The way IT services are provided is changing. A decade or so ago, if you wanted to deploy a server application you would set up a physical piece of server hardware, load the operating system, install the application, and then run it. You could take steps to ensure the server remained up and running with redundant disk arrays, redundant power supplies, and backup mirror hardware that you could switch to in the event of an emergency. But even if you were setting things up remotely, you would still be addressing a specific piece of hardware and installing on that, and this would need to be procured specially for the purpose. This would almost certainly involve a lengthy purchase order process, even if it was a transaction between departments.
Since the advent of virtualisation, however, the link between the server hardware and the software running on it has become less direct. A powerful piece of multi-processor hardware can handle multiple server environments at once, independently, and these can be heterogeneous. More than one copy of Windows, Linux and Unix can run side-by-side, and you can restart one without affecting the others. But there is even greater potential from virtualisation. With its ability to load environments dynamically, virtualisation means that IT service provisioning can be turned into a much more fluid, single-click affair. Wouldn't it be great if, instead of just loading one of a small number of fixed boot images, you could configure an environment at a much more granular level? For example, you could choose not just the operating system and main applications, but which versions to use, which database connections, and other options with a few mouse clicks.
This is where IBM's PureSystems comes in. Using a combination of specialised hardware and configuration scripts called Patterns, PureSystems provides much greater flexibility than any previous system. You can create a unique combination of operating system, application and data connection for your company's needs, and provision this with a few clicks and in a matter of minutes. In the following video, IBM's Chief Strategy Officer for PureSystems, John Warnants, explains the basis of the PureSystems platform. In future articles and videos, we will be going into more depth about the PureSystems family of products and its unique Patterns approach to server and application deployment.