IBM Launches New Expert Integrated PureSystems in Major IT Shift

One key IBM exec says IBM's announcement of a set of new expert integrated systems, known as PureSystems, is as big as the company's delivery of the mainframe 50 years ago.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) announced a major step forward in a new, simpler era of computing with the introduction of a new category of "expert integrated systems" that some say represents as big a move for the company as when it introduced the mainframe 50 years ago.

Ambuj Goyal, general manager of development in IBM€™s Systems and Technology Group, told eWEEK the new family of systems is the first with built-in expertise based on IBM's decades of experience running IT operations for tens of thousands of clients in 170 countries.

IBM€™s expert integrated systems family€“PureSystems€“is the result of $2 billion in R&D and acquisitions over four years, an unprecedented move by IBM to integrate all IT elements, both physical and virtual. The acquisitions included Platform Computing, Blade Network technologies and others.

The new systems family offers IBM customers a clean break from today€™s enterprise computing model, where multiple and disparate systems require significant resources to set up and maintain. The PureSystems PureFlex integrates server, storage and networking resources into one highly automated and secure, simple-to-manage machine. The PureSystems PureApplication makes use of the first repeatable software patterns and industry-specific processes from IBM, drawn from decades of IBM's expert work with clients and business partners.

€œFrom an IBM perspective, in my lifetime, I have not seen so much of IBM all behind one thing with software, hardware and services; it€™s like 50 years ago when we announced the mainframe,€ Goyal said €œIn many ways, it is as big as that, but designed for a different world.€

For over a century, IBM has introduced new technology to meet business challenges. The prime challenge facing companies worldwide is the need to spend 70 percent or more of their IT budgets on simple operations and maintenance, leaving little to invest in innovation. Two-thirds of corporate IT projects are delivered over budget and behind schedule, according to a recent study by IBM and IDC, which also found that only one in five corporate IT departments are able to devote time and money to innovation.

The time, effort and skills needed to architect, procure and deploy the infrastructure for a typical Web application, for example, can be extensive; it can take six months or more at present. With PureSystems, that same task can be completed in less than 10 days, IBM said. The reasons are: built-in operational expertise; deep integration of servers, storage and networking for improved IT management; alignment of software, applications, middleware and hardware; and built-in support for cloud computing.

€œIBM€™s PureFlex System incorporates the expertise from thousands of client engagements and represents an important advance in the evolution of computing,€ said Rod Adkins, senior vice president, IBM Systems & Technology Group, in a statement. €œThis is the type of engineering that can remove much of the complexity that organizations face in adopting information technology. PureFlex will help clients to free up time and money to focus on innovation that many businesses cannot address due to ever-rising costs and staffing needs in the traditional data center.€

IBM integrated all the critical pieces required in today€™s data center: networking, storage, compute, management and more. The result is a system that is intuitive to set up and far less expensive to maintain. For example, PureSystems can go from its single shipping crate to being up and running in one-third the time of today€™s technology.

This type of deep integration enables PureSystems to automatically scale systems such as compute resources, networking and storage virtually instantly. Each PureSystems chassis can be split into thousands of virtual machines€”up to twice the density of previous systems€”resulting in 43 percent energy savings. PureSystems€™ automated and highly virtualized storage layer can be provisioned 98 percent faster and provide a 45 percent savings in budget costs. IBM PureSystems can be managed from a single console.

For example, the Watson computer system that won the "Jeopardy" quiz show ran on 10 racks of Power7 processors. With the PureSystems technology, the same amount of processing power can run in four racks of Power7 processors, Goyal said. €œSo you can start consolidating workloads. There is amazing density in this technology, and you can run it as an appliance.€

At the center of the new PureSystems is a new software capability that enables operational know-how and expertise to be built directly into the systems. Called Patterns of Expertise, this first-of-a-kind approach converts technology expertise into reusable, downloadable packages. Patterns are available in three categories:

  • IBM Patterns: Built-in at the factory and created based on knowledge gleaned from IBM€™s top IT managers, engineers and technology experts, these sets of patterns automate time-consuming tasks such as configurations, deployment and ongoing upgrades. Applications that used to take days to deploy can now be rolled out in 10 minutes.
  • ISV Patterns: IBM has teamed with more than 100 independent software vendors to offer applications that are certified €œPureSystems-ready.€ PureSystems€™ online catalog of ISV Patterns radically simplifies how applications are deployed and managed. For example, a customer relationship management program that used to take three days to deploy can now be deployed in under an hour.
  • Customer Patterns: IT organizations can package the knowledge of their own handcrafted applications into a Pattern. As a result, a company that is interested in expanding into new markets can do so even when skills are not readily available in new regions or markets.