We have received a lot of interest from customers and partners on the IBM PureFlex System since the PureSystem product family was launched back in April 2012. Business partners, in particular, would like to work with IBM on this exciting offering. They often ask: “What can the PureFlex System do for us?” It’s a natural reaction. Basically it’s like saying “Show me the money.”
Sure, let me show you the value of PureFlex System. “Optimization” is the first word that came to my mind. You may remember the term from math classes in college; optimization basically means to maximize something (such as profit) or minimize something (such as time). With IBM PureFlex System, business partners can tune their workload to perform better using IBM’s differentiating hardware capabilities, minimize deployment and customization effort, minimize solution setup and IT management effort, plus a lot more.
Before we dive into each of these values, maybe I should ask you what business problems bother you.
Deployment pain points: Does your solution consist of a large number of software or hardware components? Does each component require a specific setup per customer? How much time does it take to deploy a solution for your customers? How many people are required to change a light bulb (that is, set up your solution)?
Optimization pain points: Do your customers ask you for sizing information of your solution? How quickly can you respond to your customers’ request for a quote for a small, medium or large configuration of your solution? Can your solution (including software, hardware and networking components) handle future growth of data or users? Are you prepared to scale your solution?
Management pain points: How many different hardware components are there for your solution? How many IT resources do you need to set up, maintain or monitor these components? How many management consoles are there?
If you come across any of these problem areas and concerns, you should consider PureFlex System. We have helped a lot of business partners address their pain points.
Where do you start? Based on your business pain points, we can work with you to create a proof of concept and try out the PureFlex System.
1. Speed up deployment
We have seen some complex solutions from partners that consist of more than 20 software products. For each customer deployment, after the operating system is set, middleware is installed and configured, followed by application software components. Then each component is configured to connect to one or more components. It’s not trivial to deploy a solution from scratch. If you are happy with your current solution composition, you can speed up the deployment with virtual appliances. A virtual appliance is basically a snapshot of your existing solution with software, operating system and embedded configurable parameters that can be changed in real time during deployment. You make an initial effort to create a virtual appliance of your solution in standardized Open Virtualization Format (OVF). After that, the OVF file can be deployed to any PureFlex System rapidly at your customers’ locations using the PureFlex System Manager (FSM, the management component of the PureFlex System).
PureFlex System has built-in expertise that enables organizations to manage and flexibly deploy integrated patterns of virtual and physical resources through unified management. It would be an excellent choice of a cloud infrastructure.
Based on your solution criteria and your customers’ requirements, we work with you to optimize your solution on PureFlex System so that you can take advantages of the hardware. PureFlex System offers an integrated architecture that allows you to have both Intel-based and Power-based compute nodes in the same chassis together with built-in networking, embedded storage node, management module and built-in virtualization capability. This means you can have a solution with components from different platforms that all can be run within a single PureFlex System. To illustrate, you may use a Power-based compute node to run your database, have your web server or business logic component on Intel-based compute node and store data of your users in the IBM Storwize V7000. The integrated architecture of PureFlex System simplifies your solution architecture and IT management.
You can build your solution in a virtualized environment or bare metal as you wish. PureFlex chassis supports four hypervisors: IBM PowerVM, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Choices of operating systems include: IBM Advanced Interactive eXecutive (AIX), IBM System i, Microsoft Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
IBM offers a variety of Power System software that enables your solution to leverage the hardware capabilities so that you can really take advantage of the hardware, and not just use it as a platform that houses your solution. To name a few, IBM Power Systems Software can enhance these areas including: virtualization, system management, energy management, memory optimization, high availability, security and compliance and added-value file management.. See ibm.com/System/power/software for details.
Let me give you a scenario related to the recent Christmas season. Retailers and eCommerce stores need to handle seasonal demands. Most of the time, customers may spend a lot of time browsing different items from online catalogs to determine what Christmas gifts to get. When it gets closer to Christmas, there will be heavy capacity on purchases or other transactions. Browsing and creating transactions are two different types of workload. One involves more reading while the other involves writing or changing entries in the database. IBM’s Dynamic System Optimizer dynamically adapts to workload or configuration changes and performs automated tuning to make your solution run better, such as changing the controls and policies at the OS, hypervisor or hardware level.
On the storage side, IBM Storwize V7000 has built-in capabilities to analyze the characteristics of data and improve performance. IBM’s Easy Tier is one example. With Easy Tier, hot data that shows frequent access is dynamically moved to solid state disks to improve performance.
On another hand, you may be concerned about future growth of your solution. What if each user creates more data? What will you do if the number of users increases quickly? How do you scale your solution from a medium size to a large, or from a large size to an extra large? Each PureFlex System is equipped with sufficient networking, cooling and power supply to support compute capabilities within the chassis. You can consider that as a building block. As you grow your solution, you replicate the building blocks. This makes scaling a lot easier and faster, and gives you a sense of relief that there is sufficient networking, cooling and power supply to support the extra hardware. Of course, you can customize the networking and architecture as you grow if you have more IT resources to do so.
These are just some examples of optimization that you can take advantage of with IBM PureFlex System.
Managing a vast variety of IT resources is definitely not a trivial task. A solution that consists of hardware, software and middleware will probably have its own management console for each component. IBM PureFlex System Manager (FSM) is the managing component of the PureFlex System. It provides an integrated and unified single point of management for all IT resources in one or multiple PureFlex Systems. In other words, you only need one management module, FSM, to manage all the underlying components that support your solution, including compute nodes, networking, storage, switches and so on. It minimizes your effort to manage IT resources, and you can focus your effort on your core business.
So far I have only skimmed the surface of the values of IBM PureFlex System. Optimizing your solution on PureFlex System is like improving your golf game—there are many ways to go about it. You can improve your game with your grip, your stance, your backswing, your downswing, your follow-through, your swing speed, your aim, your chipping, your putting, your physical strength, your flexibility, your equipment, and so on. I can certainly take advantage of all of these approaches, but I know my priority is to improve my chipping and driving the ball longer. How about you? What are your key business pain points?
I’ve highlighted a few PureFlex System key values, including fast deployment of virtual appliances, solution optimization with IBM’s differentiating hardware and system software capabilities, support of virtualization and storage optimization. In addition, FSM, an integrated and unified management module, eases IT resource management. You can choose to enhance your solution with one or more of these capabilities, and you will get tremendous benefits.
For more information on the IBM PureFlex System, see the website:
For more examples of optimization with IBM PureFlex System, please visit IBM PartnerWorld: