Vision Debuts ‘PowerPacks’ Product Bundles
March 3, 2009 Alex Woodie
Vision Solutions today announced a series of “PowerPacks,” or bundles of software, hardware, and services aimed at specific high availability and systems management requirements for IBM i and AIX Power Systems customers. Besides having a cool name, PowerPacks are meant to reinforce the notion that high availability isn’t a shrink-wrapped piece of software, and that it requires several elements coming together in the proper amounts to make it successful.
The Vision PowerPacks are generalized soft bundles that include all the pieces that may be needed around a specific solution in a given geographic region, but which can be configured to meet a customer’s exact HA or DR needs, according to Vision product marketing director Bill Hammond. “It may be storage, it may be services, it could be hardware. Obviously Vision software is part of it. In some cases, IBM has pieces involved,” he says.
Vision had introduced six PowerPacks, including Vision PowerPack for IBM i Resilience; Vision PowerPack for AIX Resilience; Vision PowerPack for AIX Resilience–PowerHA User Edition; Vision PowerPack for POWER6 Migration; Vision PowerPack for Systems Management; and Vision PowerPack for Cluster Management.
As you might expect, the Vision PowerPack for IBM i Resilience includes the iTera HA high availability software that Vision leads with these days, a Capacity Backup (CBU) Power Systems server from IBM, and a handful of services to get the project off the ground. Depending on the user’s requirements, they may not need the CBU box–if they already have a spare iSeries or System i server to function as the disaster recovery box, for example. Internal DASD or external SANs can also be included in the package, and enterprise users may opt for the ORION or MIMIX HA offerings, which Vision still sells.
Likewise, the Vision PowerPack for AIX Resilience is built around Vision’s Unix HA product, EchoStream, while the PowerPack for AIX Resilience–PowerHA edition is aimed at customers who want to add EchoStream to their existing IBM PowerHA environments, to obtain offsite DR capabilities. (Just to clarify: IBM uses the PowerHA name to refer not only to its i OS-based HA management offering, which was previously called High Availability Solutions Manager, or HASM, before last April’s platform rebranding, but also to refer to its AIX-based HA management offering, which was previously called High Availability Cluster Multiprocessing, or HACMP, on which HASM is largely based. Now, all the products are PowerHA.)
The PowerPack for Cluster Management includes Vision’s Cluster1 management software for IBM’s various hardware-based clustering mechanisms, including Cluster Services, Switched Disk, Geographic Mirroring, Metro Mirroring, and Global Mirroring, while the PowerPack for Systems Management includes several of the i OS utilities that Vision obtained with its acquisition of OS Solutions several years ago.
With all the different HA and DR options out there these days, it can be difficult to see exactly what a particular customer might need. That is part of the goal of the PowerPack branding initiative, Hammond says.
“There was a lack of awareness of everything that’s needed to go into the solution, that it wasn’t just the software or the hardware, and there might be a services engagement that made sense as part of this,” he says. “There was a lack of complete understanding on what the whole solution was going to entail, and I think this was a good way of putting it out up front, saying ‘Here’s the entirety of the offer.'”
The term PowerPack was coined a while ago by Vision’s vice president of marketing, Ed Vesely. It was originally used to refer to a marketing bundle of gear, software, and services that would be most appropriate for SAP customers in choosing a high availability package that works for them, and the company decided to expand the PowerPacks to fit other customer requirements.
Having the flexibility within the PowerPacks to piece together a custom HA solution is crucial to the process, Hammond says. “So much of this is really dependent on knowing the particular market and then customizing the offering to fit that market,” he says. “The PowerPacks are frameworks you can customize and build a more specific offering out of, on a country-by-country level.”
Vision plans to build on the PowerPack brand in the future. It also will be center stage during of an upcoming Webcast that Vision is hosting along with Stephanie Carmel, the vice president of ISV solutions in IBM’s Systems & Technology Group. For more information on the PowerPacks or to register for the March 24 event, visit www.visionsolutions.com.