Confused about which IBM PureSystem is right for you?
Jake Kitchener, IBM Engineer
Systems Optimization Competency Center
Hi, my name is Jake
Kitchener and I’m an engineer in an IBM group called
the Systems Optimization Competency Center (SOCC). We are a development
organization focused on solution optimization with expertise in hardware, software
and services. Collectively, we have decades of experience working with clients
on data warehousing, online transaction processing (OLTP) and analytics, which
gives us a great understanding of client data centers and workloads.
In my recent visits with clients, I have been
getting questions about the IBM PureSystems family of expert integrated
systems. I thought it might be helpful if I take a few minutes to talk about
the members of the PureSystems family and then differentiate between them.
While the PureSystems family is relatively new to IBM, this approach to building solutions is not.
We’ve been delivering such solutions for years, most notably the IBM Smart
Analytics System for data warehousing and the Netezza data warehouse appliances.
The difference is that now we have an entire family of expert integrated
The SOCC contributed much of the expertise that
goes into these integrated systems in terms of architecting early designs,
incorporating feedback and learnings from IBM Smart Analytics System and
Netezza clients, and helping the many diverse teams work together. We looked at
CPU capabilities, memory bandwidth, network topology, I/O, RDMA, storage
capabilities/configurations and security requirements. From there we built
optimized PureSystems solutions, creating a balance among all aspects of
performance and providing capability for users to scale both up and out.
So what exactly does it mean when we talk about
expert integrated systems? It
means a completely integrated solution with built-in expertise and best
practices (captured, lab tested and organized into a repeatable form) specifically optimized for a particular
type of workload and then delivered to you turn-key. These systems are designed
to reduce manual steps and be up and running out of the box in four hours. This
means you can save time and resources, reduce costs and start working faster. You
might enjoy watching this deployment
The PureSystems family consists of the IBM PureFlex
System, IBM PureApplication System and the newest member, IBM PureData System. Selecting
which system is right for you depends on your needs. I definitely recommend
talking to an IBM rep or IBM Business Partner; however, you can consider the
following general guidelines. If you’re looking for integrated compute,
storage, networking and virtualization, a PureFlex System would be a good
option. If you want an integrated approach to application, middleware and
infrastructure, then a PureApplication System would be a good option. For OLTP
or online analytical processing (OLAP) workloads, the PureData System may be
the best choice.
IBM PureFlex System – A
PureFlex System is a pre-defined, preconfigured, optimized and tested
configuration that, as I mentioned above, integrates compute, storage and
network resources and ships complete. It provides an excellent basis for your
data center and is expert at sensing and anticipating resource needs to help
you optimize your infrastructure. PureFlex also includes deployment services
and can support a wide variety of workloads. It comes in three configurations:
· Express: Infrastructure for small-and-midsize
businesses and is the most affordable entry point
· Standard: Infrastructure for application
servers with supporting storage and networking
· Enterprise: Infrastructure for scalable cloud
deployments, including redundancy for resilient operation
With PureFlex you can manage and optimize multiple
workloads across multiple operating systems. You get a choice of architectures:
IBM POWER7 and/or Intel x86 processors within the same systems. A choice of OS:
AIX, IBM i, Microsoft Windows and Red Hat or SUSE Linux. A choice of
hypervisors: IBM PowerVM, KVM, VMware or Microsoft HyperV. SmartCloud Entry is
included on the PureFlex standard and enterprise configurations. SmartCloud
Entry provides a great starting point for introducing infrastructure as a service
(IaaS) to an organization. Benefits to you can include reduced server, storage
and network management and administration costs.
PureApplication System – The IBM PureApplication System is expert
at optimally deploying and running applications for rapid time to value and is designed to be easy to deploy, customize, safeguard
and manage. These platform systems are designed and tuned
specifically for transactional web and database applications and use patterns to help you rapidly scale your
enterprise. You can use the provided patterns for deploying your web
applications or even customize them to meet your specific needs. It is this
pattern technology that ensures consistent and reliable platform scaling. As
your workload requirements increase, you can even migrate your database-as-a-service
patterns from IBM PureApplication System to an IBM PureData System for
Transactions — providing extremely high-performance database capabilities tuned
precisely for transactional workloads. It is this elastic workload management
that makes the PureSystems platform so powerful.
IBM PureData System –
There are three systems that fall in this category.
IBM PureData System for Transactions – Provides
tier-1 database capability using IBM DB2 pureScale as the underlying database
engine. Theses systems are highly reliable
and scalable. They support all DB2 workloads unchanged and support Oracle
database workloads with minimal changes. As mentioned previously, when
combining IBM PureApplication System with IBM PureData System for Transactions,
you can easily grow your complete platform-as-a-service offerings.
IBM PureData System for Operational Analytics – Is
powered by IBM Power Systems servers and the DB2-based IBM InfoSphere Warehouse
software. It does in-database analysis of large data sets that include both
historic and operational data. It also continuously ingests data to support
near-real-time responsiveness. PureData system for Operational Analytics is designed to handle 1000+ concurrent
operational queries while delivering mission-critical reliability, scalability
and great performance.
IBM PureData System
for Analytics – Is powered by Netezza technology and is a simple data
appliance for serious analytics. It simplifies and optimizes performance of
data services for analytic applications, enabling very complex algorithms to
run in minutes. It has more than 200 in-database analytics functions, which
support analysis where the data resides so you can eliminate costly data
movement, giving you performance while hiding the complexity of parallel
I mentioned IBM PureFlex System above. We also
offer IBM Flex System and I wanted to talk about that as well.
IBM Flex System – Is our next generation of converged
infrastructure. And while it forms the hardware platform basis for many of our
PureSystems offerings, Flex System is also offered as a build-to-order option
for enterprise needs that are less focused than those of our PureSystems
family. IBM PureFlex is the ideal solution for clients looking for rapid time
to value with considerable infrastructure flexibility. So what’s the difference
between IBM PureFlex and IBM Flex System? Flex System is open to a wider
variety of workloads that may require more unique compute, storage and
networking configurations, where these needs outweigh the advantages of a more
integrated solution such as PureFlex System.
Many clients are also
interested to know how Flex System compares to traditional blade systems. Below,
I’ve listed some of Flex System’s key advantages over blades.
design – The IBM Flex System architecture is designed for the next decade of
technology. This new platform design provides dramatic improvements in
packaging for power and cooling, providing headroom for future technology. Even
today, we provide advanced I/O capabilities such as 10 Gb Ethernet with four
channels per chassis slot providing 40 Gb Ethernet bandwidth in half-width
compute nodes, and 80 Gb in full-width configurations. There are options for
converged Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switching as well. To complete our
I/O portfolio we have InfiniBand switching options and 8 Gb or 16 Gb SAN
switches. Finally, we are able to offer the highest performance IBM POWER7 and
Intel processors available today with high memory density options.
infrastructure management for your storage, networking, compute and
virtualization – The new Flex System Manager appliance provides a
complete management view across multiple Flex System chassis. The Flex System
Manager offers functionality for life-cycle management, call home support and
system monitoring. With tools like Configuration Patterns and IBM Fabric
Manager, the Flex System Manager can dramatically reduce the overhead of
infrastructure scaling. With Flex System Manager you can quickly deploy IBM POWER
and x86 virtual resources. This includes a complete end-to-end view of the
physical-to-virtual mapping of your infrastructure, providing administrators
with real-world application impacts from physical hardware issues. This aides
in maintenance scheduling as well.
with the IBM Flex System V7000 Storage Node – The Flex System V7000
Storage Node is an integrated block storage system that enables super-fast storage
deployment and simplifies management. In my opinion, the best part is that it enables
rapid third-party external storage virtualization to manage capacity in other
disk systems. When Flex System V7000 virtualizes a disk system, capacity in the
external system inherits the rich functionality and ease of use of Flex System
V7000, including advanced replication, thin provisioning, real-time compression
and IBM Easy Tier.
The bottom line is that with today’s complex data
centers, we must provide the offerings and tools needed to simplify your
compute, network and storage deployment and life-cycle management. IBM is doing
that now with the PureSystems family and is continuously looking for ways to
innovate in providing flexible solutions for your enterprise with as much built
in expertise and guidance as possible.
Connect with Jake
on LinkedIn or e-mail.