IBM has announced an enhanced strategy to help clients maximize benefits of virtualization with integrated service management by focusing on four key priorities: consolidation, management, automation and optimized delivery.
The data center's boundaries are expanding beyond traditional IT assets to include physical assets embedded with intelligent technology such as building facilities, water mains and office equipment (see IBM's announcement on Smarter Buildings). Digital data is expected to grow tenfold from 2007 to 2011, and more than one trillion devices will be connected to the internet by 2011.
"As the complexity of data centers is growing, it becomes critical to establish good practices of integrated service management. It allows improvements in service, a reduction in costs and the ability to better manage risks," states Helene Armitage, general manager, IBM System Software. "By offering a cohesive portfolio to manage an infrastructure, IBM is helping clients create the infrastructure for smarter buildings, cities, utilities, offices, transportation systems and operations in every industry around the world."
The consolidation of workloads from multiple servers to fewer larger ones, is enabled by hypervisor software, and is the first step in any virtualization process. IBM offers full support for a range of x86 virtualization platforms. In addition, for consolidation on advanced platforms IBM can support thousands of "virtual machines" on Power and System z platforms through IBM System Software products including PowerVM and zVM. The key to the consolidation phase of IBM's virtualization strategy is helping clients avoid vendor lock in by being hypervisor-neutral, and as such, IBM System Software designed for the next phases of virtualization can work with a broad range of hypervisors from multiple vendors.
Management, the next step in virtualization adoption, helps clients develop a "single pane of glass" view to manage their entire virtualized infrastructure, including servers, storage and networking technologies. To help customers better manage infrastructures, IBM offers products including IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Images. The software helps IT staff manage and maintain all application and server images-virtual and physical-from a single interface. As more companies use virtualization-such as KVM, VMware, Hyper-V and Xen-the ability to discover, capture, store and deploy virtual images and physical server images from a single repository is critical. Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Images helps reduce labor costs, reduces "image sprawl," and builds a foundation for cloud computing.
Automation, the next step, allows systems, storage and networking technologies to dynamically sense and respond to peaks and other shifts in work load demands. Specific workloads can be sent to workload optimized servers tuned for specific purpose. In the event of a system failure or power outage, a properly automated data center based on virtualization can shift workloads to back up servers or disaster recovery centers. Automation can also reduce the time it takes to deploy new application, or make changes to existing applications from days or weeks to hours or minutes. The final step, optimized delivery, is designed to take advantage of emerging delivery models, including cloud computing that is unconstrained by physical barriers or location. This allows business data from applications or business services to be accessed when and where it is needed.
Later this year, IBM will begin to introduce additional hardware, software and services to help clients maximize the potential benefits from virtualization.