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How IBM is Transforming the Application  Software Market with Pre-Packaged Pure Systems
 

How IBM is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged Pure Systems

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The more logical place to seek help when building out infrastructure is from a systems/software maker that has deep expertise in system design, middleware, infrastructure, operating environments, ...

The more logical place to seek help when building out infrastructure is from a systems/software maker that has deep expertise in system design, middleware, infrastructure, operating environments, virtualization, consolidate, management and cloud design and delivery. IBM is one of the only vendors that can offer this kind of expertise. By virtue of developing its own complete infrastructure stack, compute/storage/-networking hardware, and its own management product offerings, IBM is one of the few vendors in the industry that can build a deeply integrated cloud environment that can offload its customers and ISV business partners from the complexities of infrastructure and application service deployment. IBM’s PureSystems have been designed specifically for these purposes.

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    How IBM is Transforming the Application  Software Market with Pre-Packaged Pure Systems How IBM is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged Pure Systems Document Transcript

    • Research Report How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-packaged PureSystemsIntroductionFrom our perspective, systems vendors and independent software vendors (ISVs) hold the keys tosimplifying cloud environments:  Systems vendors have the ability to apply deep expertise to build highly integrated systems/storage/network/infrastructure/application/database environments. And,  ISVs have the ability to simplify application acquisition/adoption by enabling applications to be deployed as cloud services; by simplifying application set-up; by simplifying testing; and by simplifying the processes of updating and patching.By using its vast, deep systems/software design talent — and by working closely with its ISVpartners — IBM has introduced a new, highly-integrated compute/storage/network/infrastructurefamily of offerings designed to make it easy to deploy and tune applications for cloud architectures.IBM calls these systems “IBM PureSystems” — and the first two members of this new family ofsystems are: 1. IBM PureFlex Systems, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. This modular and integrated platform can be configured in various ways (for instance, adding internal storage, or more compute nodes, or adding a management node) to meet specific client needs. Further, it enables ISVs to rapidly deploy their applications as “virtual appliances” on prepackaged cloud infrastructure. 2. IBM PureApplication Systems, IBM’s PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) solution which is built using the above mentioned IBM PureFlex Systems — but also includes a hardened set of IBM middleware such as WebSphere and DB2 to provide a robust PaaS upon which ISVs can deploy J2EE applicationsIn this Research Report, Clabby Analytics takes a closer look at the new IBMPureFlex System inparticular. And what we find is that IBMPureFlex Systems:  Have been built by engineers with deep expertise in systems design and infrastructure integration. These systems have been tuned-to-the-extreme by experts.  Offer a new, integrated and modular system/subsystem, application and cloud provisioning facilities, and greatly simplified management. Together, these elements streamline cloud deployment and management, off-loading ISV and customers from having to deal with infrastructure and management complexities —thus accelerating client time-to-value; And,  Provide ISVs with access to new tools and utilities that can be used to create “virtual appliances” that enable applications to be packaged for rapid customer delivery. Further, IBM provides ISVs with no-fee assistance in building cloud-enabled applications under the guidance of IBM’s “Virtual Appliance Factory”.This report was developed by Clabby Analytics - with IBM assistance and funding. This report may utilize information, includingpublicly available data, provided by various companies and sources, including IBM. The opinions are those of the report’s author, and donot necessarily represent IBM’s position.
    • How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged PureFlex SystemsThis final point about virtual appliances is worth dwelling upon. ISVs can create “images” of theirapplications that can be deployed on virtual appliances. Once these images have been created, theycan be cataloged. And it does not take a lot of imagination to envision these applications beingmarketed through a premier B2B enterprise application store. If IBM does create such a store, webelieve that IBM has the potential to transform the way that applications are offered in the future.Today’s SituationIncreasingly, IT (information technology) buyers want to take advantage of applications that aredelivered as “services” in order to reduce computing costs, enable innovation, as well as to buildmore nimble (agile) information systems environments. But, moving to cloud architecture involvesbuilding expertise in infrastructure management (especially in virtualization, provisioning, andworkload automation); it involves newer kinds of application performance management tuningexpertise; and it involves new information system/process alignment skills. Many large enterprisesare investing heavily in building these skills. Other enterprises are turning to their systemsproviders and ISVs for technical assistance. From our perspective, much of this integration, tuning, and management burden can be off-loaded if vendors provide better integrated systems environments and richer, broader, deeper — yet simplified — management tools.The way we see it, the core expertise of a typical application ISV is building application solutions(adding new features and functions to software offerings, quality assuring those offerings, anddelivering those solutions to market). Yet, in today’s computing marketplace, ISVs are being askedby IT buyers to support systems consolidation, virtualization, workload optimization and othertangential initiatives. Further, buyers are also asking for assistance in deploying applications withincloud architecture. Accordingly, ISVs are forced to invest heavily in technical support related toinfrastructure — and to spend their research and development (R&D) funds to support efforts thatare orthogonal to their core mission. The more logical place to seek help when building out infrastructure is from a systems/software maker that has deep expertise in system design, middleware, infrastructure, operating environments, virtualization, consolidate, management and cloud design and delivery. IBM is one of the only vendors that can offer this kind of expertise. By virtue of developing its own complete infrastructure stack, compute/storage/- networking hardware, and its own management product offerings, IBM is one of the few vendors in the industry that can build a deeply integrated cloud environment that can offload its customers and ISV business partners from the complexities of infrastructure and application service deployment. IBM’s PureSystems have been designed specifically for these purposes.Market PositioningIBM has positioned its PureSystems as: 1. Advanced technology that can be used to efficiently consolidate a client’s existing workloads to reduce operating expenses and unleash maintenance budgets to deliver on new business imperatives; 2. A means to accelerate a client’s time-to-value by reducing risk, costs and complexity from solution deployments; 3. A way to simplify application and service delivery and management to meet client’s new business needs and deliver improved cloud economics.For the remainder of this report we focus on point #3 (above).April, 2012 © 2012 Clabby Analytics Page 2
    • How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged PureFlex SystemsIt’s About Application Capture and Cloud EnablementAt Clabby Analytics we have a maxim: “the more successful an information system environment isat capturing applications, the greater market success it will have”. Consider Microsoft Windowswild success when application developers flocked en masse to that platform. Or Apple and its iOS /iTunes. Or Google with its Android environment… It is evident to us that IBM understands this application capture maxim, and wants to be sure that it is properly positioned to capture the next generation of cloud applications.It’s Also About Reducing Support/Integration Burdens on ISVs and Systems AdministratorsIn today’s systems environments, ISVs and systems administrators are asked to juggle operatingenvironments, hypervisors, applications and databases across and within systems environments —usually using different and incompatible management tools to do so. IBM’s PureSystems greatlysimplify application deployment and management through the use of an “activation engine” (to bediscussed later in this report) and a set of integrated management tools that can manage systems,resources and applications within a single system environment or across platforms. IBM PureSystems shift the ISV focus away from having to deal with the complexities of virtualization and systems management, instead shifting ISV focus toward application service delivery.And, It’s About Competitive DifferentiationIBM’s deep expertise in infrastructure and management integration is a major competitiveadvantage for IBM as compared with generic x86-based environments offered by HP, Cisco, Dell,and Oracle. By virtue of building its own servers, storage, networking products, infrastructure,systems software stack, and management environments — and its own servers — IBM has greatercontrol over the features and functions that it can use to build highly-integrated systems. HP, Ciscoand Dell rely heavily on third parties for infrastructure and middleware software — and, according-ly, do not have the same expertise to control over the design of infrastructure and managementproducts, nor the deep in-house experts to tune their products to the extreme like IBM does. IBM is taking advantage of deep in-house expertise to integrate and tune its systems, thereby creating a major competitive edge as the market looks to deploy cloud computing environments.A Closer Look at IBM’s PureFlex Systems EnvironmentsFirst and foremost, it is important to point out that IBM PureFlex Systems and PureApplicationSystems are “systems” (not just servers), which means they are all about integrating compute nodeswith storage subsystems, networking, virtualization hypervisors, and related infrastructure andmanagement products.Second, it is important to note that each of these individual components are excellent designs in-and-of themselves. PureFlex Systems feature Intel’s latest generation x86 Xeon processors invarying densities — and IBM POWER7-based processors which can be mixed-and matched inhybrid configurations. (Note: IBM’s PureApplication Systems will feature the same x86 Xeonprocessors — with POWER7 processors to follow shortly after). The chassis design is flexible,featuring 14 half-wide bays that allow various components to be mixed-and-matched within.IBM’s Storwize V7000 external storage array can be placed externally (and a newer version thatcan be placed inside the chassis that will become available soon). PCIe-based network interfacecards can be mounted within, and a choice of several network fabrics is offered (Ethernet, FCoE,Infiniband, Fibre Channel). These components — and the two PureSystems family environmentsare illustrated in Figure 1.April, 2012 © 2012 Clabby Analytics Page 3
    • How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged PureFlex SystemsFigure 1: IBM’s PureSystems Family Source: IBM Corporation — April, 2012Third, it is important to point out that if an existing application works on today’s Intel x86 or IBMPOWER7 processors running Windows, Linux, AIX and/or on “IBM i” operating environments, itwill run unaltered on IBM PureFlex Systems — thus ensuring customer investment protection.IBM’s binary compatibility statement is available at http://www.ibm.com/systems/power/hardware/compatibility/.Notice in Figure 1 that IBM describes its PureFlex System as a pre-configured, pre-integrated“infrastructure system”; whereas its PureApplication System is described as a pre-configured, pre-integrated “platform system”. There are very distinct differences in these system designs, asillustrated in greater detail in Figure 2.Figure 2 — Infrastructure (IaaS)Versus Platform (PaaS) Orientation Source: IBM Corporation — April, 2012April, 2012 © 2012 Clabby Analytics Page 4
    • How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged PureFlex SystemsIn Figure 2, start by examining the ISV application, platform and infrastructure patterns associatedwith each system — because these define the purpose of each system. IBM’s PureFlex System hasbeen specifically designed and organized to allow ISVs to optimize the performance of their appli-cations on an underlying IaaS cloud environment (either in a traditional computing model or in ahighly virtualized manner that can make heavy use of virtualized appliances). The PureApplicationSystem, on the other hand, has initially been designed to serve Java / J2EE applications as well astypical, fast-threaded Web-oriented ISV applications. IBM PureFlex Systems are built with advanced and integrated management facilities (designed and configured by IBM experts) — making these systems ideal for ISVs looking to aggressively deliver application services managed in a cloud.Interestingly, both platform designs make it easy to move toward cloud deployment, which is whythe bottom section in Figure 2, infrastructure patterns, is the same for each system design. Our initial assessment is that IBM PureSystems are extremely fast (as borne-out by client and ISV scenarios cited later in this report) both from a processor perspective with the latest Intel and POWER processors — and from a communications perspective (wired to allow a lot of communications to take place between nodes and storage within the chassis). Further, the system design of PureSystems is flexible and innovative. But we are even more impressed with the level of highly intuitive infrastructure and management software that accompanies this system.Why Are the Virtualized Appliance/Activation Engine Concepts So Important to ISVs?For ISVs looking to accelerate their move into cloud computing, it is very important to understandthe “virtual appliance” concept mentioned in previous sections. A virtual appliance is simply asoftware image that includes the ISV software application, an underlying middleware stack, anoperating system image, an activation engine (that launches & configures the VM image), andaccess to the VM metadata. Prepackaging virtual appliances makes applications ready for rapiddeployment (as opposed to repeatedly creating virtual machine and then manually mountingapplications on them). Using virtual appliances can vastly simplify software installation,configuration and maintenance because administrators don’t have to deal with the repeateddeployment of complex stacks of underlying software (see Figure 3).Figure 3 — Why Virtual Appliances Are So Important to ISVs Source: IBM Corporation — April, 2012April, 2012 © 2012 Clabby Analytics Page 5
    • How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged PureFlex SystemsThe IBM Virtual Solutions Activation EngineIt is also important for ISVs to understand a concept known as the “activation engine”. In today’svirtual server environments, application architects focus primarily on mounting their applicationson a given operating system (OS) or hypervisor — leaving the job of integrating the rest of thesoftware stack and database to systems administrators. So, for instance, an ISV application may bedeployed on a particular OS image — but what happens when that image is placed on a virtualmachine on a different host? In this case, the host name assigned to the initial applicationdeployment would have changed when the image was moved — potentially breaking the link to thedatabase. At this juncture an administrator would need to step in and fix this situation (anadministrator who may or may not have the proper domain knowledge to fix the situation). In acloud environment, this type of activity needs to be performed automatically, not manually.To remedy this situation, IBM has built a scripting engine that it calls its “Virtual SolutionsActivation Engine” (VSAE). The VSAE is a software tool that is used during the prepackagingvirtual appliances to ensure that an application gets integrated with the entire software stack(including the database). It is installed at the time a virtual appliance is created — and when thevirtual appliance is deployed, the VSAE reconfigures the system and the installed applications toensure that the application is linked with all of the appropriate services it needs to execute.(Technically what it does is it parses an XML configuration file to retrieve the parameters and thencalls a specific activation program that sets points of variability [change points] in the applicationstack in order to ensure that the application continues to work). This activation engine concept is extremely important because it greatly simplifies application deployment on virtual servers — and because it reduces skilled manual labor costs (and associated human errors). To better understand this concept, visit: http://www.mcpressonline.com/system-administration/high- availability-disaster-recovery/cloudify-your-applications-by-creating-a-software-virtual-appliance.htmlMoving into Virtual Appliance Cloud EnvironmentsIn the future, we believe that ISVs will strive to have their applications listed in a catalog wheretheir applications can be accessed and deployed as cloud services (thus generating revenue). Toenable ISVs to service-enable their applications, IBM has created the “IBM Virtual ApplianceFactory”, a means for ISVs to engage with IBM using virtualized IBM facilities around the worldto obtain virtual appliance guidance — as well as a means to remotely test software developed forvirtual appliances using IBM facilities (for either Intel x86 or POWER 7 environments orcombinations thereof).Initially, the steps in a Virtual Appliance Factory engagement were to gather the technicalspecifications/requirements for a given application (# of tiers, OS targets, architectures, etc.);jointly build virtual appliances with IBM; and then rapidly deploy newly virtual appliance-enabledapplications to the cloud. From these initial engagements, IBM has been able to build a self-enablement kit which allows ISVs to build, test, and validate virtual appliances on their ownpremises; and then rapidly deploy into a cloud architecture. ISVs can now download this kit toservice-enable their applications. Further, ISVs can remotely use the IBM facilities at the IBMInnovation Centers (IIC) or the Virtual Loaner Program (VLP) to build/test these virtualappliances.Once an ISV virtual appliance image is created, it can be cataloged. And this is where the realpayback starts to occur for ISVs. IBM has created a solutions catalog that will initially list anddescribe virtual appliances that are “Ready for” IBM PureSystems (both virtual appliances for IBMPureFlex and virtual workload patterns for IBM PureApplication Systems). At present, this catalogis just a listing with information about a given ISV product, and vendor contact information. Overtime, however, we expect that IBM and its vendor partners will put in place a methodology andApril, 2012 © 2012 Clabby Analytics Page 6
    • How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged PureFlex Systemsterms-of-agreement for clients to rapidly download and use these virtualized assets — we expect itto be populated with thousands upon thousands of virtualized applications, with virtualized demosoftware, with terms and conditions for virtual application purchase and support, and more. This iswhy we said at the outset of this report that we believe that IBM’s PureSystems has the potential toradically change the computer market!Initial DeploymentsWhether optimizing the workload application to the physical attributes of the IBM PureFlex Systemor prepackaging the virtual appliance for ready deployment on IBM PureFlex Systems, ISVs arereporting significant improvements using IBM PureFlex Systems:  “riverbed” specializes in WAN optimization, edge virtual server infrastructure, and network performance management. Working with IBM, riverbed created a prepackaged virtual appliance for ready deployment in x86/KVM environments (known as its Stingray: Application Delivery Controller) that provides reliability with load balancing, scalability through server offload, an accelerated user experience through caching, security using cloud-enabled firewalls, deep application intelligence, and powerful scripting tools. Using this new virtual appliance server, riverbed has been able to accelerate application deployment from hours to minutes — offering its clients improved agility, efficiency and simplicity while reducing costs, energy and administrative time.  Like riverbed, ALPHINAT also created a prepackaged virtual appliance ready for rapid deployment in x86/KVM environments. ALPHINAT’s aim, however, is to increase systems scale and agility, enabling clients to rapidly develop and deploy user-centric interactive web dialogues for cloud environments. ALPHINAT has seen a 10X increase in its automation process, and accelerated cloud deployment with reduced risk and cost.  Accelrys is a leading scientific enterprise R&D software and services company that provides an advanced computing environment (Accelrys Enterprise Platform) to help its customers conduct scientific research. (Accelrys’ platform incorporates capabilities in applications for modeling and simulation, enterprise lab management, workflow and automation, and data management and informatics, enabling scientific innovators to access, organize, analyze and share data in unprecedented ways. Using IBM’s PureFlex environment, Accelrys is reporting that it has achieved 87% parallel efficiency running 16 cores — and that it has seen a 15% reduction in the time it takes to execute jobs.  Vidyo uses a prepackaged x86/KVM-based virtual appliance to speed real-time media delivery using rapid provisioning — resulting in accelerated deployment of its application. Using this approach, Vidyo has reduced operating costs (related to virtual machine deployment and management) by 90% without compromising the quality of its service.Summary ObservationsThe design points of IBM PureSystems, and specifically IBM PureFlex Systems, are to simplifyapplication deployment and management within cloud environments — and to enable users toachieve high degrees of performance through extreme expert tuning.To simplify application deployment and management, IBM has made it simpler for ISVs to deploytheir applications via pre-packaged, ready to deploy virtual appliances. Further, IBM hasintroduced an “activation engine” that will ensure that applications work properly across a softwarestack within virtual appliances — a move that should reduce the amount of human labor needed tomanage virtual appliances as well as cut down on operator / configuration errors. This activationengine will make cloud environments behave in a more automated fashion.April, 2012 © 2012 Clabby Analytics Page 7
    • How IBM Is Transforming the Application Software Market with Pre-Packaged PureFlex SystemsOnce an application has been deployed as a cloud service, IBM has made it easier foradministrators to manage applications by introducing a set of integrated tools and utilities(including systems/storage/network management tools, energy management tools, virtualization/-provisioning tools, and more) that create an unparalleled client cloud management experience.We especially like IBM’s PureFlex management environment. This environment streamlinesordering, tracking, receiving, installation, and operations. It is a factory installed, fully packagedsolution designed to enable simple set-up, it offers simplified updating and patching, automatedprovisioning, and policy-driven management. It is highly intuitive, highly integrated, and greatlysimplifies the administrator experience when it comes to managing cloud environments.By taking advantage of IBM’s PureFlex Systems infrastructure integration, ISVs are able toincrease application performance and simplify application deployment. By taking advantage of thenew management environment, ISVs and IT administrators are able to use IBM PureFlex Systemsto achieve performance that are “orders of magnitude” higher than had been achieved in traditionalvirtualized server deployments.Finally, readers of this Research Report may have observed that the lion’s share of this reportfocused on ISVs. The key points that ISVs should take-away from this report are:  The core business of an ISV is to build application solutions;  Getting caught in virtualization management, infrastructure integration, and performance tuning erodes ISV R&D budget, taxes support staff, and drives down profitability;  Some vendors own their own hardware platforms, systems software, infrastructure, middleware, database, and management environments — and, by integrating these elements, ISVs can be freed from having to support underlying infrastructure;  IBM’s new PureSystems offer deep integration/optimization;  ISVs should now focus on service-enabling their applications, making them ready for service-oriented clouds of the future.Clabby Analytics Clabby Analytics is an independent technology research andhttp://www.clabbyanalytics.com analysis organization. Unlike many other research firms, weTelephone: 001 (207) 846-6662 advocate certain positions — and encourage our readers to find counter opinions —then balance both points-of-view in order to© 2012Clabby Analytics decide on a course of action. Other research and analysisAll rights reservedApril, 2012 conducted by Clabby Analytics can be found at: www.ClabbyAnalytics.com.