IBM Touts PureSystems Uptake For PoCs, In Emerging Markets
Published: August 27, 2012
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
It has been four months since IBM launched its Flex System modular systems and the management and cloudy infrastructure software that turns the server, network, and storage in the machine into a PureSystems box. The software vendors are lining up behind the machine, and the first customers are starting to buy boxes to kick the tires and see how they might work in production.
As of early August, IBM had an ecosystem with over 700 business partners, mostly independent software vendors (ISVs) and system resellers, who were certified to peddle the boxes, and over 160 software packages have been put on the machines with the "patterns of expertise" automation scripts that make it easier to deploy and manage those applications compared to buying servers off the shelf and deploying and managing them manually. Because the Flex System iron is based on Power7 and Xeon processors, there are tens of thousands of applications that run on top of Windows, AIX, IBM i, and Linux that are certified to run on the machines, and this batch of patterns of expertise are certainly going to grow from this relatively small number as IBM puts more emphasis on PureSystems, and partners want to use the machines as a lever to help push software and services.
IBM also has provided PureSystems training to over 1,300 business partners from around the world in its several innovation centers, getting them prepped to begin their own sales cycles for the machines. These centers are located in Bangalore, Dublin, Johannesburg, and Shanghai to give India, Europe, Africa, and China the kind of hand-holding that companies in North America get by virtue of PureSystems coming out of IBM's various labs and facilities here in the United States. Business partners include independent software vendors, managed service providers, resellers, distributors, and systems integrators.
IBM has over 500 developers who are monkeying around with its SmartCloud infrastructure cloud running atop PureSystems iron, a program that had only been available for a few weeks when Big Blue generated those stats to talk about the uptake for PureSystems.
And, as usual, IBM is rolling out the cheap financing for customers opting for PureSystems iron, deferring payments for 90 days and buying back servers from rivals Hewlett-Packard and Oracle if they dump this gear for shiny new PureSystems machinery.
IBM is talking about how companies in emerging markets are taking an especial liking to PureSystems. We already told you about PCCW, an IT services company based in Hong Kong that is using PureSystems to host an online store peddling its services and one in which Big Blue beat out Cisco Systems to win the deal. Indian real estate company BPTP, an upstart that is only 9 years old, is going to put its online real estate and back-end systems all on PureSystems. And ValeCard, a contract processing firm based in Brazil that is growing at 40 percent per year for the past three years, is putting its back-end transaction processing systems on PureSystems as well.
Alex Yost, the business line manager in charge of the PureFlex line at IBM, tells The Four Hundred that IBM is doing lots of proofs of concept right now, and that business partners are installing the machines. The order of magnitude is that IBM and partners have done thousands of engagements and have dozens of PoCs. Now that the full-on PureApplication variant of the machine, which includes all the management wizardry in the architecture, has been available since early August, the uptake should accelerate.
"We've had some good wins against guys who have been punching us in the nose for the past year," says Yost, and that refers mostly to Cisco. Yost can't talk specific revenues for PureSystems yet, but says it is "absolutely material" and adds that IBM nonetheless has "very high expectations" for the machine.
At the moment, the Flex System iron is really aimed at customers deploying six to eight racks, says Yost. The management is hands-down better than for blade servers and rack servers, and BladeCenter blade servers and Flex System iron are priced "in the same ballpark." IBM has been pretty vague about Flex System, PureSystem, and PureApplication pricing, and Yost says that the extra value that the PureSystem architecture yields "is priced in." Just like it was for the System/38 and AS/400 many decades ago.
There is nothing free in this world. Never has been, never will be.
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