IBM’s new technologies enable CIOs to do more with less

CIOs are constantly faced with delivering excellent services to a demanding user community that has critical business requirements

June 28, 2010

CIOs are constantly faced with delivering excellent services to a demanding user community that has critical business requirements. As these services need to be provided within a tight ICT budget and an organisation’s stringent risk and compliance policy, CIOs commonly find themselves under pressure to find cost-effective solutions that not only address business needs, but also show an improvement on current service levels and a good return on investment.

According to Abrie Peens, IBM business unit manager at Datacentrix, one of the typical “pain points” for a CIO is server sprawl. He explains that server sprawl results in high costs due to under-utilised servers and associated internal storage devices. The situation is exacerbated by ever increasing application demands, which lead to increased pro-active management requirements.  “To cope with these growing demands, the CIO simply needs to do more with less.”

Virtualisation of the existing infrastructure is an effective way to address the challenge highlighted by Peens. For a business to move in this direction, the ICT investment decision needs to consider all the elements in the value chain such as hardware, software, services, physical infrastructure requirements, project management and commercial finance – with the starting point being the change management in the business.

IBM has been involved with world-class virtualisation innovation since [ADD YEAR] and, in combination with the appropriate software and services portfolio, the company has raised the bar with the recent introduction of its x86 eX5 product suite in the Intel space, Power 7 in the Unix space and the recently enhanced XIV storage subsystems.

By exploiting the functions and features of these new IBM technologies, a CIO can now enable a fit-for-purpose virtualised solution that delivers more with existing resources. “Through pooling common infrastructure resources, a CIO is able to lessen data centre costs, because a decrease in physical infrastructure results in a reduction in power and cooling requirements, yet an improvement in agility and resiliency. In addition, operational flexibility across the enterprise can be gained through the simplified management of an infrastructure via the IBM Director suite, which results in improved server and storage management,” says Peens.

For the CFO, virtualisation and consolidation solutions offer desired levels of energy efficiency gains and so, cost reduction. “A CFO can expect improved savings of up to 40 percent or greater, vastly improved operational efficiencies and a strong return on investment in a short period of time due to the lower capital and operational costs. In fact, by deploying the new IBM technologies, there is the potential to double IT capacity in the same energy footprint, or reduce operational costs for a given IT capacity up to 50 percent.”

Peens explains that in X86 Intel environments the IBM eX5 technology is designed to enhance and exploit the virtualisation features and functions when combined with software like VMware. “Whether it is a standalone, blade or rack mounted configuration, it allows for significantly increased utilisation due to its inherent memory design features. For the first time, CIOs can expect utilisation between 70 and 80 percent as opposed to the 20 to 30 percent to which they have become accustomed. This should be very good news for any organisation looking for a long term scale up or scale out solution with a view to consolidate critical workloads such as SAP,” says Peens

He also firmly believes that within UNIX environments, IBM’s Power 7 processor has changed the UNIX landscape forever. “The technology offers jaw dropping performance and scalability with a resultant reduction in total cost of ownership.” Owing to the technology’s solid product development roadmap, CIOs can witness the outstanding results of an enterprise-type machine with mainframe-like availability, serviceability and reliability. “Due to its inherent design and by taking advantage of its micro-partitioning capability, the machine can be configured to suit specific business practices and unique requirements, as well as provide resources on a capacity-on-demand basis and manage multiple machines from a central point via the IBM Director Software suite. Compared to its major rivals in the marketplace, Power 7 offers a virtualisation platform unmatched in the industry today,” says Peens.

He adds that in mainframe environments, the adoption of Linux workloads on the mainframe is gaining momentum, especially with existing System z clients. “The mainframe as a preferred consolidation platform is set to play an ever increasing role for workload consolidation because of its inherent software and process maturity. A host of new capabilities is making it possible to consolidate an array of open system workloads on the mainframe at competitive total cost of ownership when compared to other platforms, and the hugely anticipated release of the next generation mainframe will be launched later this year.”

Furthermore, due to the revolutionary way in which the XIV storage subsystem lays out its data, enterprise class performance with SATA disks – that can easily compete with any other enterprise storage in the marketplace today – can be achieved. “The technology brings benefits that other storage vendors just don’t have. This include the fastest rebuild time in case of an outage, no occurrences of hotspots of any kind, as well as the optimum utilisation of all disk spindles to the benefit of all the applications using the subsystem. It is important to note, that this is achieved without compromising the reliability of the XIV server and that each piece of data has two copies on different disks that reside on different modules to survive both a disk failure and a module failure,” says Peens

With new technologies, such as these by IBM, enhanced business operations in high performance environments can thus be attained at lower costs than in the past, presenting a huge plus for both CFOs and CIOs.