IBM Sharpens Dynamic Infrastructure Pitch

IBM unwrapped updates to its Dynamic Infrastructure roadmap Tuesday with new product announcements and new customers it said have decided to go the IBM route to reduce costs.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) first introduced Dynamic Infrastructure in February as a means to offer more versatility in customer choices for their deployments. The company contends its approach differs from other hardware vendors who, IBM contends, limit customers to more of a one-size-fits-all solution.

“Our vision is to offer a portfolio of offerings and meet client requirements no matter their reality,” Alex Yost, vice president of System x and BladeCenter computers, told

“Most vendors have a single offering, and one architecture is not going to meet everybody’s requirements. The idea of ‘blade everywhere’ and ‘unified computing’ does not have the flexibility customers need,” he added.

But that assessment is a bit of a stretch, according to Frank Gillett, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research. “Cisco may not have much of a leg to stand on because it’s new to the market, but what IBM is trying to do is take advantage of the fact HP talks about blades a lot and uses the phrase ‘blades everywhere,’ but they are not telling customers they have to use blades. HP has non-blade products, so does Dell. So that’s a bit of a distraction,” he told

But, Gillett added, IBM does have the broadest story to tell. “What I think is great for IBM is they have the mainframe which nobody else has, they offer Unix, which only some others have, and they have x86, which all the others have. They have a diversity of systems going all the way out to point of sales systems,” he said.

Among the new offerings is a consulting service called the IT Optimization Business Value Roadmap. It’s designed for clients with multiple IT projects to help them evaluate priorities and work with fewer resources. Yost said virtually every client he’s spoken to recently has said they have to do more with fewer people, which prompted this offering.

IBM also debuted the IBM Service Management Center for Cloud Computing, a combined console for all systems, from x86 to mainframe, including IBM Tivoli Identity and Access Assurance, IBM Tivoli Data and Application Security, and IBM Tivoli Security Management for z/OS, for Cloud environments.

A virtualization first: allocate memory on the fly

For virtualized environments, IBM announced what it claims is the industry’s first memory virtualization software, IBM PowerVM Active Memory Sharing, which allows memory to automatically flow from one virtual server to another for increased utilization and flexibility of memory usage. Memory can thus be allocated on the fly to where it is needed most.

IBM has also introduced two new System x appliances for system and application monitoring and service request management, and an IBM Business Partner program for green technology, which certifies partners’ solutions to produce more green products.

The company announced four new servers, two blades and two rack mounted servers, all running Power processors. The BladeCenter JS23 and JS43 run System i, AIX or Linux applications, while the Power 520 and 550 servers use IBM’s fastest Power chips, 4.7GHz and 5.0GHz, for server consolidation.

There are also new offerings in risk management and business intelligence software for System z, a new version of Cognos 8 Business Intelligence for Linux on System z and a new version of the IBM System Storage DS5000 for the mid-market.

IBM is also offering new networking services for consolidation and virtualization as well as an expansion of its OEM agreement with Brocade, something IBM said it would do in response to Cisco’s Unified Computing effort.

“This announcement continues to support the IBM message that everything on the planet is going to get connected and here’s all the gear to connect all that, and here’s the services and support to link all the technology,” said Gillett. “To me, that’s the strongest differentiation point IBM has.”

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