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IBM SmartCloud Foundation complementing IBM PureFlex Systems

This fall, IBM® has been keeping IT media, analysts and consumers busy with a virtual avalanche ofannouncements about new and enhanced products. High on the list have been IBM SmartCloud and IBM PureSystems, specifically PureFlex™ Systems and IBM® Flex System Manager™. Here’s what we see.

SmartCloud is the family name for the collection of cloud enablement technologies, managed cloud services and cloud business solutions that enable and facilitate an enterprise to move from a virtualized environment to a sophisticated private/hybrid cloud service delivery and management.

The cloud infrastructure enablement solutions are collectively known as the IBM SmartCloud Foundation. These provide the starting point for cloud implementation and management. SmartCloud solutions include SmartCloud Entry (eases the implementation of a basic managed cloud environment), SmartCloud Provisioning (for optimizing virtualized and cloud operations for workloads), SmartCloud Monitoring (monitoring to assure ‘right-sized’ virtual and cloud infrastructure), SmartCloud Continuous Delivery, SmartCloud Service Desk, SmartCloud Patch Management, SmartCloud APM, SmartCloud Workload Automation, IBM NetCool Network Management, etc.

Each SmartCloud solution uses products chosen from across IBM’s software portfolio to solve a particular problem. All have been pre-built and tested to assure smooth integration. This allows IBM to put together exactly the solution the customer wants. The customer can pick and choose which SmartCloud solution to implement when they need it. They can pick among a range of solutions that are also based in cloud and industry standards, so they can work with non-IBM products that adhere to established and emerging cloud and cloud-related standards. For example, they can leverage VMware tools and data from the tools via existing integrations and work in concert with SmartCloud Monitoring.

SmartCloud solutions complement and extend the capabilities of the IBM PureSystems family of intelligent, integrated computing systems. IBM announced enhancements and updates to IBM PureFlex System, IBM Flex System elements and IBM Flex System Manager (FSM). FSM manages all IBM PureFlex System resources from a single management node. It comes pre-loaded and configured with the expertise necessary to manage the assets and capabilities of the system. These all align with IBM’s four initiatives: Consolidate. Optimize. Innovate. Accelerate Cloud. Here are a few examples of how:

1) Consolidate: IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and IBM SmartCloud Monitoring ensures
Resiliency and achieves high levels of virtualization density while managing risk as
customers move to IBM PureFlex Systems and seek to reduce costs.
2) Optimize: IBM software enables provisioning, comprehensive image management, storage optimization and security for workloads to improve performance and reliability.
3) Innovate: IBM provides application level instrumentation, business perspective views, event consolidation and a complete view of the client’s storage environment.
4) Accelerate Cloud: Leveraging the IBM SmartCloud Foundation portfolio, dynamic
provisioning, charge-back or show-back, and security for virtualized workloads are all
features that help to accelerate cloud deployment and delivery.

IBM Flex System elements enhancements include new chassis configuration, new processor, networking switches, and storage options, as well as a IBM PCIe Expansion node. IBM Flex System elements are the basis for the IBM PureFlex System. It is available for those who want to do their own assembly, integration and testing.

IBM PureFlex System enhancements included chassis-integrated storage, more powerful compute nodes, a variety of network switches and new system configurations. These additions increase the flexibility, enhance scalability, increase capacity, speed throughput and improve overall performance.

IBM Flex System Manager v1.2 enhancements include new functionality, such as support for all the new hardware, rapid deployment and bare-metal install of operating system and hypervisors, remote system management monitoring apps for smartphones (iPhone, Android and Blackberry), a single integrated interface for device configuration and updating workflows and setup wizards that speed initial installation. More details on the enhancement to IBM’s PureFlex System appear in our updated whitepaper at www.ptaknoel.com.

Common in the design and development of both PureSystems and SmartCloud is a belief in the transformational power of clouds. Clouds effectively address the need more easily, quickly and effectively leverage IT to achieve enterprise business goals. But to do this, the enterprise must move from traditional modes to data center operation to virtualized infrastructures and then to the cloud. PureSystems and SmartCloud solutions provide the infrastructure, solutions and services to make this happen.

If we sound impressed, it’s because we are. IBM has put together a substantive package that helps enterprises move smoothly into cloud operations. And, they are clearly working to live up to their promise to keep improving, enhancing and reducing the complexity of applying these systems and associated software to the achievement of enterprise goals.

*Richard Ptak is an analyst expert for Ptak, Noel & Associates