Today in Cloud

IBM is taking a third crack at a converged infrastructure product, or “cloud in a box”, and the latest name for it is PureSystems. It took three years and $2 billion to develop it, evidenced by the previous two attempts. IBM unveiled WebSphere Cloudburst in April 2009, a “cloud in a box” that provided a pre-installed and pre-configured set of software, server, network, storage and QuickStart services to “help you take the guess work out of establishing a private cloud,” according to IBM’s press release at the time. Two years later it was renamed IBM Workload Deployer, the WebSphere language removed as the new version supported third party software, not just WebSphere. The latest box does away with the older blade system architecture for a redesigned converged chassis. And in addition to IBM applications, over 100 ISVs shared their expertise to help create a broad “Virtual Appliance Repository” for delivering apps, according to IBM. It’s not clear what all those applications are at this stage. The first two models in the PureSystems family are PureFlex and PureApplication, which IBM positioned as IaaS and PaaS respectively (both systems share the same hardware architecture). They will compete with the well-established VCE vBlock from VMware, Cisco and EMC, as well as converged platforms from HP, Dell and Oracle. There’s no doubt IBM’s top two hundred customers that spend millions of dollars a year with the company will take a look at PureSystems, but you have to wonder what the window of time is for these converged infrastructure boxes, when low-cost cloud computing is readily available, and whether IBM has left it too late to get this product right.

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