IBM Introduces PureSystems Family

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IBM launches the PureSystems Family, converging virtualization, cloud services, storage and networking into one unit. IBM's Mark Hennessy discusses the new systems and channel implications.

IBM is introducing something completely different, again. What is it? Imagine a box that integrates servers, storage, networking, virtualizaiton and cloud, all in one convenient package. This is the essence of the PureSystems Family. IBM believes the PureSystems Family will usher in a new era of managed service providers and IT departments, since deploying and provisioning a full data center inside one massive unit has never truly been done before.

IBM's PureSystems package comes equipped with three key technologies that "integrate all the IT elements, both physical and virtual." The first feature up is IBM's "scale-in" design, which essentially allows for the automated management of all complex systems embedded within the unit. And because it's all integrated, IBM boasts that PureSystems can "handle twice as many applications," as comparative hardware today. PureSystems also come equipped with "patterns of expertise" which is a fancy way of explaining IBM's embedded software-level automation for configuration and application updates. That's followed up with "Cloud Ready" integration, which allows PureSystems to "instantly" bubble out private clouds that scale on demand. Security and automatic resource provisioning are included.

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IBM is focusing big-time on the speed of all this advanced technology, but there's also a considerable push around how it can expand the cloud ecosystem thanks to ISVs and developer integration. IBM said because the PureSystems Family is built on the same architecture as IBM's SmartCloud, developers can simply leverage the SmartCloud platform to build and test PureSystems applications.

Mark Hennessy, IBM's general manager for global business partners, provided some background color for Big Blue's PureSystems. "We've been working on this a long time. IBM invested about $2 billion dollars in R&D ... [which has] positioned us to bring about this new class of computing, which is very different from anything out there in the marketplace today. It's truly integrated by IBM," said Hennessy, poking at other "coalitions of vendors" that may not offer the same kind of "pure" integration.

Jabs aside, Hennessy said IBM is looking to address the issues of complexity in the market by offering a simplified unified system. That doesn't mean IBM is looking to hip-check other data center units out to the curb. Even though the purpose of PureSystems is to consolidate data center appliances, Hennessy stressed, "We understand that client environments are heterogeneous," and as such, the PureSystems Family promises to play nice with other technology.

Switching gears to the channel, Hennessy outlined how PureSystems could be deployed nearly anywhere, including at the client's data center or a public cloud in IBM's own Smart Cloud environment. But more than likely, the PureSystems unit will end up inside an MSP's data center, where it can be provisioned out for customer demands. PureSystems, according to Hennessy, could also help MSPs offer more to their customers, thanks to the ease with which PureSystems can connect, provision and deliver applications.

All the traditional channel perks are there – training, marketing and more – but Hennessy is intensely focused on how PureSystems Family can really make a splash in the managed services industry, between reoccurring revenue services, or the simple ability to expand company capacity for more business. "Flexibility" with PureSystems, in every sense of the word, is key, said Hennessy.

PureSystems comes in both PowerPC and Intel CPU flavors, but the price tag on this package is a bit steep. It starts at $100,000 and will ship by the end of this quarter. That places it as something best leveraged by enterprises or the upper echelon of SMBs. Nevertheless, it could be the perfect time to go to market with this solution, considering all the buzz around converged systems and cloud technology. Given time, it's possible IBM's PureSystems will find its way into many of the most taxing data centers.

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