Today organizations spend more than 70% of their IT budget just keeping the systems running, and most of that gets sucked up by labor. That leaves, at best, about 30% to spend on new initiatives, which is where your next competitive advantage is going to come from.
To flip the situation around, IBM this week unveiled a family of what it describes as expert integrated systems called PureSystems. The first two are PureFlex and PureApplication. IBM calls these expert systems because it has baked into the system large amounts of automated best practices around the majority of the processes for which most organizations need systems, whether web applications, database applications, or almost anything else a company might do.
These are, according to Rod Adkins, senior vice president in charge of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, “a new category of business computing that combines server, storage and networking resources along with an array of built-in software patterns and business processes into one highly automated and easily managed machine.” Here's how this can change the IT cost-value equation.
Built-in expertise simplifies the IT process of setting up and deploying new systems combined with automated operation and workload optimization that leverages the expertise to determine the best ways to configure and deploy each workload. This reduces the labor and time entailed in designing, deploying, configuring, and administering the new systems, which lowers cost and speeds time to value. Optimization also lowers costs by saving on license fees and conserving IT resources through higher utilization.
IBM estimates that a PureSystems machine can be set up and running in four hours. Pre-integrated packaged systems typically take five days to deploy. If IT wanted to do it itself, as most do, it would take several months. IBM calculates PureSystems requires 47% less deployment labor hours and 73% fewer management hours versus conventional systems. What does that do to your IT cost-value equation?
Let's look at the cost. An entry PureFlex System starts at $100,000. A recent report put competing integrated hardware/software appliances at $750,000 or more. The entry level PureFlex can handle a midsize organization, and it painlessly scales as the organization grows.
It also changes the way you can think about IT staffing. You will need fewer support staff. With so much of the IT process automated your people can focus on using IT to support new initiatives, which they can deploy in hours, not days, weeks, or months.
Maybe the most innovative part of PureSystems is the idea of patterns. Patterns are a staple of software development but PureSystems take the idea further. These patterns are built-in software that encapsulates the expertise so that the systems can automatically handle basic, time-consuming tasks such as configuration, upgrades, and backup.
PureSystems also builds cloud computing right into the machine, enabling it to be a private cloud out of the box. Organizations can quickly create private, self-service, multi-platform cloud offerings that can scale up or down automatically.
Noted Steve Mills, IBM senior vice president of software and systems: “By tightening the connections between hardware and software, and adding invaluable software know-how, PureSystems is designed to help organizations free up time and money to focus on innovation that many businesses cannot address due to ever rising costs and staffing needs in the traditional data center.”
Other vendors offer specialized combo hardware and software bundles: Oracle has Exadata and Exalogic; NetApp and Cisco offer FlexPod; EMC, Cisco, and VMware collaborated to create VCE and offer VBlock, and HP offers its converged infrastructure. Each vendor has its supporters. Only PureSystems delivers expert yet customizable patterns, broad cross-platform capabilities, and the ability to handle whatever new technologies come out in the next decade through an unusually flexible virtualized design.