBM PureSystems is able to respond to individual workloads requirements and deploy them in the infrastructure where they best fit. The ability to consolidate and virtualize in one platform, manage and automate all elements from one window, and optimize for the right workload, delivers the promise of smarter computing of smarter computing.
IBM’s new platform is designed to solve the major challenges most enterprise customers face, such as storage and network integration and management, systems security management, virtual systems monitoring and management, and tracking performance.
The following picture shows the individual elements of IBM Flex System. Servers, storage, and network are integrated and managed from one window, with a combination of various hypervisors, processors, and operating systems: all of these elements are pre-configured and pre-integrated.
- Cloud: IBM SmartCloud Entry included on Standard and Enterprise predefined configurations.
- Choice of architectures: IBM POWER7 or Intel x86 processors, or both, within the same systems
- Choice of operating systems: AIX, IBM i, Microsoft Windows, and Linux from Red Hat or SUSE
- Choice of hypervisors: PowerVM, KVM, VMware, or Microsoft Hyper-V
- Simplicity: With consistent physical and virtualization management as a single machine
With IBM Flex System, IBM is changing the rules of smarter computing by introducing a new family of expert, integrated systems that combine the flexibility of a general purpose system, the elasticity of cloud, and the simplicity of an appliance.