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The Key to Cloud



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Built for Cloud

With a competent cloud infrastructure, businesses can establish a solid private cloud and deliver resources such as compute, storage and network services to clients and end users as infrastructure as a service (IaaS). With IaaS, IT services are delivered as a subscription service, eliminating upfront costs and driving down ongoing support costs. Defined roles and policies, along with access through a self-service portal, simplify administration.

Evolving to a cloud infrastructure model, however, can require significant effort to create the synergies around the different silos in the data center. While cloud computing’s benefits may be compelling, there is a tipping point at which the cost of entry can be too high. Most organizations that plan to evolve to cloud need to do it in a way that does not require an extensive initial investment.

IBM PureFlex System and IBM Flex System offerings provide consolidation and cloud IaaS technology targeted to the top requirements for simplification, speed and efficiency impacting businesses and CSPs. PureFlex System allows an IT organization to evolve to cloud by creating an environment that facilitates cloud deployment around a project or set of projects. This strategy lets organizations start small with, for example, a cloud in the corner of their data center and grow it over time.

Built for the cloud from the ground up, IBM PureFlex System delivers a simplified open-choice infrastructure architecture that supports multiple operating systems and hypervisors with a single self-service portal. This open-choice infrastructure allows a business to choose solutions without being dependent on a limited set of underlying technologies. Tested, preintegrated and preconfigured, the PureFlex System is “born virtualized” to offer extraordinary agility and accelerate cloud computing. With preconfigured patterns, the PureFlex System can accelerate a cloud solution in hours or days, not weeks or months. Centralized management capabilities can efficiently control virtualized compute, storage and networking resources, with automation for repetitive tasks like provisioning and configuration (see Figure 1).

Underpinning IBM PureFlex System is IBM Flex System technology. Going beyond blades, the IBM Flex System offering is based on reliable IBM technology supporting intelligent workload deployment and management for maximum business agility, and it’s designed to support multiple generations of technology.

Key Cloud Capabilities

Analysts continue to project significant growth in the demand for cloud infrastructure components for the next several years. This is in part because of the need for the lower cost, simpler management and improved efficiency that cloud technology brings. Yet the capability to simplify management and bring new servers online is merely the beginning. One look at some of the emerging technologies shows how important expert integrated systems are to cloud (and business) computing. Cloud incorporates technologies such as software-defined environments and virtual desktop, blending these into tangible value for organizations:

  • Software-defined environments—In the past, data centers grew because IT needed to constantly add capacity to support growing new workloads. In software-defined environments, virtual systems are tightly connected and the existing capacity can be repurposed on the fly. This requires a fair amount of standardization coupled with an integrated hardware and software environment. PureFlex System can take advantage of the capabilities of software-defined environments, enabling operations to create on-demand cloud environments that support current business needs and then eliminate them when they are no longer required. With the adoption of a good business policy implemented on PureFlex System, IT can repurpose nodes to support business demands without sacrificing security. Software-defined environments implemented on expert integrated systems are the low-cost data centers of the future.
  • Virtual desktop—With the advent of bring your own device (BYOD), organizations are struggling to balance user requirements with traditional business requirements around security and privacy. In this struggle, virtual desktop infrastructure will be key. Instead of a PC, users connect personal devices through the network to compute facilities owned and managed by IT. This approach helps eliminate problems like patch management, system misuse and expensive deskside support. It also allows users to use their own devices to maximize their productivity and their work-life balance.
    PureFlex nodes can be dedicated to the client desktop while other nodes can be dedicated to the servers those clients will connect to. This strategy allows an environment where the client, servers and database are all on the same system, enabling it to be faster and more secure than traditional environments. It can also be managed as a single-user experience so that if a problem arises, a single user will understand the client, server and database issues around that system.
    Combining these two concepts allows a single PureFlex System to become the virtual appliance for a user experience. The machine can take multiple virtual appliance personalities depending on the business need, or it can even host different personalities simultaneously. Successful organizations can exploit powerfully virtualized expert integrated systems to provide user-experience-focused appliances on demand.

Frank DeGilio is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and a Chief Architect for Cloud.

Steven Hunter is an IBM Fellow, vice president and PureFlex System CTO.

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