IBM has announced workload-optimized systems to help companies manage a range of more demanding workloads that are placing new stresses on already over-taxed data centers.  

The offerings, which span IBM's systems portfolio, represent IBM's continued investment in systems integrated and optimized across chips, hardware and software, for a range of work at a time when companies face unprecedented amounts of data and are under pressure to become more efficient in managing and drawing timely insights from the information.

The new systems include: A new offering for the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX), IBM's systems design that allows workloads on mainframe servers and other select systems to share resources and be managed as a single, virtualized system; and key new Storage and System x products, which can bring radical new levels of efficiency to the data center.

The new products from IBM reflect the market reality that new business requirements and economic pressures are driving changes in the way systems are designed, data is managed and analyzed, and IT is delivered and consumed. The systems can bring new levels of data center efficiency to help clients achieve better systems management, faster deployment, and quicker response times for critical workloads.

The offerings include:

zEnterprise System: The zBX has added support for IBM WebSphere® DataPower® Integration Appliance XI50 for zEnterprise. The DataPower XI50z is a workload-optimized appliance that helps data and applications on different servers to communicate regardless of the type of platform. It does this by processing XML and Web services protocols so that data can be understood and used by all types of servers -- an increasing need as customers strive to obtain a single, comprehensive view of their entire business scattered across various types of disconnected servers in the data center. When integrated with zBX, the DataPower XI50z can offer up to 23 times (1) better price/performance compared to competitive systems. When integrated with zBX, it can be managed as a single system with in the zEnterprise System. The appliance complements other supported zBX systems, such as select POWER7 Blades and IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer.

Storage: The new IBM Storwize Rapid Application Storage (RAS) solution combines the recently introduced IBM Storwize V7000 with powerful management software (Tivoli Storage Productivity Center and Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager) and implementation services delivered by IBM or an IBM Business Partner. The integrated offering can help improve storage efficiency, simplifying administrative tasks such as setup and management. Compared to traditional storage offerings, it can be implemented in half the time (2) and delivers up to 90 percent reduction in downtime associated with backing up data for software such as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Exchange (3). This can enable clients to improve availability of their business critical applications to more quickly analyze and make sense of data. IBM Business Partners participate by selling the bundled hardware and software with their implementation services. IBM offers incentives to its Business Partners who sell the solution (4).

IBM introduced the IBM Storwize V7000 midrange storage system in October 2010 and the systems sold out in the fourth quarter, with IBM shipping more than 1,000 systems to customers. IBM announced that the Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology at the University of Leipzig, Germany, selected the Storwize V7000 to manage the torrent of data flowing into its organization so it can be swiftly delivered for workloads like genetic research.

System x: IBM announced a new, ready-to-deploy, pre-configured eX5 Blade System for database applications.

The new Workload Optimized Blade for Database is designed to help companies take the guesswork and hassle out of configuring systems for database-intensive workloads in healthcare and financial services, where companies are grappling to manage growing amounts of "Big Data." New types of information -- voice recordings, web video, photos, etc. -- and growing numbers of transaction-oriented workloads require additional memory, reliable solid-state drives, and virtual fabric to tailor the server for applications which need to transact with large, distributed databases.

System Networking: IBM is also announcing offerings from Blade Network Technologies (BNT), the company that IBM acquired in October 2010 that specializes in Ethernet switches and software that route data and transactions to and from servers, storage and networks. The offerings include two top-of-rack Ethernet switches that will be closely integrated with IBM servers and storage to support dynamic workloads that require high-speed and low-latency performance, such as cloud computing, business analytics and high performance computing (HPC).

Over the past two years, IBM has expanded its networking business through relationships with leading networking companies. The BNT acquisition helps IBM bring system networking products to its clients, complementing core networking offerings from leading providers.