IBM PureSystems Unleashed


IBM PureSystemsA few months ago, I published a blog post entitled “IBM PureSystems: A cloud computing genie” on the Thoughts on Cloud blog. In that post I compared IBM PureSystems with a genie. This genie can solve a complex IT conundrum within the shortest time possible by offering:

  • Built-in expertise
  • Integration by design
  • Simplified experience for the users

IBM PureSystems is a ready-to-run cloud in a box. PureSystems incorporates the flexibility of a general-purpose system, the elasticity of cloud and the simplicity of an appliance. It can unleash unprecedented computing power with its integrated and stacked software, hardware, middleware, networking components, management and built-in security. IBM PureSystems is so amazing that you could run a private cloud in as little as four hours with it.

Since I wrote my previous blog, the IBM PureSystems family has gotten bigger. The family members now include:

  • PureFlex System
  • PureApplication System
  • PureData System

In this piece, I will present eleven technical facts about these family members.

PureFlex System

IBM PureFlex System is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering.

  1. IBM Flex System is the linchpin of PureFlex System. Flex System includes compute, storage, systems management and networking components.
  1. PureFlex System is a preconfigured and preintegrated infrastructure with integrated management and cloud capabilities. It comes with an x86 and Power hybrid solution. On the contrary, IBM Flex System offers a set of components like compute, storage, network and system management solutions to custom build a system according to specific requirements.
  1. Some of the benefits of PureFlex System or IBM Flex System include:
    1. Twice the application density in the same floor space
    2. Up to 40 percent energy cost reduction
    3. Up to 70 percent fewer cores than conventional and previous generation systems, resulting in reduced software licensing costs
    4. Unified management of compute, storage and networking reduces management costs up to 50 percent
    5. Integrated and automated storage provisioning in 98 percent less time
    6. Sixty-six percent faster setup time
  1. IBM PureFlex comes in three configurations: express, standard and enterprise. The table below summarizes the main technical specifications of these variants. This table has been compiled from the information available on the IBM PureFlex System website.





IBM Flex System compute nodes x86 or Power processor x86 or Power processor  x86 or Power processor
IBM PureFlex System 42U Rack Yes Yes Yes
IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis Yes Yes Yes
Integrated 10 Gb networking switch 1 1 2 with choice of Features on Demand (FoD) upgrades for more ports and higher performance
Integrated 8 or 16 Gb Fibre Channel Switch 1 2 2
IBM Flex System Manager Yes, with one year of service and support Yes, including Advanced Option with three years of service and support Yes, including Advanced Option with three years of service and support
Power supplies (std/max) 2/6 4/6 6/6
80 mm fans (std/max) 4/8 6/8 8/8
Chassis Management Modules (CMM) 2 2 2
Integrated IBM Flex System V7000 Storage Node Yes (redundant controller) Yes (redundant controller) Yes (redundant controller)
IBM Flex System V7000 Storage Node software Base with one-year software maintenance agreement Base with three-year software maintenance agreement Base with three-year software maintenance agreement
IBM PureFlex System services 9×5 hardware warranty with one microcode analysis service annually 24×7 technical support with one microcode analysis annually, and 9×5 account advocate services 24x7x4 technical support with two microcode analyses annually, and 24×7 account advocate services

PureApplication System

IBM PureApplication System offers platform as a service (PaaS). This is optimized and pre-integrated for a traditional or cloud environment. This platform has been designed and tuned for transactional web and database applications and provides a superior IT economics. PureApplication Systems can be easily managed, deployed, safeguarded and customized. Now let us look at some of the unique features.

  1. IBM PureApplication System utilizes unique patterns of expertise. There are three different kinds of IBM patterns of expertise:
    1. Application patterns
    2. Platform patterns
    3. Infrastructure patterns
  1. Infrastructure and platform patterns are built-in features of the system. Platform and application patterns can be either created by the users to suit their requirements or added to the system from a catalogue of patterns by IBM and partners.
  1. Some of the key benefits of PureApplication System are:
    1. PureApplication System can facilitate 20 to 30 times faster deployment time due to preintegrated deployment patterns.
    2. Infrastructure management cost and time can reduced up to 35 to 55 percent.
    3. Number of unplanned outages can be reduced by up to 90 percent or more by leveraging best practices and automation of manual processes identified as “outage culprits.”
    4. Built-in application elasticity allows scaling up or down automatically.

PureData System

We have been noticing that digital data has been growing at a staggering rate. IBM PureData System has been optimized and designed for delivery data services to cope with the demands from applications and consumers of the data and to provide simplicity, speed and lower cost. So what is unique about this new family member? Let’s look at some of the features.

  1. PureData System demonstrates the property “built-in expertise” by providing
    1. Built-in best practices for each workload
    2. Automated pattern-based deployment and management of reliable and scalable database services
  1. Optimized hardware, storage and software capabilities demonstrate “integration by design.” One such example is the use of Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) for data filtering. This patented technology allows ultra-fast execution of analytic queries without the need of indices.
  1. PureData System facilitates “Simplified experience” by providing
    1. An integrated system without any need for assembly
    2. Interoperability with third-party software
    3. Unified management console
    4. Integrated system upgrades and maintenance
  1. PureData System comes in two flavors:
    1. PureData System for Transaction: this is designed and tuned for transactional data workloads
    2. PureData System for Analytics: this is designed and optimized for analytics and big data

In future blogs, I will focus on detailed technical information of each of the products in action.

Shamim Hossain is an experienced technical team leader and project manager leading a number of complex and global projects with involvement in the full project lifecycle ranging from planning, analysis, design, test and build through to deployment. He is an IBM Certified Cloud Solution Advisor and Cloud Solution Architect. You can reach him on Twitter @shamimshossain.

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2 Responses to IBM PureSystems Unleashed

  1. Steve says:

    With the exception of access, in the view of the user, what is the difference between cloud computing and what we use to call “main frame computing”?

  2. Shamim says:

    Hi Steve, thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I would like to quote essential characteristics from the definition of NIST for the purpose of this discuss. Cloud is an IT service delivery model which displays “on-demand self-service”, “broad network access”, “resource pooling”, “rapid elasticity” and “measured service”. Cloud can be built on a variety of IT infrastructures, e.g., x86 server, System P or even mainframes. Mainframe can be the underpinning technology for cloud computing. We also call this underpinning technology infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Simply put, cloud computing is a new IT delivery model utilizing Internet, whereas mainframe is one of the cloud service models (IaaS). I have found a wonderful IBM Redpaper on cloud on System Z. The link is I hope you will find it interesting. You might also be interested to read about IBM zEnterprise EC12, a purpose-built mainframe for cloud computing (

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