IBM: Redefining Enterprise Systems


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Learn about how Enterprise systems have long defined the core value proposition of business computing, as well as the IT infrastructures that large organizations depend on to support both day to day operational processes and long term strategic initiatives.

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IBM: Redefining Enterprise Systems

  1. 1. Marketplace Update October 2012 IBM: Redefining Enterprise Systems By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. Pund-IT, Inc. Contact: Hayward, CA Office: 510-383-6767 U.S.A. 94541 Mobile: 510-909-0750
  2. 2. IBM: Redefining Enterprise SystemsBy Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.IntroductionFor decades, ―enterprise systems‖ have defined the core of large organizations’ informationtechnology (IT) infrastructures, providing the highest levels of system performance and re-lated attributes such as reliability, availability and scalability. The term ‖enterprise systems‖is not defined by technology alone, but also encompasses the common boundaries thesystems have with the critical large scale business processes, applications and workloadsthey support.Today, large organizations are being buffeted by a host of changes, many of them unex-pected or unfamiliar. Business information is virtually exploding in size, kind and locale,taxing the abilities of even the most progressive enterprises to keep up. Mobile technolo-gies and business analytics that were once exclusively used by employees with specializedneeds and skills are now common across the entire workforce. As a result of all this, IT isbending under the strain of developing and delivering necessary new services while at thesame time maintaining core service quality.These points are worth considering because vendors and the clients they serve stand at aninflection point as smarter technologies are adopted across a widening variety of unfamil-iar business locales and use cases, from collecting and analyzing data from hundreds ofthousands of ―intelligent‖ utility meters to tracking and accounting for the real-time move-ment of millions of packages and shipments in global supply chains.This ―Internet of Things‖ as IBM has called it is the primary driver of the company’s SmarterPlanet initiatives and Smarter Computing solutions. But it also portends fundamental, evenprofound changes in what organizations will require and demand from the vendors andtechnologies they employ.Overall, we believe that three technological pieces provide the keys to understanding/solving this puzzle – cloud computing, analytics and security – are at the center of a trans-formational shift in strategy for enterprise IT infrastructures.Businesses are always looking for an ―edge‖ that can help provide or guarantee improve-ments in their business operations or market positions. Those who learn, improve. Thosewho don’t, fail. But more importantly, those who innovate often move ahead of their peersby leaps and bounds. As a result, an enterprise IT infrastructure is not so much a fixedgoal as it is a rapidly moving, difficult to hit target at which many take aim.Note: This report was developed by Pund-IT, Inc. with IBM assistance and funding. This report may utilize in-formation, including publicly available data, provided by various companies and sources, including IBM. Theopinions are those of the report’s author, and do not necessarily represent IBM’s position. 2
  3. 3. This report will consider these issues, as well as IBM’s position in and efforts around devel-oping next generation enterprise systems solutions, including its System z mainframes,POWER7+ processor-based Power Systems servers and System Storage offerings focused onthose areas and use cases.Integrate, Analyze, SecureThe term ―information technology‖ is entirely self-descriptive but it also highlights the fun-damental value that computing offers business organizations. Information has always beenat the heart of business, defining both the quality and value of processes and relation-ships. The advent of computing technologies provided tools that made commonplace theachievements that were once essentially unimaginable. That, in turn, fueled new businessmodels and forms of engagement to the point that, today, technology is inextricably con-nected to the ways that enterprises plan, organize and perform their day to day work.For decades, companies followed IT tenets derived from quantifiable computing advances.Moore’s Law offered a guideline for improvements in system performance. Storage fol-lowed similarly predictable though somewhat more accelerated gains in read/write speedand capacity. Networking evolved from being a necessary element of voice communicationsto becoming essential to virtually every form of information access and collaboration.But, today, business data and its associated technologies stand at an inflection point thatindicates a significantly different future for enterprise organizations. Three technologicalpieces provide the keys to understanding this puzzle: Cloud Computing— Qualifies as an evolutionary leap forward that promises far higher efficiency and more productive integration of IT infrastructure assets and delivery. At one level, cloud simply represents a broader, cross-data center implementation of the IT asset pooling, consolidation and virtualization management which has been common practice for many years in IBM’s System z and enterprise class Power System servers. As such, CIOs recognize how private cloud computing infrastructures can be used to im- prove IT efficiency and agility. But they also see cloud driving new innovations in collab- oration and customer engagements. Analytics— CIOs have long believed that analytics and business intelligence (BI) solu- tions are crucial to their organizations’ current and future success. But the continually growing volume and complexity of business data means that companies are looking for new ways to effectively exploit that information. The critical role IT plays in business processes means that badly or not fully leveraged data translates directly into lost reve- nues and market opportunities. As a result, business analytics solutions are considered by many as essential to improving and increasing data availability, access and value. Security— Virtually every enterprise has growing volumes of critical, sensitive business and client data that are prime targets for numerous interested and unfriendly parties, including common hackers. But more and more, companies are becoming the victims of 3
  4. 4. sophisticated attacks implemented by industrial brigands, organized criminals and insti- tutional thieves. It is obviously important for companies to protect the information that fuels and provides value across their businesses. However, the cost of losing data or having it compromised can also include long-term reputational damage across numer- ous business relationships.Enterprise IT Infrastructures—A Moving TargetBusinesses that innovate typically outperform their peers, giving them the opportunity toimprove their business processes and competitive positions. Enterprise IT infrastructureoptions are always rapidly changing, but organizations that have the most to gain or loseunderstand the potential returns that effective IT investment can deliver. Hence, they tendto focus on proactive efforts, especially in creating unique application and process solu-tions in-house.IT vendors, of course, bring broad experience to the task, leveraging that hard-earned ex-pertise in commercial development efforts. The stakes for vendors are enormously highbecause when they strike the bull’s eye and clients achieve measurable success they typi-cally become repeat customers, driving years or even decades of profitable relationships.That said, not all technologies are created equal and IT evolution tends to proceed ―in par-allel‖ with few companies ever establishing full dominance. Instead, vendors develop solu-tions based on their areas of expertise and technical/industry focus, and position productsto emphasize their relevance to customers’ expectations and needs. Not surprisingly, themost successful solutions and architectures are those which best adapt to changing tech-nological and business requirements.Enterprise Computing: An Idealized ViewAs noted previously, we believe that three core technologies—cloud computing, analyticsand security—will play increasingly critical roles in enterprise IT infrastructures. In short,cloud promises higher efficiency and agility of IT infrastructure delivery. Analytics can im-prove data availability, access and value in new ways. Security is crucial for protecting busi-ness information and value across the enterprise. But in ideal circumstances, what specificfeatures and functions should organizations look for and expect from solutions aiming atthese three areas?1. Cloud: Quite simply, computing clouds can’t fully exist without virtualization technolo- gies that scale to support hundreds of workloads and thousands of virtual machines (VMs). Of course, there are numerous public cloud providers that offer business services with varying service levels. But among larger businesses, it is private clouds that are be- ing deployed to deliver efficiency and agility for their most critical business workloads and processes. Those private cloud infrastructures should provide effective, centrally managed pools of virtualized servers and storage featuring automated and prioritized resource provisioning. Along with being designed for operational and financial efficien- 4
  5. 5. cy, private cloud solutions also enable businesses to fully secure the data and processes that depend on those virtualized infrastructures.2. Analytics: Analytics goes hand in hand with and is highly complementary to information assets and related processes. In fact, the quality of analytics solutions depends largely if not entirely on the quality of the data involved. Ideally, analytics solutions should be highly granular—embedded at the transaction level to provide accurate, actionable in- sights based on operational data. But they should also be able to support processes and results in ―real-time‖ across both structured and unstructured data for the right manag- ers and employees. Finally, with few exceptions modern enterprises are also global en- terprises so analytics solutions should be designed from the ground up to support and enhance continuous, global-scale operations.3. Security: If financial and client information qualifies as modern businesses’ critical most important and sensitive assets, security solutions are the primary line of defense to keep that information safe against external threats and internal breaches. Obviously, effective solutions must reliably control user access to corporate information and appli- cations. But security-conscious organizations should consider offerings that support the end-to-end encryption of business critical data, as well as the effective isolation of en- terprise applications and related information. Finally, considering the varied ways in which information is used and the compliance mandates that must be met across every facet of business—communications, transactions, finance, legal, records—the most ben- eficial security solutions are those that also support policy-based processes and best practices for enterprise governance.Why IBM?For many or most enterprises deciding which vendors to engage in these areas, IBM will al-most inevitably come up for consideration. Why is that the case? First and foremost, in en-terprise IT infrastructures and systems, IBM goes deep: Deep History—IBM has been an acknowledged leader in enterprise systems for 50+ years, longer than any other IT vendor. As a result of its continuing success, the compa- ny is a market leader or prime competitor in virtually every enterprise market and verti- cal industry. Deep Portfolio—IBM enterprise systems offerings, including its System z mainframes, enterprise class Power Systems and System Storage solutions provide a deeply integrat- ed foundation for large enterprise IT infrastructures. IBM’s enterprise systems are de- signed to enable private cloud infrastructures at enterprise scale, to make data available and accessible to both transactional and business analytics processes, and to ensure the highest levels of security to protect critical data. IBM also has an extensive software portfolio, with database and middleware products tuned over many years to fully lever- age the capabilities of its enterprise servers and storage. 5
  6. 6.  Deep Expertise—IBM offers deep infrastructure and business services expertise and ex- perience in every phase of business strategy, system development, integration and de- ployment. This drives obvious benefits across the company’s enterprise solutions port- folio, including systems which are expertly tuned to support specific workloads, applica- tions and tasks.Given these points and the company’s ongoing efforts, IBM delivers a host of enterprisesystem solutions which are more than capable of supporting the three main IT challengesthat we believe modern enterprises face:Cloud computingIBM’s enterprise systems are designed to enable private cloud infrastructures at enterprisescale, with flexible service delivery models that provide dynamic efficiency for resource andworkload management. IBM’s enterprise systems solutions including its System z main-frames and Power 770, 780 and 795 Systems are designed for efficiency across the multi-ple workloads and processes that make up complex business applications—a critical pointin deploying and supporting private enterprise clouds. In addition, these solutions offer vir-tualization technologies (PowerVM and z/VM) that are far more scalable (capable of run-ning hundreds of workloads on a single system) than typical x86-based virtualization offer-ings. IBM’s System z and POWER7+ processor-based Power Systems also scale-up to deliverhigher levels of system/cost efficiency than many competing solutions, especially versusscale-out or distributed x86 servers. Finally, IBM’s System z, enterprise class Power Sys-tems and System Storage DS8000 and XIV solutions support the sharing of private cloudresources across all enterprise lines of business (LOBs), lessening the likelihood that infor-mation and IT resources will become inaccessibly siloed.AnalyticsIBM’s enterprise systems offer the highest operational service levels, ensuring critical datais always available, and making it accessible to both transactional and business analyticsprocesses. IBM’s enterprise business analytics solutions like Cognos support robust tradi-tional BI and reporting features. But more importantly, the company’s embedded opera-tional analytics solutions provide value ―at the point of the transaction,‖ allowing organiza-tions to adjust to changing events in near real time. This is a particular feature of IBM’sSystem z which can optimally integrate analytics processes with transactional applications,running queries directly on operational data. IBM’s Power Systems also support a widerange of business analytics capabilities, such as operational analytics and compute inten-sive queries, and are optimized to exploit multiple, complex data sources, including struc-tured and unstructured information, both inside and outside the enterprise. In combinationwith either System z or Power Systems, IBM’s System Storage solutions are designed to en-terprise infrastructures by managing high volumes of data at low cost. As such, IBM’s en-terprise systems can support and enhance the resiliency of global enterprise operationsand processes. In addition, they deliver unmatched accessibility of data between lines of 6
  7. 7. business, making critical information commonly available and beneficial to employeesacross the enterprise.SecurityIBM takes a holistic view of enterprise security risks and comprehensively maps them tofour foundational issues highlighted in its Security Framework: People, Data, Applicationsand Infrastructure. The company believes customers need best in class capabilities in eacharea to be fully secure and policy-compliant, both in traditional areas and emerging con-cerns, such as cloud and mobility. IBM’s enterprise systems are designed to support theultimate levels of security, ensuring the integrity of critical data while mitigating risk andassuring compliance. IBM offers numerous security features and functions across its enter-prise platforms, including end-to-end encryption options for System z mainframes, Power770, 780 and 795, and System Storage. In addition, IBM’s PowerVM and zVM virtualizationtechnologies offer the ability to provide the trusted isolation of virtualized applications andtheir related data on single systems. Support for cross-platform encryption and isolation ofapplications/data on single systems clearly differentiate IBM offerings, particularly com-pared to the performance of often piecemeal x86-based solutions. Overall, IBM’s System z,Power and System Storage solutions complement the company’s holistic Security Frame-work vision, and can be used to enable comprehensive data protection, assured compli-ance, and improved governance and risk management for enterprise customers’ infor-mation assets.Final AnalysisEnterprise systems have long defined the core value proposition of business computing, aswell as the IT infrastructures that large organizations depend on to support both day today operational processes and long term strategic initiatives. That is especially the caseconcerning fundamental new challenges, such as the issues around exploding data growth,mobility and service quality confronting businesses today. So when new technologies cometo the forefront, they often reset expectations and raise the bar for what enterprises be-lieve they can and should achieve.As a result, successful technologies and their vendors are effectively never at rest but al-ways looking ahead to the next challenges and opportunities they can explore to their ownand their clients’ advantage. Today, we believe that three technological trends—cloud com-puting, analytics and security—are fueling what amounts to an inflection point that will im-pact virtually every organization. Not only are advances in these areas feeding the develop-ment of new and next generation computing solutions, they also stand to transform andimprove the business processes that enterprise IT infrastructures have long supported.Enterprise IT has never been and likely never will become a one size fits all proposition andIBM is obviously not alone in developing and delivering solutions supporting the discreteneeds of larger organizations. But the company’s System z mainframes, Power 770, 780and 795 servers, and System Storage DS8000 and XIV products are among the most so- 7
  8. 8. phisticated enterprise IT infrastructure offerings available today. Moreover, IBM is pursuinga clear, proactive, long term development strategy across all of its enterprise server andstorage platforms, including next generation updates for its System z, Power Systems andSystem Storage platforms in 2012.Overall, we believe that organizations considering how best to address current enterpriseIT infrastructure challenges, as well as the complexities surrounding emerging cloud com-puting, analytics and security issues would be well-advised to investigate IBM’s enterprisesystem solutions.© 2012 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.About Pund-IT, Inc.Pund-IT emphasizes understanding technology and product evolution and interpreting the effects thesechanges will have on business customers and the greater IT marketplace. Though Pund-IT provides con-sulting and other services to technology vendors, the opinions expressed in this commentary are thoseof the author alone. 8