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Service and Support Options For PureFlex Systems

IBM PureFlex Systems can be a great way to get infrastructure up and running quickly. However, understanding the services available to get started fast and the support that keeps it running is important. This article aims to provide a high-level understanding of these service and support options, and help you choose the right one for your organization.

Several variations of IBM PureSystems exist, but I’ll be discussing the IBM PureFlex System. It’s an expert integrated system built on IBM Flex Systems components. IBM PureFlex and Flex Systems are simply two different ways of procuring the IBM Flex chassis and associated nodes. PureFlex technology gives you integration at the factory as well as applied best practices for some of the switches and software. The Flex System is a build-your-own infrastructure that you must assemble in your data center. Additionally, IBM PureFlex Systems are offered in three categories: Express, Standard and Enterprise. For an overview of Pure Systems, see “A Closer Look at the PureFlex,” by Jaqui Lynch.

The first set of services I’ll look at are the IBM Lab Services configuration and deployment services. Prior to November 2012, any PureFlex configuration was required to have these services attached. Now, these services are attached by default, however, they are optional and may be removed from the configuration. With that said, I highly recommend these services due to the advanced nature of the PureFlex System and the learning curve associated with understanding this fairly new technology. The services are offered to assist in accelerating the deployment of PureFlex System into your current environment as well as to educate you about the operation of the systems.

Service Options

In addition to making the services optional, IBM also decoupled the services from the size of the PureFlex configurations. Now, any size PureFlex may be purchased with any service listed below:

  • PureFlex Intro is the base offering. Its goal is to get the Flex System Manager (FSM) up and running. It will also provide a look at the incorporated storage configuration that contains pre-allocated logical unit numbers (LUNs). It includes one node and one switch, FSM configuration, discovery and inventory of all nodes, review of internal storage (attached V7000) configuration and skills transfer.
  • PureFlex Virtualized takes PureFlex Intro a step further and helps with completing basic virtualization setup. In addition to everything from PureFlex Intro, it also includes up to four nodes and two switches, and basic virtualization (VMWare, kernel-based virtual machine, VMControl).
  • PureFlex Enterprise provides more advanced virtualization, including everything from PureFlex Virtualized as well as advanced virtualization and server pools or VMWare cluster configuration.
  • PureFlex Cloud assists with virtualization automation with IBM SmartCloud Entry as well as further integration into your existing environment. Services include everything from PureFlex Enterprise plus configuration of SmartCloud Entry, basic external network integration and the first chassis configured with up to 13 nodes.

All of these services are for a single chassis. If you’re purchasing multiple chassis in the same location, you can purchase the PureFlex Extra Chassis Add-on. This includes configuration of up to 14 nodes and two virtualization engines. It can be added to any of the services with the exception of the PureFlex Intro.

Each option is shown in Table 1, which can be found in the IBM Redbooks publication, “IBM PureFlex System and IBM Flex System Products and Technology.”

Support Alternatives

Now that you have a better understanding of the setup services, let’s discuss support services. IBM Warranty Service Upgrade (WSU) and Technical Support Services (TSS) are the support services associated with PureFlex Systems. In this instance, the different PureFlex versions have different defaults associated with them.

Express, Standard and Enterprise each include one year of software maintenance and three years of hardware maintenance, both available 9-to-5. Express and Standard include three years of one microcode analysis per year, while Enterprise includes two microcode analyses per year for the same three-year period.

In addition, the Standard and Enterprise versions include three years of WSU to 24x7x4; and three years of Account Advocate or Enhanced Technical Support and software support prerequisites. The only difference between the two is enhanced technical support is available 9-to-5 in the Standard option and 24x7 for Enterprise.

While not included by default, many of these additional features—enhanced technical support, WSU, etc.—are optional with the Express edition. Beyond the default offerings, additional, highly customizable TSSs are also available.

Consider the Options

Clearly, numerous options are available for those implementing a PureFlex System. Hopefully, this guide will give you a better understanding of what to expect in regard to PureFlex services and support.

Andrew Goade is an architect for Forsythe Technology Inc. He can be reached at

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