Posts Tagged ‘appliance’

IBM Cloud Pak–Back to the Future

December 19, 2019

It had seemed that IBM was in a big rush to get everybody to cloud and hybrid cloud. But then in a recent message, it turned out maybe not such a rush. 

What that means is the company believes coexistence will involve new and existing applications working together for some time to come. Starting at any point new features may be added to existing applications. Eventually a microservices architecture should be exposed to new and existing applications. Whew, this is not something you should feel compelled to do today or next quarter or in five years, maybe not even in 10 years.

Here is more from the company earlier this month. When introducing its latest Cloud Paks as enterprise-ready cloud software the company presents it as a containerized software packaged with open source components, pre-integrated with common operational services and a secure-by-design container platform and operational services consisting of  logging, monitoring, security, and identity access management. DancingDinosaur tried to keep up for a couple of decades but in recent years has given up. Thankfully, no one is counting on me to deliver the latest code fast.

IBM has been promoting packaged software  and hardware for as long as this reporter has been following the company, which was when my adult married daughters were infants. (I could speed them off to sleep by reading them the latest IBM white paper I had just written for IBM or other tech giants. Don’t know if they retained or even appreciated any of that early client/server stuff but they did fall asleep, which was my intent.)

Essentially IBM is offering as enterprise-ready Cloud Paks, already packaged and integrated with hardware and software, ready to deploy.  It worked back then as it will now, I suspect, with the latest containerized systems because systems are more complex than ever before, not less by a long shot. Unless you have continuously retained and retrained your best people while continually refreshing your toolset you’ll find it hard to  keep up. You will need pre-integrated and packaged containerized cloud packages that will work right out of the box. 

This is more than just selling you a pre-integrated bundle. This is back to the future; I mean way back. Called Cloud Pak for data system, IBM is offering what it describes as a  fusion of hardware and software. The company chooses the right storage and hardware; all purpose built by IBM in one system. That amounts to convergence of storage, network, software, and data in a single system–all taken care of by IBM and deployed as containers and microservices. As I noted above, a deep trip back to the future.

IBM has dubbed it  Cloud-in-a-box. In short, this is an appliance. You can start very small, paying for what you use now. If later you want more, just expand it then. Am sure your IBM sales rep will be more than happy to provide you with the details. It appears from the briefing that there is an actual base configuration consisting of  2 enclosures with 32 or 128 TB. The company promises to install this and get you up and running in 4 hours, leaving only the final provisioning for you.

This works for existing mainframe shops too, at least those running Linux on the mainframe.  LinuxONE shops are probably ideal. It appears all z shops will need is DB2 and maybe Netezza. Much of the work will be done off the mainframe so at least you should  save some MIPS.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at 

This is the last appearance of DancingDinosaur this year. It will reappear in the week of Jan. 6, 2020. Best wishes for the holidays.

IBM PureSystems Hint at the Future of zEnterprise

April 16, 2012

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.

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