All In The (PureSystems) Family

Written by Phil Turner | Director, Enterprise Solutions | Datatrend Technologies, Inc.

IBM and Datatrend continue to see success and expanding interest in the PureSystems family of products. In fact, IBM continues to expand the portfolio of offerings to address more solution areas.

But, understandably, there is still confusion about the PureSystems naming and what it all means. So, let’s quickly review the naming and then we’ll cover some recent announcement highlights.

IBM PureSystems was announced in April of 2012. The announcement introduced a grand vision for converged infrastructure solutions (more than just converged fabric) and dramatic enhancements to datacenter flexibility and infrastructure automation. However, the simple details seem to have been overshadowed by the broad marketing brush of the vision.

To clear things up, there are really 2 groupings of products in the PureSystems family and, within those groups, multiple offerings for different purposes.

Group One: Infrastructure Platform (PureFlex and Flex System)

Group one is the infrastructure platform; think of hardware, virtualization software and management. Group one is divided into Flex System (the complete breadth hardware and management components) and PureFlex (those components preconfigured into “starter” or foundation packages upon which one can build).

Flex System and PureFlex can provide the same end result by different means. Datatrend prefers the Flex System approach due to its inherent flexibility in both configuration and our ability to supply and integrate the components quickly and specifically to a customer’s environment. PureFlex is more restrictive in how it is configured, it’s partially integrated by IBM prior to shipment but requires fewer choices for those who prefer.

Either way, Datatrend ensures the platform is delivered as fully integrated and turn-key as you like. And both can incorporate servers, networking, storage and management. But Flex System allows far greater latitude in design choices, which is why it is our preference for the platform and an excellent toolset for designing next generation infrastructure environments.

Group Two: Software Appliances (PureApplication and PureData)

The second group of PureSystems is the software appliances. This group basically takes the Flex System or PureFlex platforms and adds the software stack integration to deliver a turn-key platform for different workloads. All you need to supply are your application and data.

For example, Pure Application Systems is based on PureFlex but has fully built out configurations for all the hardware, management, operating systems, and middleware. It is basically a turn-key Java application platform available in 4 starter sizes which can scale if you so need. The system is completely integrated as one product so you order it as one part. It shows up ready to plug into your environment, self-configured with a few input parameters. And, you start adding work to it in just a few hours. It is easy because all the design choices have been made for you. It is very sophisticated and capable in its self-management and workload optimization. If it fits what you need, it makes life very easy.

If Java apps are not what you’re trying to deliver or you want a data management platform for your existing applications, the remainder of this PureSystems group has you covered with a variety of preconfigured data platforms for transactional and/or analytic application environments. Built along the same concept as PureApplication System, the PureData systems stop short of providing a full application environment, but they do provide all of the integration up through and including the data management layer.

This diagram shows the different members of the PureSystems family described above. There is also a PureData system for Hadoop.
Datatrend can help you determine which of these offerings best suit your requirements, as we are experts in the Pure Systems family and one of the leading providers of PureSystems based solutions.

As I mentioned above, IBM recently announced expanded offerings with particular focus on more Flex System components. Some of the new announcements include:

  • The new x222 Intel compute node – this server is actually a 2’fer. Using the same space as an x240 or x220 two-socket Intel compute node, the x222 provides two complete, independent servers in a physical slot for greater density still providing storage and network redundancy. With the x222 we can provide and massive 448 compute cores in a single 10U frame.
  • New Power 7+ compute nodes – IBM has brought their latest processor to Flex System in the Power 7+. With both 2-socket and-4 socket implementations we can now provide 4-core to 32-core Power 7+ Servers to address both smaller environments for much more attractive software pricing or significantly large environments with sizable performance and the ability for redundant VIO servers for greater virtualization resilience.
  • New connectivity options highlighted by the SI4093 system interconnect which is transparent Ethernet connectivity at 1, 10 or 40Gb; also the new EN6131 and adapters which provide massive 40Gb speeds all the way to the server. Also IBM is introducing a Cisco developed “FEX” module for Flex system and a Brocade Ethernet solution – rounding out the greatest selection of connectivity solutions options supporting both converged and non-converged infrastructure requirements. IBM lets you converge on your schedule.
  • IBM also provides 8 & 16Gb Fiber Channel, 40 & 54Gb InfiniBand, and pass-thru connectivity options for PureSystems.
  • Most Intel based compute nodes can also be enhanced with direct attached PCiE adapters or local, hot-swap hard disks. This can be done on a node by node basis.

Stay tuned for more enhancements to the PureSystems family – taking the most robust modular, converged platform to new levels of scale and flexibility. Flex System allows you to move your infrastructure toward your goals at your pace – and we can make it easy for you.

To learn more, contact Datatrend, or the author, Phil Turner, at phil.turner@datatrend.com.