Converged Infrastructure: What are its benefits and is it right for your company

Choosing an infrastructure that will meet everyone’s wants and needs within a company can be a very daunting task. If this seems like the number 1 problem on your list, then a Converged Infrastructure might be the solution you should be looking into.

Do these issues sound familiar to you?

  1. Employees want to be able to access their data when they need it and from whichever device they choose.
  2. IT admins are interested in a more simplified infrastructure management solution so they can focus on core business needs rather than spending their days managing existing data.
  3. IT Directors/Mangers are looking for consolidated systems that are secure, reliable and also meet SLAs. They would also like these systems to increase productivity and reduce operating costs.
  4. CIO’s are interested in cost efficient, compliant and “always on” environments that reduce risks and costs.

So how would a converged infrastructure solve all these issues? Well, lets start with what it actually is. A “converged infrastructure” is when you group multiple IT components into a single, optimized package. These components would be servers, storage, networking, and software all inside one box, together. Many different manufactures are offering these packaged systems today, such as IBM and HP, and they can optimize them to meet your specific requirements and workloads.

So what are the benefits?

  • Simplified and Centralized Management : Manage your infrastructure as a whole. Eliminate the need to manage each piece separately which only increases administration costs and management complexity. Personnel requirements, training and knowledge will be reduced while management becomes streamlined and simplified.
  • Consolidated system: since this infrastructure will be multiple systems in one, it will lower your need to purchase dedicated, single use components and also reduced the number of maintenance contracts in your data center. This will cut down on the overall number of components you manage and also on your operational and capital expenses.
  • Reduce Costs: By reducing your IT footprint you will also be reducing costs for power, cooling and cabling.
  • Maximize Productivity : Deploying a Converged Infrastructure will allow you to combine all those different siloes of data and use them more efficiently than ever before. It will also allow (now extra) administrators to focus their attention on adding value to the business with other IT initiatives rather than focusing on managing each siloed component in the data center.
  • Less Risk: A Converged Infrastructure has many automated features which helps to minimize human error. CI can also reduce risk to business continuity through high availability and reliability. There are also less disruptive upgrades and scaling up and/or out are easy and welcomed tasks.

Ultimately, a converged infrastructure solution is less expensive, easier to use, and more flexible than traditional management approaches. These are only a few of the many benefits of implementing a converged infrastructure. Eliminate the challenge of purchasing servers, storage and networks separately and all the time trying to get them to work together. With a CI, this task is done ahead of time, before it even gets to your door. A CI is easier to install, deploy, update and manage and also optimizes performance, minimizes cost and maximizes your overall performance.

So what solution is best for you? There are many different vendors offering Converged Solutions in today’s market, contact us today so we can architect a solution that fits your exact requirements to make sure your company performs well into the future.

 

IBM’s Sale to Lenovo : What does it all mean?

Ever since IBM’s Announcement back on January 23, 2014 , we’ve had oodles of clients asking us what the sale entails and what it specifically means to them. Well to put it frankly, right now it doesn’t mean much of anything. Until this deal is finalized (projected Q4 2014) , IBM is continuing business as usual.

IBM has never been able to conquer the “low cost” manufacturing and supply chain techniques. Lenovo however, has worked wonders with their strategies, increasing their revenues by 15% in Q3 of 2013 on their last buy from IBM, IBM PC’s. Lenovo’s plan is to do this again with the X server line.

Why? Big Blue knows that Lenovo can leverage their supply chain skills and lower-cost manufacturing to repeat the success they had with the PC market,  with the  X86 servers, in the end, hopefully resulting in better pricing for X86 customers.

  Slide 1

 

So what does this sale actually include?

Lenovo will acquire

  • System x racks and towers
  •  x86 BladeCenter
  • x86 Flex System blade servers and integrated systems
  • IBM NeXtScale
  • System X6 high-end servers
  • plus associated switching and maintenance operations on the above products as well as software that uniquely supports x86 such as FastSetup, ToolsCenter, Upward Integration Modules, and Blade Center Manager

 

IBM will retain

  • System z mainframes
  •  Power Systems, Storage, Power-based Flex servers
  •  PureApplication
  • PureData Systems

IBM will also retain ownership of the system software that supports both the x86 and IBM Power® server businesses (cross-brand) such as  IBM Systems Director and IBM Flex System Manager.

IBM will also continue to develop and evolve its Windows and Linux software portfolio for the x86 platform

 So what will happen with maintenance agreements that existing clients already have with IBM?

Following the closing of the transaction (estimated Q4 2014) eligible in-scope maintenance agreements will be assigned to Lenovo. Lenovo will then be responsible for related customer service and maintenance options and will also sell maintenance for x86 products. IBM will continue to provide Technical Support Services (TSS), including warranty service, hardware maintenance, software support for x86, and around-the-clock support for critical issues, as required by Lenovo’s clients, under the terms of a five-year maintenance services agreement with Lenovo

IBM’s main goal is to limit any changes to their customers, one way they plan to do this is by having their  7,500 employees of the System x Division move over to Lenovo. This will include service and support personnel as well as those who work in development, sales and marketing, finance, legal, supply chain, operations, manufacturing, and IT. This will help maintain IBM’s consistency in service and support.

Slide 1

So contractually Lenovo will own the relationship with you, but IBM will still provide the same support as they always have so customers will not see a change in maintenance support.  For all x86 customers, IBM’s services mission statement remains the same “to provide superior technical support and services for all x86 clients including complimentary services to our standard warranty clients.” Lenovo knows devices and IBM knows services, so this really is a strategic partnership that should please new, as well as existing customers.

The two companies will operate independently until the deal is completed later this year. And after that, the two companies will work together to sell combinations of Lenovo and IBM hardware and IBM software into current enterprise accounts. Lenovo will be responsible for related customer service and maintenance options and will sell maintenance for x86 products. IBM will continue to provide Technical Support Services (TSS), including warranty service, hardware maintenance, software support for x86, and around-the-clock support for critical issues, as required by Lenovo’s clients, under the terms of a five-year maintenance services agreement with Lenovo.

Slide 1

Will this announcement affect how I buy x86 offerings from IBM Business Partners?

After the close of the transaction, IBM will assign business partner agreements for in-scope products to Lenovo. These Business Partners will be able to continue to resell the in-scope products that Lenovo will acquire with this agreement.

 

Have any specific questions about this sale and how it directly affects your X86 products? Contact us anytime at kmartir@metrotsg.com

Increase your ROI with Servergy

As an IT Solutions Provider, we are always looking for innovative companies to partner with so we can offer our clients the most cutting edge technology that will specifically fit their current needs. Servergy is one of these companies. Servergy has decided to replace the very hot, heavy, and power hungry servers that are currently operating in the global data center marketplace today by bringing in a new breed of servers with space saving, Hyper Efficient,  Clean, and cutting edge technology.

Servergy’s servers are engineered from the ground up with their own patented Cleantech Architecture on top of the mature, scalable and data center proven Power Architecture. It replaces the power-hungry servers that are currently operating in the data centers today and provides you with a device with extremely high I/O, high density and high scalability solutions for your enterprise. The Cleantech Server literally pays for itself by dramatically reducing the Total Cost of Acquisition ,Operating Costs and Total Cost of Ownership, maximizing overall data center ROI and payback.

So How does Servergy allow you to save so much?

·       Saves Space: Increases compute density up to 16x  compared to traditional server technology.
·       Improves Throughput: Provides 16x the I/0 bandwidth density compared to traditional server technology.
·       Hyper-Efficient: Servergy’s new Cleantech ArchitectureTM reduces power, cooling, space, weight, water and carbon footprint by up to 80% or more.
·       Pays For Itself: For every $1 spent, the Cleantech Server returns up to $5 back in three years or less.
·       Highly Scalable: Cloud, big data, caching and distributed storage solutions.
·       Proven Architecture: Based on mature, scalable and data center-proven Power Architecture®.

Historically each new server added to your data center would need additional floor space, power, cooling, network interfaces, data storage and admin. All these factors can obviously increase costs in an array of other arrays such as maintenance, energy and administrative overhead. The Servergy Cleantech Server allows scale out software architectures to expand without additional power. Cleantech servers are able to provide power to run real data center workloads in the power envelope of most “processors and CPUs” in industry standard servers running scale out applications. This makes Servegry’s Cleantech Architecture the perfect platform for deployment of scale out distributed applications.

Servergy

Servergy’s Clean Tech servers also have a lot of other benefits as well:

–          Ability to mount on standard racks quickly and easily

–          Bandwidth to support the growing demands of today’s data center

–          Industry Leading performance-per-watt PowerLinux server uses under 130 watts at full load (1 watt of power saved at the server equals 3 watts of power saved at the data center )

–          Increases I/O and compute density up to 16x

–          Patented energy optimization technology enables the server to improve performance and energy efficiency

–          The Servergy proprietary power supply offers a high reliability and efficiency

–          Leveraging KVM virtualization and unique memory mappings technology, we are able to run 8 or more virtual machines per server. Increasing VM density by nearly 2x per 1U

–          Storage capabilities includes 4 bays/2.5” SATA (HDD or SSD) FOR UP TO 4Tbs of RAW storage internally and up to 960 Tbs of RAW storage with external attached SAS drawers

–          Up to 4 internal solid state drives optimize high I/O access applications to improve performance, throughput and response time.

–          Servergy is part of the Open compute project

–          Made in the US

Servergy stands out not only because of their cutting edge Clean Technology, but also because they are a solution minded company.

What problems are you trying to solve? Power? Cooling? Space? Weight?

What are the results you are trying to achieve?

Servergy believes that there is no “once size fits all” solution. They are sensitive to investments already made by your company, and believe in providing an ROI focused solution.

Servergy brings a great deal of experience in clean and green technology that allows hyper-efficient scale out to the OpenStack community. Its contributions will enable data centers and enterprises to boost IT performance and overcome the growing power and space constraints that are challenging the industry today, globally. So check them out, and as always if you have any questions at all, send them on over to kmartir@metrotsg.com

* New * IBM X6 Server Line : What can it do for YOUR business?

On January 16th, IBM announced several technology breakthroughs. For the last 10 years IBM has held an Annual study gathering input from over 400,000 leaders around the world. This year these leaders have agreed that technology has the strongest influence on their business strategy. Not only is it important anymore to be able to deal with issues once they occur, but a successful business needs to be able to anticipate these issues and prevent them from happening.

The first major announcement at the January 16th event, was that of the new X6 server line. This is the 6th generation of the X architecture system and it will redefine x86 computing. The X6 line is Fast, agile, and resilient. Specializing in ERP, Business analytics databases and virtualization.

The new line will be able to run mission critical applications with extreme uptime and scalability, meaning you will be able to service or upgrade any part without having to take the server out of its rack. It will make deploying a virtualized environment easier by  – rapidly analyzing , managing and sharing data seamlessly.  X86’s challenge was its ability to manage , virtualize and deliver larger workloads to the cloud, but with x6, that has now become a thing of the past.

What’s new with the X6 IBM Server Line :

FAST :

eXFLASH Memory channel storage is an industry first , offering superior performance.

Enhnanced Memory options: IBM Flashcache Storage accelerator software , clients can benefit from highly advanced intelligent caching that autonomically detects and optimizes the data you use most. Making it easier and faster for you to access your most important information.

WriteNow Enhancement: Gives you the ability to write data faster

Direct Data accelerator: provides user with choice on how data is accessed depending on data IO loads

AGILE:

Module design : lower present and future acquisition costs by continuously leveraging the latest technology . X6 Will support 3 generations of technology in the same server AND you will be able to upgrade to the new technology seamlessly without having to even remove your server from the rack.

Extreme Uptime:

Same serial number – scale easily now and upgrade efficiently in the future while maintaining continuus uptime

Resilient self healing technology- proactively identifies potential failures and then takes necessary steps to correct them

Overall, the new X6 server line will allow you to deploy larger mission critical workloads into virtualized private, public or hybrid cloud environments, dramatically increase compute and IO performance, lower latency and innovation in memory and storage. With its Fast, Agile and Resilient new infrastructure it will provide you with unmatched storage performance and capacity that will provide your business with a great competitive advantage.

Questions? Comments? We’re always excited to hear them! Feel free to send them on over to kmartir@metrotsg.com

Improve your Business-critical Application performance – DRAMATICALLY

In Business, timing is everything, especially for Business-critical applications. A variety of applications fall under the rubric of “business critical.”

They include: business intelligence (BI), online transaction processing (OLTP), online analytical processing (OLAP), virtual desktop infrastructures, high-performance computing and content delivery solutions.

All of these critical applications have one thing in common: the need for rapid response times to ensure delivery of content that is vital to management, employees, customers and other key business partners

Delays in delivering critical data can mean the difference between a healthy, growing company and one that is struggling to keep pace with its competitors.

Delays can cause :

–       Poor decision making and subpar results because of the inability to gain times insight into a business

–       Decrease in the ability to predict accurate outcomes

–       Customer dissatisfaction because you are unable to deliver the information your customer wants when they want it

–       Unmanageable volumes

–       Frustrated users and missed opportunities

In the past the solution to addressing latency issues would typically be to add or upgrade processing and memory power. In many cases it is storage side performance not processor speed or insufficient memory, which is the main cause of the application performance issues.

When the CPU has to wait on info from storage, time and resources are wasted, and since here has been such growth in terms of raw CPU processing power, those waits have become longer and longer.

The processing powers of today’s CPUs far outstrip the speed in which the HDDs can deliver data to them . This HUGE performance gap is mostly seen by database servers, which are typically very high in I/O transaction, and to add to the problem, money is being wasted on super-fast processors and massive amounts of bandwidth in attempts to speed up the delivery of data.

What about adding more disks? By increasing the number of disks, the I/O from a database can be spread across more physical devices, but unfortunately this approach has show to have a trivial impact on decreasing the HDD bottleneck.

There are many other ways to attempt to fix the delays in performance, but only one can completely solve it.

IBM Flash Systems

Flash storage systems are solid state devices designed to solve the problem of I/O wait time by offering orders-of-magnitude-faster access times and lower-latency I/O transactions per second than a hard disk drive. These storage systems can either complement or replace traditional hard disk arrays in many business-critical applications, including ERP systems, transactional databases and analytical applications such as BI. And because of new technology and improved economics, it is now possible to build storage systems based entirely on flash memory.

 So what’s the difference between HDD SSD and Flash?

HDD: hard disk drive, moving parts

SSD: solid state disk, no moving parts BUT SSD’s use traditional infrastructure connections and controllers that were designed for hard disk drives and their high latency and low throughput limitations.

Flash : no moving parts, a hardware-only data path, more traditional types of SSD storage often require software processing.

IBM Flash systems are designed from the chip up, using fast FPGA controller technology to minimize latency and maximize bandwidth. (FPGA or Field-programmable gate array , technology provides the reliability of dedicated hardware circuitry, true parallel execution, and lightning-fast closed-loop control performance.

So what does it all mean? How does Flash perform when compared to HDD’s

The latest flash storage systems minimize I/O wait time by delivering access times that are 250 times faster than HDDs (0.2 milliseconds versus 5). And because of the faster access times, flash storage systems can deliver 1,333 times more IOPS than a hard disk drive (more than 400,000 IOPS versus 300). These improvements can result in a dramatic decrease in storage-driven latency.

flash cost per IOPS

flash capacity comparison

flash energy savings

flash speed to deployment

flash IOPS per rack comparison

Impressed yet?

FlashSystem storage systems deliver over 500,000 read IOPS with less than 100 microseconds of latency and can provide up to 24 TB of usable data storage in just 1U of rack space. They also offer enterprise-level availability and reliability with no single point of failure, multiple layers of data correction, chip redundancy or redundant hot swap components.

IBM FlashSystem products are designed to deliver the lowest latency and highest IOPS in the market today, all within a very economical price point.

In Addition to all their technical advantages, they also have numerous economic benefits when compared to HDD:

All-flash solutions also use far less energy than comparable HDD systems, reducing energy costs by as much as 75%.

–       Software licensing costs are 50% lower with IBM FlashSystem compared to HDD

–        IBM FlashSystem reduces floor space significantly and generates energy savings of as much as 75% as compared to HDD

–        Operational support costs with flash are 35% lower than with HDD

–        Total storage solution cost for an all-flash system is 31% less than it is for an all-HDD solution

So In Summary, what are the top reasons to implement an IBM FlashSystem

  1. IBM FlashSystem products deliver over 500,000 read IOPS with less than 100 microseconds of latency
  2. Lower power consumption: 115 times more energy efficient than HDD
  3. Lower infrastructure costs: 1U of rack space can provide up to 24TB of usable data storage : 19x times more cost efficient than HDD
  4. Improve performance and efficiency without re-architecting applications or storage infrastructure
  5. Save money by supplementing your existing infrastructure
  6. No Single Point of Failure
  7. Decrease overall response time = Increase accurate Business Insights and Customer Satisfaction
  8. Increase efficiency and use across the IT stack
  9. Improve storage performance
  10. Eliminate storage bottlenecks with IBM MicroLatency

Want more information on how to get Flash Technology into your IT environment? Contact us today! kmartir@metrotsg.com

Is Your Company ready for the Future of IT?

Is your Company ready for the future of IT?

Today we are in a shift of technology driving growth and innovation. Cloud, analytics, social business and mobile are not only remaking the way we compute, but they are remaking BUSINESS. 1.2 billion mobile employees and 1.2 smartphones are expected by 2014, that’s just NEXT YEAR, is your business ready for this??! This new era brings the opportunity for all companies to reshape the value of their data that they deliver. But there are many factors to still consider: Cost , complexity and risk and just a few, but they are big ones!

IBM believes Smarter computing is the answer. Smarter Computing is a strategy leveraging cloud to speed up time to market and improve efficiency. Smarter computing unlocks the power of big data and delivers game changing insights, as well as helps secure critical data , reducing risk and enhancing compliance

— Watch the video below for a quick overview —

smarter computing

This “Smarter Computing”  isn’t something IBM just started working on, but it is something your company should be looking into.

  • Are you currently able to holster and take advantage of all the information coming in from your social media websites, customer databases, or even your own business process data?
  • Are you currently able to deploy mobile employees without any risk? Are you having trouble maintain compliance with the ever changing compliance regulations?
  •  Have you taken advantage of the power of virtualization and the cloud?

Businesses of ALL sizes are able to take advantage of smarter computing. Large enterprises are  looking to “do more with less”, leveraging virtualization and cloud computing as much as possible, while smaller enterprises try to “keep it simple”.

IBM’s Power systems have been at the forefront of innovation and technology for a while now, with their technology at the heart of Industry changing machines like Mar’s Rovers, BlueGene , and of course IBM Watson.  Watson is now evolving its technology to be usable in industries like Finance, customer service and Healthcare . But still, how can a small/midsized business take advantage of this technology? They certainly don’t have the means, or even the need to go out and buy a “Supercomputer”.

IBM has considered this, and just recently launched the Power 760 Server. This server is designed for consolidated and virtualized workloads.

This new power system has been designed to address 3 key customer challenges:

  1. Improve efficiency to focus more on business growth : designed to further leverage POWER VM virtualization for cloud, with power vm you get double the number of virtual machines per core, helping to improve the utilization and system efficiency while maintaining the service levels of vital business applications.
  2. Optimized for business critical workloads: Automatic Optimization of virtual machines across the system.Optimized for use of high performance SSD, Cognos and SPSS .
  3. Helps cut the cost of compliance by utilizing the policy based templates in Power SE software.

There are so many amazing benefits of the new Power 760, from its incredible capacity to its processing power, and of course the fact that your business can implement this technology into its own environment.

To view more details click HERE to watch the full announcement or Register to attend IBM’s Innovate to Accelerate Your Business Event in NYC on March 13th  HERE

Hope to see you there! And as always if you have any questions or just want to chat please email us at kmartir@metrotsg.com