IBM’s April 11 announcement of PureSystems family of products was focused on POWER and x86 systems. A closer look, however, suggests the initiative both leveraged some of the advances of the zEnterprise and zBX and hints at extending the PureSystems approach to the zEnterprise.
To summarize, PureSystems is the name IBM is giving to a family of integrated appliances. These combine physical and virtual server, storage, and network hardware in the form of POWER and Hx5 blades with the appropriate middleware and software to deliver a system that is fast, flexible, and simple to deploy and maintain.
The first two products in the family are PureFlex, which provides Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and PureApplication, which provides Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). The clear implication is that more PureSystems are on the way. Don’t be surprised to see something like PureAnalytics, maybe followed by something like PureTransaction.
For the introduction, IBM pulled out a couple of its biggest guns. Said Steve Mills, IBM senior vice president of software and systems: “By tightening the connections between hardware and software, and adding software know-how, PureSystems is designed to help organizations free up time and money to focus on innovation.”
PureSystems, however, is not the typical appliance most vendors deliver by repackaging existing technology and wrapping it up in a spiffy interface. PureSystems was designed and engineered from the ground up to deliver flexibility, simplicity of operation, efficiency, and lower cost.
Rod Adkins, senior vice president in charge of IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, called it “a new category of business computing that combines server, storage and networking resources along with an array of built-in software patterns and business processes into one highly automated and simple-to-manage machine.” IBM’s goal was to change the economics of IT by addressing the issues of time, cost, and risk.
The PureSystem device arrives private cloud capable. It is thoroughly integrated, automated, and optimized using an extensive set of patterns that encapsulate the best hardware, software, deployment, and management practices. Plus, it offers a facility to pull in third-party patterns or add your own custom patterns.
IBM expects PureSystems can shift organizations from where today they spend 70% or more of their IT budget just keeping the systems running to where they can direct more than half their budget to new initiatives. To that end, IBM initiated an approach it calls scale-in design, which provides for increased density (PureSystems can handle twice as many applications compared to previous IBM blade systems), effectively doubling the computing power per square foot of data center space through the use of expert automation, optimization, and virtualization, and then packaging it at an attractive price. The entry level PureFlex is priced at $100,000 and is sufficiently configured for a midsize organization.
IBM estimates that a PureSystems machine can be running in four hours, one-third the time of earlier IBM blade technology. If IT did it from piece parts figure on taking weeks or months. IBM calculates PureSystems requires 47% less deployment labor hours and 73% fewer management hours versus conventional systems.
From the standpoint of zEnterprise shops, key innovations—especially the optimization and expert patterns—will likely be incorporated into the next zEnterprise release. The expert patterns may finally address persistent concerns about replacing retiring z veterans and the loss of mainframe experience.
Also of interest to zEnterprise shops will be the design of the new PureSystems devices. They clearly borrow from the zBX and the zEnterprise hybrid ensemble, including its ability to manage a combined physical/virtual hybrid environment from a single console. They don’t call it the Unified Resource Manager but they could have. Today PureSystems and the hybrid zEnterprise are close cousins. Expect them to grow even closer in the future.