While the number of RISC-based servers being acquired has been in steady decline for several years, IBM is starting to make the case that Big Data applications are about to start turning all that around.
IBM today unveiled a series of Big Data platforms based on its Power Series platform, including a PureData System for Analytics that incorporates Netezza; a PureApplication System based on POWER7+ processors that simplifies the management of transaction and analytics applications; and a smaller PureApplication System that reduces the entry point for acquiring Power Series platforms.
According to Steve Sibley, director of IBM Power Systems, IBM's new PureData System for Analytics provides 50 percent greater data capacity per rack and is able to crunch data three times faster than any rival platform. Sibley says that’s critical because it essentially increases the amount of processing IT organizations can do without increasing the physical footprint of the overall data center.
Meanwhile, IBM contends that the previously introduced POWER7+ processor is ideal for workloads that need to combine the transaction processing and analytics attributes that characterize most Big Data applications.
At the same time, IBM is addressing Big Data storage issues with an IBM XIV Storage System that now supports up to 12 10GB Ethernet Ports and up to 6TB of solid-state cache and a new Real-Time Compression Appliance Model STN7800 that can compress data in real-time to reduce data storage requirements by a factor of five. IBM also launched IBM SmartCloud Storage Access software that allows organizations to set up secure private storage clouds using a self-service portal.
In an IT world dominated by x86 processors, IBM is making the case for a more efficient IT architecture that runs application workloads on the processors best suited to run that class of workload. To better make that argument, IBM is now adding a POWER7+ platform to its lineup that is priced starting at $5,947 because one of the most difficult issues that IBM faces selling the Power Series has been the cost of entry compared to an x86 server.
There’s no doubt that certain classes of application workloads run better on RISC processors that are optimized for multithreaded application workloads. But in order for IBM to succeed in convincing IT organizations to more routinely deploy multiple types of servers, otherwise known as Smarter Computing in IBM parlance, IBM will have to make managing application workloads at a more granular level a lot more automated than it is today.
In the meantime, as IBM leverages its PureSystems architecture to lower the cost of IT by integrating the management of server, storage and networking resources under a common management platform, the foundation for providing that higher level of automation is starting to fall into place.