|By Maureen O'Gara||
|April 16, 2012 07:00 AM EDT||
In case nobody noticed, IBM put its reputation on the line the other day.
It said it had distilled all the years of experience it got from tens of thousands of customer engagements around the world - and nobody can compete with that - into a box, an "expert integrated system" that it made every conceivable marketing claim about, beginning with making everything utterly simple.
It said it was a snap to deploy, cuts application deployment time from maybe, say, six months all told to a month, and uses self-healing intelligent software to install, maintain, update and monitor itself and all its parts from operating systems through to applications to cut support costs.
Blessedly the thing reportedly doesn't need ham-fingered human intervention so IT can go off and do cleverer, creative things because it's no longer worried about just keeping the lights on and spending 70% of its budget on maintenance.
The nimble miracle box is called PureSystems - which makes it sound like it's been through some sort of ritual bath - and it's supposed to put IBM at the head of the next technology curve.
What it is is an all-in-one converged (or bundled) architecture that - like stuff IBM's rivals HP, Oracle, Cisco et al are churning out in the fight for control of the data center - combines server, storage, networking and management in a single system.
It means using standardized configurations and pre-installed application "patterns" that "convert technology expertise into reusable, downloadable packages."
And of course there's a cloud angle. There's always a cloud angle these days. PureSystems apps can run in-house or up there in the cloud, to start with, on IBM's own SmartCloud to, say, test and develop, and reportedly it happens at the press of a button.
Integration with other clouds is supposed to be on the way, although a public cloud like Amazon still sure looks like the easy way out.
IBM is trying to keep the argument to the private cloud. It says it can "stand up a private cloud system in minutes" and calls Puresystems a "cloud system in box" with no single point of failure. IBM said it included a cloud self-service interface directly into PureSystems to accelerate the use of the cloud.
PureSystems is reportedly the product of a four-year effort that cost $2 billion - and is supposed to solve all of IT's pressing problems today.
It's got 125 ISVs behind the machine with 150 or so odd packages optimized for PureSystems - except Oracle, which has its own fish to fry since its two-year-old Sun acquisition and subsequent move into so-called engineered systems like Exadata and Exalytics that compete with IBM.
Otherwise the willing include Microsoft, SugarCRM, Infor, Red Hat, SAP and Siemens, who are now all PureSystems-ready, beating Oracle in the variety department at least.
IBM says PureSystems can handle twice as many applications as other technology, doubling the computing power per square foot of data center space.
IBM is also supposed to have 500 system integrator and solution providers ready to push the stuff.
The rack-based server widgetry on offer runs on either x86 or IBM's own Power 7 chips running Linux, Windows or IBM's AIX Unix. To prove it's not a proprietary lock-in it uses VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat or IBM PowerV virtualization.
It's supposed to configure thousands of VMs, "twice the density of previous systems," "slashing software licensing costs by upwards of 70%."
Pricing reportedly begins at $100,000 and availability is set for June.
The widgetry includes an infrastructure system called PureFlex and a platform system called PureApplication. PureFlex handles security from the ground up, networking with an eye to virtualization and the cloud, the virtualization itself and the ability to burst to the cloud. PureApplication involves IBM's institutional smarts or workload patterns; Platform-as-a-Service; and support for Java, Ruby and PHP.