Smarter computing for a smarter planet
Three years ago, IBM unveiled its vision of a Smarter Planet —an interconnected, intelligent, instrumented world in which information and services could be linked in new ways to create compelling new value.
Making that vision a reality, however, does involve rethinking the technological infrastructure, then pursuing a new approach. Many organizations are facing significant infrastructure challenges characterized by:
Smarter Computing: The IT infrastructure for a Smarter Planet
“Through a new approach which IBM calls Smarter Computing, successful enterprises are designing their IT infrastructure to create new opportunities. Smarter Computing enables an enterprise to overcome their challenges and double their capacity for IT service on a flat budget.”
Given this scenario, is there a general strategy that could be applied to deliver a superior outcome?
Through a new approach which IBM calls Smarter Computing, successful enterprises are designing their IT infrastructure to create new opportunities.
Smarter Computing enables an enterprise to overcome their challenges and double their capacity for IT service on a flat budget. Leading IT organizations can improve IT economics by reducing such costs as:
- Server costs by up to 56%
- Database costs by up to 68%
- Data center floor space by up to 90%
- Power consumption by up to 80%
Every dollar saved in this way can then be invested in strategic innovation designed to identify new trends, deliver new services, and create new markets.
How is this possible? Through Smarter Computing, a new approach that is:
Let's walk through the specifics.
Designed for data
Organizations today have access to an incredible amount of data, stemming from more sources and describing more resources, assets, services, users, and business processes, than ever before.
But often, that data isn’t used as effectively as it might be to make decisions or create strategies.
The traditional approach to data is structured, repeatable, and linear: data warehouses, monthly sales reports, profitability analyses, and customer surveys. What if this could be augmented to drive creativity and intuition in decision-making via a more holistic perspective of the business?
Accomplishing that, of course, will require a new approach to information itself. As information becomes available to the organization, it should be managed, integrated, and analyzed optimally—forming, in essence, an information supply chain that can be tapped to create many forms of new value.
Already, forward-looking IBM clients are pursuing this strategy with considerable success.
In one case, for instance, a financial services company looking to detect fraud more quickly and accurately was able to do so by comparing historical spending trends against individual transactions in real time.
Another organization was able to consolidate 23 million source records into 9 million unique accounts—saving $10 million per year while discovering new cross-selling opportunities. And a third, confronted by an imposing annual data growth rate of 30%, was able to reduce storage costs by more than 40%, thus netting $2 million in annual savings.
Tuned to the task
Today's IT infrastructures are often implemented via standardized architectures and solutions that don't deliver a truly optimized response to dynamic business challenges.
A better result will come from an architecture that's been carefully tailored to address specific workloads—optimized, in other words, to meet each workload’s specific requirements.
Creating such an optimized system, however, typically requires three elements:
IBM is exceptionally well positioned to help organizations match workloads to the right systems, thus fulfilling business goals in a more efficient and cost-efficient fashion.
Partly, this is due to IBM’s industry-leading range of hardware options. IBM system platforms range from the IBM zEnterprise mainframe to IBM Power Systems to IBM System x blades. All are supported via a similarly broad range of IBM Storage options, which deliver storage whenever and wherever it’s required by services while also reducing power, operating, and cooling costs by up to 60%.
IBM can also help organizations tune workloads via leading analytics capabilities implemented in a variety of ways—from client-built systems driving IBM database and application environments to IBM appliances that supply high performance and low costs for specific workloads.
And for organizations looking for logical starting points in the process of tuning workloads, IBM has identified multiple entry points based on common client needs. Among others, these include consolidating workloads (to reduce TCO for the infrastructure), current workload redeployment (to drive up service levels and overall performance), and new workload deployment (to roll out new services and meet demand in a scalable fashion).
An IBM client in banking recently pursued these ideas to considerable effect. Two hundred distributed servers were consolidated down to only four IBM System z mainframes, reducing technical staff workload by 85% and payment processing costs by 95%.
The annual savings? A staggering $400 million per year.
Managed in the cloud
No topic in enterprise IT has received as much attention in recent years as cloud. This is because cloud architectures are a great way to evolve the data center—significantly reducing operational costs while enhancing service delivery capabilities via deep automation and extensive virtualization.
From an IT standpoint, clouds represent a way to increase efficiency and security, accelerate service creation and rollout, and drive up service integration. And from a business standpoint, that means faster time to market, more opportunity to create a competitive distinction, and a closer alignment with changing customer needs, interests, and expectations—all required for business growth over time.
Clouds can also be implemented in a variety of delivery models—business process as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service. And, of course, clouds can be pursued via private, public, or hybrid options. Getting the best results from a cloud will require carefully matching the cloud model to the organization’s specific context and requirements.
When that happens, the results can be impressive. IBM clients that have implemented private clouds on IBM zEnterprise mainframes, for example, have seen incredible cost reductions compared to options from public cloud service providers. For light Intel-based workloads, for instance, TCO can fall by almost 90% in some cases.
Whatever an organization’s context, IBM can help it create the right cloud for that context. Entry points include:
Smarter Computing optimizations translate directly into real-world benefits
Many IBM clients have taken advantage of IBM’s cloud capabilities, solutions, and expertise to drive a superior business outcome—in some cases, a vastly superior outcome.
Consider, for instance, the telecommunications service provider that utilized IBM hardware, software, and service management solutions to drive average utilization from 5% all the way up to 60%. Service time-to-market—key to creating a competitive advantage in the telecom sector—fell from over three months to under three days. These substantial wins also come paired with an overall reduction in annual IT costs estimated at between 25% and 50% per year.
Equally impressive results have been experienced by an American financial services provider. This organization utilized IBM’s Cloudburst offering—a complete package of hardware, software, and integration/implementation services—to create a dramatically more efficient service delivery infrastructure. Provisioning time has fallen from an average of 45 days to an astonishingly low 20 minutes, and systems administrators who used to support only 50 physical servers now each support more than 600 virtual servers in the cloud.
In short, thanks to IBM Cloudburst, new services are far faster to create, and easier and less costly to manage, once they’re deployed. That’s smarter computing by almost any definition, and a great example of how IBM’s Smarter Computing approach can deliver an unquestionably superior business outcome for organizations that adopt it.