Integrated stacks are starting to trickle into the market. Though still very much at the early adopter stage, it is worth knowing a little about them so we can determine how they may change the way development teams work. With this in mind, I attended the IBM PureSystems launch in Sydney last month.
The pitch began with statistics from a commissioned study with Forrester, showing that 25% of IT projects eventually end up over budget and a little more than that fall behind schedule. The study also reported that 41% of respondents said integration, config and testing took far too much time as well as increasing cost and risk. Ongoing support for infrastructure such as adding capacity, tuning, patches and re-testing was another main contributor to the blowout of time and budgets: 65% of IT budgets in 2011 were spent on maintenance in comparison to 50% ten years ago. IBM say their integrated stack can help tackle server sprawl, optimse existing app performance and roll out new services and apps faster.
Apparently with IBM PureSystems you are able to provision a new IT environment within minutes. Admittedly, high transactional requirements or anything with excessive data and process requirements may not be able to go into these systems at present (limit up to 608 cores and 9.7 TB RAM), but they seem to be applicable to 80% of companies’ workload requirements. Furthermore, with PureSystems, IBM have looked at best practice and used 'patterns of expertise' (where applications are pre-configured and pre-tested within the system). PureSystems come preloaded with WebSphere and DB2. At Impact 2012 new patterns were announced for other IBM applications, like Cognos and Connections, to ensure rapid acceleration of deployment of IBM’s software on their system. That’s great if you are an IBM shop and want to consolidate your infrastructure, but where I think this becomes really interesting is with the Pattern Dev Kit for third party patterns.
The Pattern Dev Kit will be shared and available online for download. The principle is essentially that the more third parties that play, the more options available for true agility of your infrastructure (see who has joined the party at IBM’s online store: IBM PureSystems Centre).
IBM have categorised their centre by industry and there are currently a variety of players who are making their Patterns of Expertise available for download. With embedded Patterns of Expertise, third parties can control the deployment on any site - which I think is a great idea and brings us full circle in addressing those statistics outlined above. What it means is less reliance on manuals or the expertise of your local support team. This is a scenario I have seen go wrong many times. For example, you start with just one week allocated for environment creation, but four weeks later the application is still not up and running due to unforeseen issues. IBM presented an SAP case study where using the SAP landscape environment did not require engaging with a network team. Already a step forward!
IBM is a new player in the market for integrated stacks and are bringing what IBM does best to their offering. Most vendors seem to have strict partnerships for server virtualization and networking resources, but IBM believe their broad ecosystem in the market, open standards commitment, huge investment in research and great finance options will make them stand out and lead this space. Only time will tell.
Keep a lookout on this blog for our DevOps team’s future evaluation of IBM PureApplication System.
Posted by Desma