This is not an IBM PureSystems 101 class, showcasing lots of graphics and charts. I really want to avoid those loads of marketing information and talk about what these PureSystems are here for. Everybody is talking about this newest IBM product launch, but what is it? Why is it innovative?
First, you should know that there is a division within the family:
- IBM PureFlex System, an integrated by design server, networking and storage platform, which is completely customizable
- IBM PureApplication System, which is a closed platform to run, well, applications.
We have a new nomenclature also, as the marketing people always do: blade servers inside a chassis are now called nodes. We do not have switches inside the chassis anymore, we now have I/O modules. And the changes are not only on the names.
The amount of information these systems can handle is huge. The IBM BladeCenter E has been out there for 10 years. There was a time when the E chassis could not deliver the necessary I/O for the big virtualization and consolidations requirements, and then IBM launched the BladeCenter H. We have also a product for the “S” of the SMB (small, medium business), called BladeCenter S. They are all great products! Now, however, we need a new platform to handle the even bigger I/O requirements – and the IBM PureFlex System is that platform for many years to come.
I will compare today’s IBM BladeCenter offerings and the IBM PureFlex System in another post. For now, I discuss IBM PureApplication System.
IBM has always had excellent hardware and software technology, and also lots of new innovations.
But because products from IBM STG (System and Technology Group) and Software Group are sold independently, to buy an integrated solution, the customers need to talk to both groups. From my experience, only the big enterprises with very well organized data centers and staff have been able to use all that technology. These enterprises usually have a server team, a networking team, a storage team, an operating systems team, a database team, an application team, a security team, a monitoring team, a management team, and often other teams. The large companies could raise the monitoring and management bars by using great tools with the necessary functionality from various manufacturers (including, of course, IBM).
The smaller customers cannot. They are still dealing with the new functionality of virtualization, they are reading about cloud (and two years ago they were reading about –service-oriented architecture, SOA) and they could not implement any of that. Monitoring and central management looked like utopia for those customers. Here is where the IBM PureApplication System shows its advantage.
I do not need to talk to dozens of sales reps, in different groups and brands from IBM. I do not need a budget for hardware, software, monitoring, management, databases, applications, and so on. And, the best of all, my team does not need to learn lots of new software tools – especially those that are complex, non-integrated, and time-consuming. All of that is already integrated within a rack. All the hardware, software and configurations are already done.
You might ask: OK, so are you saying IBM took lots of technologies they already have and put them inside a box? It is great, but there is nothing new. My answer is no! This is not a bunch of products together. This project started four years ago and required the effort of 5,000 (yes, five thousand) IBM employees, from separate organizations, brands, and groups. They developed a lot of new technology, including hardware and software. This is a revolution in my opinion. It is a HUGE opportunity for those customers dreaming of the perfect world.
When a department asks for a new application the clock starts ticking. There is a time effort for the various technical teams to specify the solutions, procurement to buy everything, and also installation, configuration, and tuning. How long does your organization take to do that — say two to six months? With this new approach of IBM PureSystems, the process is reduced to buying the box, plugging in the box, and turning it on. It is already installed, configured, and tuned. This streamlining brings great value and agility to every company.
Can you imagine going to sleep expecting to have a nightmare? But, when you wake up, you have in your data center a solution that includes: built by design system, already integrated, up and running hardware, the virtualization, the software (including licensed operating systems and applications), the monitoring, the central management, the hierarchical storage management (HSM), the services information lifecycle management (ILM) including pattern creation all tuned up and with a single user web interface?
It is not a dream: IBM PureApplication System does that. And to do that, there is a limitation: flexibility. The servers, switches, middleware, storage, and so on are already selected by IBM. The explanation for this is pretty simple and straight forward: how can someone integrate and tune something they do not know? The system must be known. And when you stop, sit, and stare at the benefits, at the end of the day, this is a good thing. You do not have to integrate those elements, but can control and manage them. You will have a dream world inside a box. Isn’t that innovative?