IBM has announced an ambitious bid to incorporate all IT elements, physical and virtual, into high-density, cloud-ready expert integrated systems that promise to revamp the economics of IT.
The new family of expert integrated systems, dubbed PureSystems, comes out of a 4-year, $2 billion program of R&D and acquisitions. The end result is a sharp turn in the road of enterprise computing, towards a future in which, IBM claims, data centers will be far less resource-intensive to set up and to maintain. (IBM sponsors BusinessAgility.com.)
The PureSystems family incorporates three major advances in computer systems design.
Business Agility asked Richard Ptak, managing partner at Ptak, Noel & Associates LLC, about the likelihood going forward that PureSystems private clouds would interoperate with other cloud services such as those built on OpenCloud or Amazon AWS. Ptak replied that IBM was sure to be working on integration with services based on open standards in particular, "since they have worked so long and so closely with the open-source world."
The patterns of expertise are available at three levels: infrastructure, middleware, and applications. IBM provides the former, packaging up the knowledge of its best IT management and technology workers to speed routine tasks such as deployment and upgrades. Middleware patterns are provided by independent software vendors, and at launch a catalog lists hundreds of middleware patterns. As an example, IBM claims that one such pattern slashes the deployment time for a CRM package from three days to under an hour. Finally, end users can package up their own hard-won knowledge as application patterns, and potentially sell these on the open market.
We asked Richard Ptak whether he saw a market developing for patterns. He replied: "There's been a trend, and IBM has been a leader in this, to ask what it is that the vendor can do to make themselves more valuable to their customers. The PureSystems [middleware] patterns offer this to ISVs. The idea is to lock your channel partner in by making him rich."
We talked about the effect on power efficiency of PureSystems' high-density integrated design. Ptak noted that PureSystems share some technological roots with IBM's mainframe-class zSystems, newer models of which feature integrated power, performance, and cooling management to reduce power consumption per GFLOP. "PureSystems are going to be way green," Ptak concluded.
The first two members of the PureSystems family, dubbed PureFlex and PureApplication, will be available in this quarter, according to IBM.