A few weeks ago, DancingDinosaur noted that IBM’s new PureSystems was a natural fit for the zEnterprise and hybrid computing, click here. In a later briefing, IBM essentially said as much: Clients can connect IBM zEnterprise and IBM PureSystems (via Ethernet) to gain benefits of simplified management and lower IT infrastructure costs for all workloads. That’s the hybrid computing promise.
The zEnterprise with the zBX runs z/OS, AIX, Linux, and Windows. PureSystems runs AIX, i/OS, Linux and Windows. Between the two, you cover IBM’s primary platforms. The question becomes which workload to run where.
IBM’s simple answer: when data or applications exist on System z and you desire zEnterprise governance go with the zEnterprise-zBX environment populated with the appropriate blades. However, when data and applications run on a combination of Power and System x platforms, go with PureSystems.
On its website, IBM explains the choice between zBX or the new IBM PureSystems for hybrid computing: If you have a workload that traditionally ran on a distributed system, and the work spans System z and AIX, Linux, or Windows, then the zEnterprise with zBX is still the best choice. The zBX delivers the value proposition of tight integration for these hybrid workloads using the management functions of the Unified Resource Manager (zManager).
Or you can opt for PureSystems if you find you have a hybrid workload and don’t desire the governance and tight integration with System z. You still can connect the PureSystems device to the zEnterprise via your existing Ethernet network. Tivoli products can provide the integration of business processes.
Of course, if you have the zEnterprise and add PureSystems, you end up with two hybrid management tools, the Unified Resource Manager for zEnterprise and the Flex System Manager with PureSystems, for what should be one hybrid environment. Ooops, this undermines the promised management efficiency of hybrid computing. IBM promises to address this in the future through tighter integration of both systems.
The choice of a hybrid computing environment, given that most z shops already have multiple platforms, is not straightforward. Pricing and workload performance have to be considered. For example, does a PowerLinux blade as a PureSystems component deliver better price/performance than Linux running as an IFL on z? Similarly, where should Windows workloads run, on an Hx5 blade in the zBX or on a PureSystems device? At this point, there’s not enough pricing and performance data to decide. It may come down to scalability.
IBM, however, has been steadily improving hybrid computing on the z. It has enabled programmatic access to the zManager, expanded internal network communication between the zEnterprise and the zBX, and added support for virtual storage management. Looking ahead, IBM already is planning zBX support for the next generation z and promises to more tightly integrate the zEnterprise with PureSystems. The zEnterprise, zBX, and hybrid computing apparently will be around for a while.
Finally, take note: on April 9, DancingDinosaur covered mainframe storage sessions being planned for the upcoming IBM Edge conference (June 4-8, Orlando). Now there is the chance to win a free pass (value $2000). This giveaway is for one pass and is sponsored by The Storage Community. The giveaway is only open to US residents. State, local and federal government employees are not eligible. To access the IBM Technical Edge2012 Conference Sweepstakes: click here for a chance to enter the raffle for a free conference pass.