IBM calls PureSystems a managed services enabler

IBM PureSystems

IBM PureSystems

IBM’s PureSystems are designed to provide seamless, high-performance virtualized data centers that can support infrastructure, platforms and applications as a service. More than 10,000 PureSystems units have shipped since its introduction in 2012, driven mostly by the adoption and support of managed service providers and independent software vendors (ISVs).

The numbers are significant enough for IBM to tout them as proof that its cloud and cloud-enablement strategy is working. PureSystems is a family of products, including Flex System, PureFlex System, PureApplication System, and PureData System, for creating integrated, high-performance application optimized systems. IBM is making huge investments in developing and providing cloud providers and operators of virtualized environments with the tools to attain highly available and performing architectures.

In its announcement, IBM cites the adoption of PureSystems by enterprises and service providers around the world. And, it says, demand for support and remote operations through managed service providers – now totaling more than 2,200 strong – is driving continued and consistent growth for its PureSystems.

What’s interesting is not so much that PureSystems is gaining traction, but that IBM’s notion of a managed service provider is catching on.

In conventional terms, a MSP is a provider of remote monitoring and management services. Where equipment and applications reside inside the customer domain, the MSP sits on the outside and provides period, on-demand or persistent monitoring and response services. In other words, MSPs are the staff that doesn’t have to reside in the customer’s data center.

In 2011, IBM began pushing its notion of managed services as anything delivered remotely to the customer. In this context, a managed service encompasses everything from the conventional definition to the cloud services of even the largest providers.

The IBM managed services definition makes sense, in many ways. For years, the MSP community has fought the idea of managed and cloud services being one in the same. Cloud was something delivered by large vendors and service providers; managed services is the next-generation of the break/fix model.

The trend today is clearly weighted in a hybrid model in which hardware, software and services are the best route to market. The 2112 Group’s 2014 Channel Forecast found the number of managed service providers decreased significantly, while the number of cloud providers skyrocketed. Moreover, the number of self-identified VARs and systems integrators also increased. Services, particularly managed, are not going away, but rather becoming part of a portfolio delivered by solution providers.

PureSystems isn’t the definitive platform for integrated data centers or service delivery platforms; but it is providing evidence that services are the channel’s future in more ways than one.

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