IBM's service unit goes prefab with IT infrastructure building blocks

IBM will launch preconfigured "building blocks" for technology infrastructure to speed up deployments and cut costs. Initial prefab systems will cover servers, storage, helpdesk and unified communications.

IBM will launch preconfigured "building blocks" for technology infrastructure to speed up deployments and cut costs.

The effort, which comes out of IBM's global technology services unit, aims to take the reusable components and configurations Big Blue uses internally and bring them to enterprises.

According to IBM, these building blocks will include engineered processes, software, research and hardware into prefab modules. Simply put, services customers can either pick standalone server configurations or just choose a preconfigured server build.

Many companies are likely to go the prefab route. IBM estimates that it can cut costs by half and speed up deployments by about 60 percent. In other words, IBM made a lot of margin using its prefab configurations internally. The move makes sense on a few fronts:

  • Playing offense: IBM has such a large outsourcing business that it has the IT infrastructure drill down. It can bring in units based on vertical as well as data center type.
  • A little defense: By making these prefab components, customers are more likely to stick with hybrid data center models instead of migrating more quickly to the cloud.
  • Prefab sells IBM's stack. These engineered systems will move a lot of Big Blue hardware, software and services bundles.

These preconfigured infrastructure modules include:

  • Virtualized servers;
  • Storage systems;
  • Service desk and helpdesk configurations;
  • Unified communications networks.

Rest assured other services providers will step up their preconfigured offerings beyond what they already offer. The move only makes sense since it's easier for both the vendor and customer to deploy. In the big picture, future IT infrastructure buildouts are going to come in the following flavors:

  1. You'll go cloud computing.
  2. You'll outsource your IT infrastructure to computing farms run by the likes of IBM and HP.
  3. You'll take a hybrid approach at least until you're existing infrastructure dies.

IBM's move will play on many of those themes. Preconfigured infrastructure may make hybrid cloud deployments easier, but many customers will just outsource.