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back to article IBM gets flexible with converged Power, x86 system

The details are a bit sketchy, but IBM is launching its first fully converged systems since it bought itself some clever storage and networking companies a few years back. The new family of products are called PureSystems, and they are based on a new chassis and system architecture that was known as "Project Troy" inside Big …

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Looks good, lets see it in action

If this is as good as on paper, all of the converged benefits of UCS, Exa with the flexibility of open systems and the ability to allow the application team to operate like an app store where the underlying HW/platform software provisions and maintains itself, that would definitely be a game changer. It will be interesting to see PureSystems in action.

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FAIL

Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

First, its interesting to make such a misleading statement as "IBM still derives the bulk of its prestige and profits from systems" but then again, perception drives reality .

Has anyone looked at IBM's latest Financial reports? http://www.ibm.com/annualreport/2011/bin/assets/2011_ibm_annual.pdf

>60% of IBM's annual revenue is derived from selling services and is growing rapidly every quarter while Systems and Technology is just ~18% of IBM's revenue stream. IBM's business goal is to sell services where the software and "technology" will drive more services.

So clearly this announcement isn't about better technologies to make it easier, less complex for data centers, otherwise, these customers wouldn’t need any of those expensive (IBM) services. Too much choice, too much flexibility, too many options only increases complexity. It’s the IBM Trojan Horse. After all, the code name of this project "Project Troy" is quite meaningful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_horse

So although, these new PureSystems sound "great on paper", the reality is, you're gonna pay for IBM services to get these systems installed, working and running. Otherwise, IBMs IGS would be impacted.

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Pirate

Re: Looks good, lets see it in action

Hmmmm. Hold on a sec whilst I sort out the dozen different management servers that, going on past experience, will be necessary to run any IBM "converged" solution. Sorry, but IBM just don't get "one-pane-of-glass", it gets in the way of all that Global Screwups revenue.

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Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

Revenue yes but IBMs profit does not come from services - Software Group have a massive margin. IGS is often sold on a cost basis with little or no profit at all just to drive hardware and software sales. So a bit of a flaw in your argument?

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WTF?

Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

No flaws in my arguments as far as I can tell but I do agree with you that software also dries massive profits for IBM. I was stating revenues first of all and the statement I countered was "... profits from systems".

Looking at IBM's financial report for 2011, states "More than 90 percent of our segment profit in 2011 was from software, services and financing". Don't see systems anywhere in that sentence.

And I think your statement "IGS is often sold on a cost basis with little or no profit at all just to drive hardware and software sales" is backwards. IBM sells its hardware and software to "DRIVE" its services and hence why I referred to the Trojan horse approach,. If you look into the details of what these new "IBM PureFlex Systems", they are ingeniously tied/locked to IBM SW and services. Its taken me all day just to figure out what is actually new and offered here. Maybe I should call IBM services for help. Oops, its gonna cost me.

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Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

The figures as you have stated them are correct, but the way you are thinking about IBM is incorrect. If you have an IBM system (particularly a Unix, mainframe, System i), you are going to have break fix service and remote support. A large amount of IBM "Services" are directly tied to systems, as they are with any systems company.

IBM Global Services doesn't provide a large amount of system integration services, in the sense of the integration and administration which this system would automate. The VARs provide those services. IGS provides services such as SAP and Oracle EBS implementation and management, BPO, outsourced data center management, etc. IGS does not spend much time making sure that the network can see the server nodes, deploying patches, tuning databases, etc.

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Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

Not really, Exadata and company are hardware systems designed solely for the purpose of driving Oracle software (they only run Oracle software). These systems support processors which are not from IBM (x86), a variety of hypervisors which are not IBM, a variety of OSs that are not from IBM, are optimized with patterns for a whole host of third party applications which are not from IBM. If IBM wanted to make these systems a driver of software, they would have attached or mandated IBM software.

As I mentioned earlier, the services component isn't really a factor. IGS does not provide a great deal of administration and tuning services. They are at the application or process level.

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Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

These sound similar to what Cisco is trying to peddle, but are open. CISCO is all about their expensive switch and pushing EMC's expensive disk and vmware. CISCO does not have advanced x86 systems like IBM"s x5 technology.

I can certainly see moving our websphere farm to these systems. We are and never will be a weblogic shop so Oracle can dream about selling their exalogic.

HP is going to be in a tough spot. They bet the farm on blades and their odyssey announce is just putting future x86 chips on the superdome blades.

Personally I think the hay day of blades are over. Vituralization technology is more important than squeezing nodes sideways in a chassis.

What will be interesting is to see how long before Oracle supports this. I see no reason why they wouldn't on day one. After all they only care about software.

As far as people thinking ibm only cares about services they need to relook at the numbers. IBM is focused on profit driven by software and that is why I think they are pushing these.

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Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

I guess you haven't looked through IBM's full announcement. IBM's Pure Application Systems is *exactly* what Oracle has been doing with its *Exa* systems. http://ibm.co/HCmK34

Its essentially a PureFlex (Blade) system with IBM bundled middleware including DB2, Websphere, Tivoli, etc. So, IBM is validating Oracles approach to selling software through hardware. And as far as I can tell, the Pure Application Systems don't support Oracle SW ;-) Oracles SPARC SuperCluster Engineered System runs full suite of IBM SW as well as SAP and other 3rd party ISV's.

And as for IBM services attached to these new "Pure" systems, I believe the marketing term IBM is using "Built-in expertise" translates to IBM Services. Looking at the Pureflex details, you'll see some special services included “Lab Services” and “Acct Advocate” and “3 yrs w/1 microcode/yr". Doubt this is done by VARS.

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Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

TPM covered the middleware/database stack. IBM is going to start with DB2/WebSphere (naturally) but will expand to other stacks... assuming Big Red is interested.

You do not need to acquire the application stack (PureApplication) which is DB and middleware. If you just want an automated appliance through the platform layer, you can buy PureFlex with Windows or Linux or AIX or i and the hypervisor of your choice and run MS SQL or Oracle or whatever you like on top of it.

I don't doubt that there are some optional Lab Services around this product, but the whole idea is to remove services from the process. IBM has a $60 plus billion services organization. I doubt that installing boxes is going to move that needle at all and is even of interest to IGS. Yes, there will be microcode and other system software support services (probably 3 year warranty with the option to extend services like other IBM systems). This is no different than any other system in the world.

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Re: Seems like IBM has just redefined the word complexity

I don't think Oracle is on the list of PureApplication ISVs that have agreed to allow IBM to use "patterns" and analytics to automate tuning, provisioning, etc, but you can definitely run Oracle on these systems... it just won't be automated like SAP, IBM Software, Infor, various PLMs, etc. Maybe Oracle will come around to becoming part of IBM's PureApplication ecosystem, but I wouldn't count on it.... Nevertheless, these systems will absolutely run Oracle.

Sparc SuperCluster runs Sparc, so no one is seriously considering it, but IBM Software is not optimized for the "engineered system." DB2 and WebSphere run on Sparc, therefore they run on SuperCluster. Oracle runs on x86 - Linux, Windows and Power - AIX, therefore it will run on PureFlex.

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Big Brother

patterns

The 'patterns' that have you puzzled ... take a look here:

http://www.ibm.com/software/webservers/workload-deployer/

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Anonymous Coward

No hot-swap disks on POWER blades?

The disks for the POWER blades are not hot-swap. POWER blades do not support Virtual Fabric VNICs either.

The x86 blade looks good, but multi-chassis management requires the Flex Systems Manager management blade? Why can't IBM build a Chassis Management Controller which could federate with other CMCs via a network to allow simple multi-chassis management and monitoring?

I would say this is better than BladeCenter H, but not by much. I will have to wait and see.

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Re: No hot-swap disks on POWER blades?

I can't speak to Power hot-swap or VNICS, but I think the idea of using Flex Manager for everything is getting away from the separate HMC tools for network, compute and storage. IBM has used the XIV GUI to manage the whole bundle as opposed to multiple tools for each function.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No hot-swap disks on POWER blades?

Virtual fabrics are a Cisco solution looking for a problem that was forced into the fibre channel standards.

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