Part II: PureSystems, something old, something new, something from big blue

April 12, 2012 – 8:26 pm

This is the second in a five-part series around the recent IBM PureSystems announcements. You can view the earlier post here, and the next post here.

So what are the speeds and feeds of a PureFlex system?
The components that make up the PureFlex line include:

  • IBM management node (server with management software tools).
  • 10Gb Ethernet (LAN) switch, adapters and associated cabling.
  • IBM V7000 virtual storage (also see here and here).
  • Dual 8GFC (8Gb Fibre Channel) SAN switches and adapters.
  • Servers with either x86 xSeries using for example Intel Sandy Bridge EP 2.6 GHz 8 core processors, or IBMs Power7 based pSeries for AIX. Note that IBM with their blade center systems (now rebadged as part of being PureSystems) support various IO and networking interfaces include SAS, Ethernet, Fibre Channel (FC), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and InfiniBand using adapters and switches from various partners.
  • Virtual machine (VM) hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper V and VMware vSphere/ESX among others. In addition to x86 based hypervisors or kernel virtual machines (KVM), IBM also supports its own virtual technology found in Power7 based systems. Check IBM support matrix for specific configurations and current offerings.
  • Optional middleware such as IBM WebSphere.

Read more speeds and feeds at the various IBM sites including on Tony Pearson’s blog site.

So what is IBM PureApplication System?
This builds off and on PureFlex systems as a foundation for deploying various software stacks to deliver traditional IT applications or cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) and Application as a Service (AaaS) models. For example cloud or web stacks, java, database, analytics or other applications with buzzwords of elastic, scalable, repeatable, self-service, rapid provisioning, resilient, multi tenant and secure among others. Note that if are playing or into Buzzword bingo, go ahead and say Bingo when you are ready as IBM has a winner in this category.

So what is the difference between PureFlex and PureApplication systems?
PureApplication systems leverage PureFlex technologies adding extra tools and functionality for cloud like application functionality delivery.

So what is IBM PureSystems Centre?
It is a portal or central place where IBM and their business partner solutions pertaining to PureApplication and PureFlex systems can be accessed for including information for first installation support along with maintenance and upgrades. At launch, IBM is touting more than 150 solutions or applications that are available or qualified for deployment on PureApplication and PureFlex systems. In addition, IBM Patterns (aka templates) can also be accessed via this venue. Examples of application or independent software vendor (ISV) developed solutions for banking, education, financial, government, healthcare and insurance can be found at the PureSystems Centre portal (here, here and here).

So what part of this is a service and what is a product?
Other than the PureSystem center, which is a web portal for accessing information and technologies, PureFlex and PureApplication along with Virtual Appliance Factory are products or solutions that can be bought from IBM or their business partners. In addition, IBM business partners or third parties can also use these solutions housed in their own, a customer, or third-party facility for delivering managed service provided (MSP) capabilities, along with other PaaS and SaaS or AaaS type functionalities. In other words, these solutions can be bought or leased by IT and other organizations for their own use in a traditional IT deployment model, private, hybrid or public cloud model.

Another option is for service providers to acquire these solutions for use in developing and delivering their own public and private or hybrid services. IBM is providing the hard product (hardware and software) that enables your return on innovation (the new ROI) to create and deliver your own soft product (services and experiences) consumed by those who use those capabilities. In addition to traditional financial quantitative return on investment (traditional ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO), the new ROI complements those by adding a qualitative aspect. Your return on innovation will be dependent on what you are capable of doing that enables your customers or clients to be productive or creative. For example enabling your customers or clients to boost productivity, remove complexity and cost while maintaining or enhancing Quality of Service (QoS), service level objectives (SLOs) and service level agreements (SLAs) in addition to supporting growth by using a given set of hard products. Thus, your soft product is a function of your return on innovation and vise versa.

Note that in this context, not to be confused with hardware and software, hard product are those technologies including hardware, software and services that are obtained and deployed as a soft product. A soft product in this context does not refer to software, rather the combination of hard products plus your own developed or separately obtained software and tools along with best practices and usage models. Thus, two organizations can use the same hard products and deliver separate soft products with different attributes and characteristics including cost, flexibility and customer experience.

So what is a Pattern of Expertise?
Combines operational know how experience and knowledge about common infrastructure resource management (IRM), data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and other commonly repeatable related process, practices and workflows including provisioning. Common patterns of activity and expertise for routine or other time-consuming tasks, which some might refer to as templates or workflows enable policy driven based automation. For example, IBM cites recurring time-consuming tasks that lend themselves to being automated such as provisioning, configuration, and upgrades and associated IRM, DCIM and data protection, storage and application management activities. Automation software tools are included as part of the PureSystems with patterns being downloadable as packages for common tasks and applications found at the IBM PureSystem center.

At announcement, there are three types or categories of patterns:

  • IBM patterns: Factory created and supplied with the systems based on experiences IBM has derived from various managers, engineers and technologist for automating common tasks including configuration, deployment and application upgrades and maintenance. The aim is to cut the amount of time and intervention for deployment of applications and other common functions enabling IT staff to be more productive and address other needs.
  • ISV patterns: These leverage experience and knowledge from ISVs partnered with IBM, which at time of launch numbers over 125 vendors offering certified PureSystems Ready applications. The benefit and objective are to cut the time and complexity associated with procuring (e.g. purchasing), deploying and managing third-party ISV software. Downloadable patterns packages can be found at the IBM PureSystem center.
  • Customer patterns: Enables customers to collect and package their own knowledge, processes, rules, policies and best practices into patterns for automation. In addition to collecting knowledge for acquisition, configuration, day to day management and troubleshooting, these patterns can facility automation of tasks to ease on boarding of new staff employees or contractors. In addition, these patterns or templates capture workflows for automation enabling shorter deployment times of systems and applications into locations where skill sets do not exist.

Here is a link to some additional information about patterns on the IBM developerWorks site.

Click here to view the next post in this series, ok, nuff said for now.

Here are some links to learn more:
Various IBM Redbooks and related content
The blame game: Does cloud storage result in data loss?
What do you need when its time to buy a new server?
2012 industry trends perspectives and commentary (predictions)
Convergence: People, Processes, Policies and Products
Buzzword Bingo and Acronym Update V2.011
The function of XaaS(X) Pick a letter
Hard product vs. soft product
Buzzword Bingo and Acronym Update V2.011
Part I: PureSystems, something old, something new, something from big blue
Part II: PureSystems, something old, something new, something from big blue
Part III: PureSystems, something old, something new, something from big blue
Part IV: PureSystems, something old, something new, something from big blue
Part V: PureSystems, something old, something new, something from big blue
Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking


Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

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