IBM launches cloud computing software and packaged hardware configurations

Summary:IBM launched SmartCloud packages and then follows through with easy-to-use pre-packaged BladeCenter cloud computing configurations.

IBM recently announced a set of software products to enable organizations to build their own private clouds and highlighted a previously announced a set of integrated BladeCenter configurations to make those software components easy to acquire, install and put to work. Let's look at the two announcements separately.

IBM's SmartCloud

IBM launched a portfolio of cloud offerings, called IBM SmartCloud, which are designed to simplify the implementation of private cloud services. SmartCloud packages are available to help organizations create Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) services for use on-premise, off-premise or some combination of the two. Let's look at each of these packages in turn.

IBM SmartCloud Foundation is a set of software products to ease the provisioning, management, and deployment of cloud environments for virtual servers based upon IBM's System X and Power host systems. The packages include IBM SmartCloud Entry, SmartCloud Provisioning, and SmartCloud Management. The SmartCloud Foundation makes it possible for organizations to allow business units or departments to create their own highly manageable, reliable virtual images or workloads. The SmartCloud tools offer a number of analytical tools for capacity planning and determine the best placement of individual virtual servers to achieve high levels of performance. The tools also offer improved levels of security for virtual resources. With its own Self Service portal and metering, SmartCloud Foundation is robust cloud technology put within easy reach.

IBM SmartCloud Provisioning is an offering designed to help organizations to very quickly provision and scale to a large number of images. This offering supports a broad range of virtual machine software products (hypervisors), servers, storage and networking systems. Tools to assist organizations in converting from one platform to another are also provided. SmartCloud Provisioning enables automated recovery from failures. It also provides the tools for virtual image protection and patching to assure regulatory and business policy compliance

IBM SmartCloud Monitoring is an offering designed to provide a unified management layer for a heterogeneous mixture of hardware and software platforms. The tool also makes it possible for IT and business policies to be monitored to ensure compliance. Predictive analytics are also offered to evaluate trending and historical operational data and then make suggestions on how to optimize the environment.

IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud

Earlier this year, IBM introduced IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud, a set of hardware configurations designed to make it easy for IBM customers and partners to design, acquire and implement their own cloud environments with a high performance, reliable and scalable virtualization platform. It provides an integrated platform for virtualization, including servers, storage, networking, platform management and virtualization management. SmartCloud Entry is a seamless add-on to BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud, that helps clients move quickly from a virtualized to cloud environment.

Three different configurations of the IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud were presented. The idea was to make it easy for small, medium and large organizations to build their own cloud. Each of the configurations come prepackaged in their own rack, include the necessary management server, keyboard, monitor, cables and small-form pluggable fibre channel connectors (SFP).

Let's look at them separately:

  • IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud small configuration - this configuration is priced at roughly $180,000 US and is designed to support up to 150 virtual servers. The configuration includes:
    • 4 compute capacity blades
    • Redundant 10GbE/8Gb Networking
    • Direct connections to LAN/SAN
    • Raw Storage Capacity = 7.2 TB
    • VMware Enterprise and vCenter licensing

  • IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud medium configuration - this configuration is priced at roughly $380,000 US and is designed to support 500+ virtual servers. This configuration includes:
    • 14 compute capacity blades
    • Redundant 10GbE/8Gb Networking
    • Direct connections to LAN/SAN
    • Raw Storage Capacity = 29 TB
    • VMware Enterprise and vCenter licensing

  • IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud large configuration - this configuration is priced at roughly $750,000 US and is designed to support 1000+ virtual servers. This configuration includes:
    • 28 compute capacity blades
    • Redundant 10GbE/8Gb Networking
    • Direct connections to LAN/SAN
    • Raw Storage Capacity = 58 TB
    • VMware Enterprise and vCenter licensing

Configurations based upon other virtualization products can be expected in the future based upon customer demand.

Snapshot analysis

IBM's efforts to package all of the hardware and software to create simple, easy-to-use configurations for partners and customers remind me of efforts I was involved with while working at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). The goal then as now was to make it easy to configure and purchase pre-tested, supported configurations for specific workloads.

While I was at DEC, the goal was offering pre-packaged Intel/UNIX server configurations to support database, accounting and collaborative workloads. As far as I know, this effort was one of the first to package all of the hardware, software and services to deploy a specific workload. DEC exhaustively tested the configurations and knew that the appropriate amount of memory, storage and networking capacity were included.

IBM appears to be using a similar approach for cloud computing.  The software and hardware products have all been pre-packaged and pre-tested to support the type of cloud computing functions customers and partners might need. This approach should assure very quick installation of reliable, supportable configurations.

IBM appears to be on the right track with these software and hardware products.

Topics: CXO, Cloud, Hardware, IBM, IT Employment, Servers, Software, Virtualization

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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