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May 22, 2014

IBM Finds Less than 10 Percent of Enterprises Ready for Digital Future, Unveils New Solutions to Address IT Needs

You are going to have to wait until July to get the complete results, but the release of the preliminary results of a recent IBM (News - Alert) study are food for thought, and maybe for concern.  At the IBM Edge2014 conference, the company released preliminary findings from its forthcoming study, IT Infrastructure Matters.”  Based on detailed interview with 750 global organizations, as the headline says, the big finding was that less than 10 percent of respondents are fully prepared to address the proliferation of cloud computing, analytics, mobile devices and social media.  In short, all of the major technology trends are already having significant impact on the way IT services are delivered and consumed.  

According to the preliminary study:

  • 70 percent of organizations recognize that IT infrastructure plays a significant role in enabling competitive advantage or generating revenue.
  •  46 percent of respondents said they face challenges with efficiently and securely moving large amounts of data between one geography and another. 
  • Another 43 percent report challenges with maintaining a secure environment.
  •  43 percent also say they face constraints with the ability to cut costs and improve efficiencies in their global storage environment.
  • Despite the stated importance of IT infrastructure, only 22 percent of companies surveyed have a well-defined enterprise IT infrastructure strategy roadmap.

Getting ready for change

Ahead of the release of the study, IBM is touting that it is addressing this lack of preparedness “head-on” with the unveiling of new systems, software and capabilities designed to help organizations create smarter infrastructures that yield faster access to Big Data insights through the cloud and improved business performance.

“Big Data is the transformative force driving every element of our clients’ computing infrastructure – starting with environments of traditional applications blended with the new requirements of social, mobile and analytic workloads that demand faster access at massive scale,” said Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President of IBM Systems & Technology Group and IBM Integrated Supply Chain. “The continued advances of our portfolio provide clients with a fast and easy way to close the gap between their data, the business decisions they have to make, and the mandate to use information to provide more personalized experiences for their customers.”

New Storage Advances for Fast Data Access

Building on IBM’s recent Software Defined Storage launch, in which IBM announced new software that enables organizations to access any data from any device and from anywhere in the world, the company announced new and enhanced capabilities across its storage portfolio.

It is a comprehensive set of capabilities.  Available in the second quarter, new high-performance storage solutions include:

  • IBM Storwize V7000 Unified:  enhanced with new clustering capabilities, Real-time Compression, and Active Cloud Engine to help clients manage growing amounts of data. The system now supports two times the storage capacity of previous models, or 4 petabytes.  
  • IBM XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers:  delivers a cost-efficient infrastructure and pay-per-use pricing model for Business Partners that reduces the initial cost of the system by as much as 40 percent.  IBM also previewed new features such as XIV multi-tenancy, enhanced data security and improved cloud economics through the partition of XIV storage into logical domains assigned to distinct tenants.
  • TS4500 Tape Library: enables large-scale cloud deployments with a data architecture that maintains high utilization and can back up three times more cloud data in the same footprint.
  • IBM DS8870 Flash enclosure: offers up to three and one-half times faster flash performance requiring 50 percent less space and 12 percent less energy.

In related storage news, scientists at IBM Research - Zurich, in cooperation with the FUJIFILM Corporation of Japan, announced they have successfully demonstrated 85.9 billion bits per square inch, a new record in real data density on low-cost linear magnetic particulate tape’.

New IBM Flex System X6 Compute Nodes for Fast, Agile (News - Alert), Resilient Infrastructure

In recognition of emerging customer requirements for greater speed, agility and resiliency for the Big Data, analytics and large-scale virtualization, IBM also introduced its new:

  • IBM Flex System x880 X6 eight-socket, x480 X6 four-socket, and x280 X6 two-socket compute nodes. Based on IBM's  X6 architecture for System x and PureSystems solutions, the new nodes include modular blade design that enables seamless scalability without “rip and replace” as analytic workloads increase; nearly 300 percent faster performance; and resiliency features and virtualization tools that can help reduce the cost and complexity of system operation and administration. The Flex System X6 compute nodes planned availability is June 13, 2014 and start at $15,700 (US) or $388 (US) per month for 36 months [2].
  • IBM System x3100 M5, a new, compact tower server designed to provide advanced reliability and performance for small to mid-sized businesses and distributed environments. The x3100 M5 is equipped with the latest Intel (News - Alert) Xeon E3-1200v3 processors for increased performance, and four levels of RAID for enhanced data protection. The System x3100 M5 planned availability is June 18, 2014 and starts at $755 (US).
  • IBM PureFlex Solution for Parallels – MSP, designed to allow managed service providers to flexibly integrate Web, IaaS, SaaS (News - Alert), and core services for their clients quickly, efficiently and economically on the Parallels Automation software platform. The PureFlex Solution for Parallels – MSP is available today.

As part of the announcement  IBM also highlighted a customized storage solution it has recently implemented for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Houston’s premier multi-specialty medical group practice and the nation’s first accredited Accountable Care Organization, and flexible offers from the IBM Global Financing arm to help customers finance new solutions and dispose of legacy ones.

It has been no secret that IBM has been in the position of playing catch-up in recent years in providing solutions in many of the areas its study revealed are ones where its customers are struggling as well. With the preview of all of its new releases, nicely timed for the availability of the full study, you have to appreciate the orchestration of the announcements.  

In fact, of the major pillars of data center transformation—computing resources, storage and communications—it has revealed significant upgrades/enhancements in two of the three, and has emphasized the importance of Big Data and analytics for success. 

However, putting the solutions portfolio expansion aside, as noted at the top the study findings are to use a popular term, “concerning.”  There is no surprise in how important respondents believe having state-of-the-art IT infrastructure is to their organizations future. What is surprising, especially given the headlines about how fast the world is changing and the need for organizations to be more agile as well as more secure is the last point about how few have a well-defined enterprise IT infrastructure strategy roadmap.

In this regard, the release of the complete study results should be not just interesting reading, but hopefully will join other studies that articulate the need to accelerate IT transformation efforts as a call to action and a tool IT can use in discussions with upper management. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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