Hardware, Software and Services to Deliver Better Control of the Data Center and Manage Physical Assets
IBM announced an enhanced strategy to help clients maximize benefits of virtualization with integrated service management by focusing on four key priorities: consolidation, management, automation and optimized delivery. This strategy is based on a comprehensive view of data center virtualization including servers, storage, networking, software and services. According to analyst firm IDC the worldwide revenue for virtualization related ecosystem is expected to exceed $46 billion by 2013. (1)
The data center is becoming an organization’s “command center” for increasingly complex IT and business issues with a corresponding growth of digital data. The data center’s boundaries are expanding beyond traditional IT assets to include physical assets embedded with intelligent technology such as building facilities, water mains and office equipment (see IBM’s announcement today on Smarter Buildings). Digital data is expected to grow tenfold from 2007 to 2011, and more than one trillion devices will be connected to the internet by 2011.
IBM sees the combination of virtualization with integrated service management software as the means to provide visibility, control and automation of the data center, IT design and delivery and physical assets. The combination enables business value of improved service, reduction in costs and the ability to manage risks.
“As the complexity of data centers is growing, it becomes critical to establish good practices of integrated service management. It allows improvements in service, a reduction in costs and the ability to better manage risks.” said Helene Armitage, general manager, IBM System Software. “By offering a cohesive portfolio to manage an infrastructure, IBM is helping clients create the infrastructure for smarter buildings, cities, utilities, offices, transportation systems and operations in every industry around the world.”
IBM see virtualization as the foundation of visibility, control and automation for the business infrastructure and has identified four key priorities for virtualization and integrated service management.
The ability to consolidate workloads from multiple smaller servers to fewer larger ones is made possible by hypervisor software. This software, available from multiple vendors, including IBM, and includes both open source and proprietary third party offerings, is the first step in any virtualization process. In addition to reducing the overall number of servers, storage and network devices, this first phase of virtualization minimizes physical points of failure in the data center, increases utilization and reduces floor space requirements.
IBM offers full support for a range of x86 virtualization platforms. In addition for consolidation on advance platforms IBM can support thousands of “virtual partitions” on Power and System Z platforms through IBM System Software products including PowerVM and zVM.
The key to the consolidation phase of IBM’s virtualization strategy is helping client avoid vendor lock in by being hypervisor neutral. IBM System Software designed for the next phases of virtualization is designed to work with the broadest range of hypervisors in the industry from multiple vendors.
Single Pane of Glass
The next step in virtualization adoption, management, helps clients develop a “single pane of glass” view to manage their entire virtualized infrastructure, including servers, storage and networking technologies. This enables the IT or Systems Administrator to manage the IT infrastructure through a common set of user interfaces rather than having to navigate through the complexities and different user interfaces of the underlying IT systems. This helps improve the IT staff’s productivity and efficiency by making it easier for them to manage the IT systems across physical and virtual systems and help manage virtual appliance sprawl or proliferation.
To help customers better manage infrastructures, IBM offers products including IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Images. The software helps IT staff manage and maintain all application and server images – virtual and physical – from a single interface. As more companies use virtualization—such as KVM, VMWare, Hyper-V and Xen—the ability to discover, capture, store and deploy virtual images and physical server images from a single repository is critical. Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Images helps reduce labor costs, reduces “image sprawl,” and builds a foundation for cloud computing.
Data Center Autopilot
Automation, the next step, allows systems, storage and networking technologies to dynamically sense and respond to peaks and other shifts in work load demands. Specific workloads can be sent to workload optimized servers tuned for specific purpose. In the event of a system failure or power outage, a properly automated data center based on virtualization can shift workloads to back up servers or disaster recovery centers.
Automation can also reduce the time it takes to deploy new application, or make changes to existing applications from days or weeks to hours or minutes.
A Path to the Cloud
The final step, optimized delivery is designed to take advantage of emerging delivery models including cloud computing that is unconstrained by physical barriers or location. This allows business data from applications or business services to be accessed when and where it is needed.
Later this year, IBM will begin to introduce additional hardware, software and services to help clients maximize the potential benefits from virtualization.