Simply Pure and Purely Simple – Systems, Stacks and Clouds

Published by: Srini Chari

I recently attended the IBM IMPACT conference. During the keynote, an IBM executive remarked (and I am paraphrasing) – It is very hard to make technology simple. This is a very profound observation.

This morning (May/2), comfortably perched in my aisle seat on the plane, as I return back to the wonderful state of Connecticut, several impressions from IMPACT start to swirl in my mind. So I thought I would clarify or purify these impressions and articulate them as simply as I can. So that I can purge them from my conscious mind-cache yet make them persist in words through this blog post.

Tomorrow, at the strike of dawn in Connecticut, I want to start with a clear and pure mind and continue with my day job (IT Analyst and Consultant) of gathering and analyzing and articulating additional ideas and thoughts to benefit my paying clients who sponsor my consulting projects. I must do that to make a living and ensure the continuing well-being of my children. This is pure and simple.

PureSystems – Patterning and Partnering

IMPACT was quite packed – over 8500 attendees. The solution center opened on April 29 in the evening. I was fortunate to leisurely examine the demos that perked my interest. I spent a significant amount of time examining the various PureSystems exhibits. In particular, I was very impressed seeing the internals of an operating PureFlex system with its dense packaging – servers, storage, and networks.

But I was even more impressed when I spent a significant amount of time with Manhattan Associates – a PureSystems Application Provider partner that focuses on delivering Supply Chain solutions – both for planning and execution. Their very smart and enthusiastic lead technical expert told me that Manhattan Associates has over 15 software products that they have been able to integrate with the PureApplication System using a combination of IBM patterns and Manhattan patterns. This simplicity, he said was a pure delight to clients in retail, logistics, and other areas where optimizing the supply chain is critical for enhancing operational efficiencies.

To date, IBM has over 100 such partnerships and expects to deliver hundreds more similar PurePatterns across various industries with even more partnerships. It will be interesting to quantify the collective ROI that clients receive both in ease of deployment and in ongoing operations from this PureEcosystem.

It is well known that IT operational costs in labor are one of the fastest growing components of the total cost of ownership (TCO). What PureSystems along with the growing portfolio of PurePatterns do is to tackle this head on to make IT simpler to use –similar to the value proposition for cloud computing which has been front and center in the minds of IT organizations worldwide. This brings me to my second set of takeaways from IMPACT.

Cloud OpenStack – Molecules Matter

During the IBM Analyst deep-dive sessions, I got the opportunity to understand the scale and focus of IBM’s Cloud OpenStack initiative. One primary motivation behind this open source initiative is to simplify and standardize Cloud Use Cases and Workloads by building a technology stack using open source and standards to instantiate these use cases. IBM used a very nice chemistry analogy to explain this: system components and their functions are like elements in the periodic table while real-life workloads are like molecules that provide higher level business function and are composed of several pre-wired components (elements).

Then we witnessed a very feature rich demo that depicted a fairly comprehensive cloud business use case. This consortium plans to produce many more of these cloud business use cases and members plan to contribute code and other resources to this initiative. In the next few months, IBM plans to work with other consortium members on governance and process related matters in addition to growing this Ecosystem to include more end-users and application providers.

All this will make these molecules matter even more in the industry. It will further that magical chemistry that continues to fuel the Open Source movement that was born at the dawn of the Internet era. Are we poised to witness another spike in the IT industry with the impending confluence of open source solutions in Big Data, Analytics, and Cloud? The mathematics and technologies for this exist. The bigger question is do we have the knowledge and human capital and the collective wherewithal to leverage all of this? I think so. The first movers have already spoken. The rest will follow. It’s that simple!

OpenStack the PureSystem

IBM was asked several times during the analyst session if there was a plan to extend the Cloud OpenStack to PureSystems. While no formal commitments or announcements were made, I felt from a business strategy perspective, this is a purely simple matter. It will only enhance the PureEcosystem. This chemical bonding will deliver a macro-molecule that could help enterprises deploy clouds in much the same way Enterprise Linux did almost a decade ago. It should also further the collective benefits of Open Source for one and all – pure and simple.

The plane has landed at Westchester Airport. For me the simple act of comfortably flying will now be replaced by the laborious act of having to navigate the traffic on the busy highway (I – 684) that goes north to Danbury, Connecticut. Too bad automobiles are not yet self-navigating and autonomic. But this is bound to happen as cars increasingly become computers in the next decade or so and they get all the intelligent capabilities of sensing and responding in real-time. But this labor of driving through traffic will be very well worth it as I will experience the pure joy of being back at home. After all as a wise man once said Home is where the heart is! That, my dear friend, is pure and simple!

To extend what the IBM executive said at IMPACT – Let us make technology homely! We as IT analysts do – in our own small way – contribute to this goal by trying to communicate as best as we can the value of technology in simple terms.

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