Who will win the datacentre in a box IDMS market?

It’s a wonder that IDMS hasn’t already become more of an industry-standard acronym already given the constantly developing offerings in the Integrated Data Management Systems (IDMS) space.

While CA Technologies has a long track record in this space and the associated area of autonomic computing systems, current offerings in this sector include Oracle Exalogic, SAP HANA, Cisco UCS and the VCE (VMware/Cisco/EMC) consortium and… enjoying recent updates this quarter IBM PureSystems.

What is an IDMS?

An IDMS is best described as a factory built set of pre-configured computing components consisting of both software and hardware. These often ‘workload-specific’ platforms are typically tuned for transactional data tasks, operational data management and big data analytics. To use a marketing-friendly term, the IDMS is popularly referred to as an ‘integrated data center building block’ (or a datacentre in a box) serving both the needs of infrastructure and applications as it does. Essentially the IDMS aims to provide an ‘integrated computing system’ offering with the intelligence to be able to automate tasks like system maintenance and (and here’s the autonomic computing reference) even be able to ‘anticipate requirements’ so that servers, networking components and storage can be provisioned and delivered as required.

Turning to the recently bolstered IBM PureSystems, there is much for developers to take note of here as these systems have been engineered to support as many as four operating systems:

• Windows,

• Linux,

• AIX…

• and IBM i

Plus, there is also support for and five hypervisors:

• Hyper-V,

• KVM,

• PowerVM,

• VMware…

• and Xen

Supporting multiple OSs, hypervisors and multiple architectures (IBM Power and x86) all with the ability to offer cloud management is a big play for sure.

More than a bundle?

IBM is working hard to position its PureSystems offering as more than just a software appliance bundled with a hardware back end. The firm is suggested to have spent more than US$2 billion on research & development & acquisitions to produce what it calls a more “integrated and inherently flexible” product than those of its competitors.

The PureSystems line breaks down into two subgroups:

PureFlex — this is a private Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform that shoulders the integration workload bringing servers, networking components and storage into harmony

PureApplication — this could be described as a vehicle for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployments that comes with the additional intelligence of IBM’s networking technology. The technology itself is already optimised and preconfigured for over 100 enterprise applications.

IBM’s senior VP for systems & technology Rod Adkins has suggested that his firm is trying to simplify datacentre deployments through “integration by design” and that this should make “IT more consumable” as a result.

IBM is said to be actively working with ISVs at this time to expand the breadth of the software application offered on the PureSystems. Currently working to custom tailor their software to the PureSystems line are Sugar CRM, SAP hosting company Symmetry and developer of e-signature software Silanis.

The big developer play?

A developer kit was announced at IBM’s own Impact 2012 conference and exhibition to enable programmers to add their own expertise patterns to the mix.

IBM contends that PureSystems will allow developers to design, architect and deploy the required infrastructure for enterprise level web applications in around 10 days as opposed to the months that it might otherwise take. Big Blue also points out that the PureSystems technology proposition can be partitioned into thousands (if necessary) of virtual machines to make macroeconomic level savings.

Who will win the datacentre in a box IDMS market?

IBM is pricing its new offerings in express, standard and enterprise editions and is perhaps making less of a fanfare about its IDMS developments that that which might be witnessed from (let’s say) SAP and Oracle.

But fanfare or not, nobody ever got fired for buying an IBM IDMS yet.