PSeries continues to grab customers

Over the last six months many of the major IT suppliers have been promoting utility computing and "Infrastructure Consolidation".


Guest Commentary
PSeries continues to grab customers
by Tony Lock, Bloor Research

Over the last six months many of the major IT suppliers have been promoting "Utility" computing and "Infrastructure Consolidation", each with their own sets of products and, more confusingly, choice of language.

Whilst Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft have all been active IBM has, perhaps, been the most visible champion of flexible computing, or as Big Blue calls it, On Demand Computing.

Last week witnessed the largest IT vendor in the world publicizing two major customer wins, with Lego, the manufacturer of children's play materials, and the Directorate of Information Systems of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) in Northern Ireland. Both solutions include major server and storage consolidation projects as central components of the agreements.

In the case of Lego, the solution has been constructed to allow the Company to adjust its e-business focussed IT capacity needs according to the seasonal peaks in business by providing "on demand" capabilities thereby enabling Lego to reduce the cost of running its computing infrastructure. In effect the system provides a flexible cost base with an IT usage model that permits the company to pay only for the IT resources that it utilises. Spare capacity is available constantly to cater for peak surges in demand.

Technically, the solution will see Lego consolidate its IT platform from more than 220 severs from HP and Compaq to a fully integrated, open infrastructure based on IBM's Unix 2 top end eServer pSeries p690 and 4 p650 Unix servers, 24 eServer xSeries x440 Intel machines and 4 IBM Enterprise Storage Servers with Tivoli Storage Manager software also being deployed.

In the deal, Lego has obtained fully configured servers and storage systems using IBM's "pay as you grow" strategy. In this way the company has the opportunity to turn on additional capacity when required, but, equally important, be able to turn the capacity off again when it is not required. Under the deal Lego only pays for the resources it uses.

The implemented solution gives Lego the capability to compete cost effectively in a very dynamic market place where demand for its products may fluctuate widely and is subject to seasonal peaks (such as the pre-Christmas rush) and several large scale marketing thrusts.

In Northern Ireland, a ten-year deal will see the DHSSPS consolidate 106 distributed multi-vendor IT systems from 18 Trusts and 4 Health and Social Services Boards into two new data centres. The systems will cover a range of administrative and clinical areas such as finance, payroll, personnel, radiology, A&E, laboratories, pharmacy, screening, child health, and social services. The consolidation of the data from the existing infrastructure will be a major milestone on the way to a single Electronic Care Record.

The new configuration consists of four high-end IBM eServer p690 UNIX servers with multiple logical partitions (LPARs). In addition, a Storage Area Network (SAN) Fabric has been created between the two Data Centres based on two IBM Enterprise Storage Server (ESS) 800 systems and McData Switches and Directors. The configuration is administered using a range of Tivoli management Software.

It is interesting to note that both projects will place IBM's top of the range eServer pSeries Unix servers at the heart of the new systems. The pSeries machines have seen consistent sales growth over the last twelve months as the systems have been priced very aggressively. Indeed, as the entire range continues to evolve by incorporating top end technologies throughout the line up, the pSeries is attracting attention throughout its range from the top end enterprise class systems, mid-range servers and down to entry level 1 and 2 processor machines.

With the pSeries now comfortable supporting both IBM's own Unix, AIX, and open source Linux operating platforms, there is every likelihood that these servers will continue to attract attention in many areas.

IBM continues to have great plans for its Power processors, AIX and Linux and if it continues to price these servers as aggressively has it has, the other major server vendors will need to react speedily to remain competitive.


Copyright 2003. Originally published by IT-Director.com, reprinted with permission. IT-Director.com provides IT decision makers with free daily e-mails containing news analysis, member-only discussion forums, free research, technology spotlights and free on-line consultancy. To register for a free e-mail subscription, click here.

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This was first published in August 2003

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