At a dinner following an IBM Systems & Technology Group (STG) analyst briefing a few weeks ago, IBM Senior Vice President Rod Adkins responded to a question from DancingDinosuar about IBM’s Tuned for the Task strategy, which supplants Fit for Purpose. Tuned for the Task, he suggested, better addresses the new workloads and new challenges of Smarter Computing.
As Adkins noted, with IBM’s rich capabilities in systems, middleware, and analytics, enterprises can build a roadmap for Smarter Computing infrastructures that are tuned to the task, designed for data, and managed in the cloud. More often than not that cloud will be a private cloud.
At the STG analyst briefing itself private clouds drew considerable attention with one study noting that 60% of enterprises planned to implement private clouds. In his session, Andy Wachs, IBM System Software Manager, gave a presentation here laying out a simple progression for any company’s journey to a private cloud. It starts with server, storage, and network virtualization. To achieve the efficiency and flexibility inherent in a private cloud those IT resources must be virtualized. Without that you can’t move forward.
Wachs focused primarily on IBM’s Power platform, but the System z, particularly the zEnterprise (z196 and zBX), are ideal for private clouds. As IBM puts it, the mainframe’s leading virtualization capabilities makes it an obvious choice for cloud computing workloads, especially with the ability to rapidly provision thousands of virtual Linux servers and share resources across the entire system. One zEnterprise can encompass the capacity of an entire multi-platform data center in a single system.
In his presentation, Wachs makes the point that server/storage/network virtualization is the starting point of any private cloud. Without being fully virtualized, you go nowhere with the cloud. Well, the System z is fully virtualized from the start and its share-all design principle for system components enables component reductions of as much as 90% for massive simplification, which significantly reduces TCO. Add to that the security and reliability of the z makes it a secure platform for multi-tenant business workloads from the application layer to the data source and all points between.
In the end, the z is a trusted repository both for highly secure information and as an open platform supporting anything from Web2.0 agile development environments with REST interfaces to enterprise middleware. It also can deliver the variety of management—provisioning, monitoring, workflow orchestration, tracking/metering resource usage—Wasch identifies as essential. More importantly, all this management must be automated. Here again, the z already has the right tools in Systems Director and the Tivoli suite of management tools along with the Unified Resource Manager for the hardware.
Properly managed and automated private clouds can enable efficient self-service, on-demand IT provisioning. Requested resources, ideally, can be selected from a catalog with the click of a browser and, after automatic governance review, materialize in the private cloud properly configured and ready for use within hours if not minutes.
In a recent report, IDC observes that private clouds present an opportunity to accelerate the shift to this kind of more automated, self-service form of computing. It not only enables organizations to reduce costs and boost IT utilization but to better match the IT resources provisioning process with the speed at which businesses need to move these days. Click here and scroll down to access the IDC report.
When Adkins talks about Smarter Computing, he’s not talking only about System z and zEnterprise private clouds. That is, however, a good place to start with Smarter Computing, and when lower cost zEnterprise machines roll out later this year even more organizations will be able to join this party.