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7/21/2010
09:57 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: IBM Doubles Down On Red-Hot Optimized Systems

A management shuffle and pointed comments from IBM CEO Palmisano show the drive for optimized systems will accelerate.

"Many customers tell us they want more turnkey systems and appliances." Citing their attributes of preconfiguration and optimization, Adkins said the types of value they deliver is lower cost of IT operations; a platform with the ability to grow and scale; and what Adkins called "consumability: a system that's workload-optimized out of the box and ready to go."

As part of today's rollout of hardware enhancements from the zEnterprise on down through the Power and x86 lines, Adkins said the success IBM has had with its Smart Analytics System 9600 has proven the viability of the optimized approach. Asked to name a few other types of tasks that CIOs might want to handle with comparable optimized systems, Adkins offered three: archiving for today's vast storage and retrieval needs; storage tiering, to help customers optimize storage solutions across flash, disk, and tape; and cloud computing, which can be made more appealing if delivered in "prepackaged, pre-tested, and pre-integrated" machines.

And IBM heads in that direction, it will face some spirited competition from a number of companies but particularly from Oracle and Larry Ellison, who in late March had this to say about how Oracle intends to overtake IBM in high-end systems via its Exadata and other optimized machines:

"Our intent is that the Exadata line will challenge the biggest IBM P Series machines and beat them badly in performance, reliability, and cost," said Ellison, as we reported in a column called Global CIO: Oracle's Larry Ellison Declares War On IBM And SAP. "And we think we can do that: in transaction processing, we're twice as fast, and in data warehousing, we're 10 times as fast. Those are our goals: to be twice as fast as IBM's biggest, best box and again, at a dramatically lower price."

IBM didn't take too kindly to that assessment of its capabilities, and in our column we included IBM's response to Ellison's comments, and that response shows how deeply IBM has been focusing on what it calls "workload-optimized systems":

"There is a fundamental philosophical difference between Oracle and IBM," the IBM spokesman said. "Oracle is trying to convince the market that one system can efficiently handle both transactional and analytical workloads. IBM believes that systems should be optimized for particular workloads.

"For transactional use cases, Oracle sells Exadata. For analytical use cases, Oracle sells Exadata.

"On the other hand, IBM recommends systems that are optimized for particular workloads. For transactional use cases, IBM recommends DB2 pureScale, which is a tightly integrated, pre-configured, and pre-optimized hardware, software, and storage stack," IBM said.

And now that IBM has brought together its hardware business and its software business, we can be sure of one thing: we're going to be hearing a lot more from IBM—and from many other IT vendors—about the hottest trend in the IT business today: preconfigured, pre-tested, and highly optimized and integrated systems, machines, and appliances.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Global CIO: Oracle's Larry Ellison Declares War On IBM And SAP

Global CIO: Microsoft Joins Oracle & IBM In Rise Of The Machines

Global CIO: Oracle Reveals Strategy & Customers For White-Hot Exadata

Global CIO: Larry Ellison's IBM-Slayer Is Oracle Exadata Machine

Global CIO: Larry Ellison's Hardware Boasts Are Nonsense, Says IBM

Global CIO: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's Top 10 Reasons For Buying Sun

Global CIO: IBM Calls Out Oracle's Ellison On Database Claims

Global CIO: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison On The Future Of IT

Global CIO: IBM CEO Sam Palmisano Talks With Global CIO

Global CIO: Oracle's Ellison Challenges IBM, NetApp, And—Well—Everyone

Global CIO: Oracle Needs More Than Ellison's Talk To Beat IBM's Systems

Global CIO: An Open Letter To Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Global CIO: Oracle-Sun's Biggest Challenge Isn't Technology—It's People

GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at bevans@techweb.com.

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