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Next Generation Integrated IT Platforms

Comparing a self-driving hybrid car and IT efficiency

An announcement today by IBM is trying to solve an IT development and delivery problem that has been perpetually vexing CIOs.  It is similar to what the automotive industry has been trying for years – self-driving cars(a.k.a. automation in IT) that also give great gas mileage (a.k.a. optimization in IT).

IBM’s PureSystems promises automated tools as well as efficiency on the network and storage level speeding the delivery time of IT solutions.  It came at the heels of a similar announcement by HP called Converged Cloud.

Why is IBM doing this?  The challenge from public clouds is prompting IBM and a number of technology companies like Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP and Oracle to improve their product portfolio in order to make sure they hold on to a valuable source of revenue from data centers.  As a result, IT departments will finally be able to focus more on innovation and less on maintenance while improving business agility.

The IBM offering is broken down into the infrastructure system called PureFlex and the platform system called PureApplication.  Peering into the future, I would expect an additional offering called PureData built for business analytics integrating the Netezza acquisition and competing with Oracle's Exadata.

Some PureFlex features could make life easier for the operations manager:

  1. Security: Trusted protection built from the hardware up.
  2. Networking: Designed for virtualization and cloud
  3. Virtualization: Support of 4 hypervisors including VMWare, KVM & Microsoft Hyper V.
  4. Hybrid capability: By offering PureSystems on the cloud, IT organizations could spike into the cloud on demand.

At the same time, a couple of PureApplication features could make life easier for developers:

  1. Workload Patterns: Codifying expertise for reuse.  HP calls a similar capability CloudMaps
  2. Platform as a Service: Has all the features that would allow you to easily build a “cloud” application i.e. OnDemand, Self Service, Scalable & Measurable (OSSM).
  3. Open: Support of Ruby and PHP in addition to Java

While there are a number of benefits to using this approach for data center optimization, there is also a potential use for innovative solution providers who are looking to gain the small edge in efficiency to develop and deliver their solution. I could foresee a company like InstaGram using such an integrated platform to grow not in 18 months like they did but rather in 6 months.  The challenge for IBM in such circumstances is the cost of such a solution compared to one built with off the shelf products.

Image: Courtesy IBM

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

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