You don’t often hear people talking about how smooth and easy their last IT implementation went.
What’s newsworthy about everything going right?
We want to hear about the disasters, tantrums, tears, and rage. But you’ll find none of that in this story.
IBM has opened two fronts in the war on long, torturous implementations and overly complex, manual systems maintenance.
The first takes aim at the process of deploying and maintaining IBM x86 servers. The second approach, known as converged infrastructure, leapfrogs the whole setup and configuration process altogether by pre-integrating all the infrastructure components at the factory so it’s ready to run right out of the box.
For the x86 shop, including System x rack servers, BladeCenter blade servers, and IBM Flex System compute nodes, IBM offers FastSetup, a software tool that dramatically simplifies maintenance and deployment.
The tool’s graphical user interface (GUI) initializes the discover, update, and configuration phases of server setup, while including templates that make it easy to automatically replicate settings across servers with minimal intervention.
“The low-touch, set-once, and walk-away feature reduces hands-on server setup time from days to minutes, particularly for larger deployments,” writes IBM white paper author Chao Feng Zhang.
The BladeCenter H chassis design also provides many simplification features. Redundant, shared fans, power supplies, systems management, and ports reduce the number of moving parts and thus limits the potential for breakdown. Combined with the IBM FastSetup tool, BladeCenter H chassis goes a long way toward eliminating the initial deployment hassles and subsequent repetitive maintenance tasks that can sap an IT department's valuable innovative capacities.
As appealing and efficient as tools like FastSetup are, the arrival of converged infrastructure offerings has the potential to supersede setup tools altogether.
According to IDC, companies spend roughly 70 percent of their annual IT budgets on just keeping their systems running.
Dan Hiss at IBM says, “With traditional systems, companies really struggle with the islands of IT networking, compute, storage, backup etc. and making sure that all the interconnections are optimized and are working properly. With converged infrastructure, a lot of the guesswork and the connecting of the elements together is already done.”
These prebuilt and pre-integrated systems, like IBM PureFlex Systems, are literally intended to get a company up and running almost instantaneously.
According to Tom Brey, PureFlex Chief Architect at IBM “You don’t have to hook a serial cable or Ethernet cable into each component, and then start integrating component to component. With PureFlex, we’ve handled all the intra-rack cabling, integrating all these components together so it arrives as a complete system, ready to run.”
Of course torturous implementations full of tears, rage, and angry epithets won't go away overnight, but at least now we know of a couple of ways to avoid them.