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August 2008 · Application Server Choices: Important Considerations in Selecting an Application Server

July 2007 · Choices in Storage Architecture for Storage Environments

July 2006 · The Future of the High-Volume Server Ecosystem

March 2005 · Virtualization with IBM's POWER5: Empowering the Data Center

September 2004 · IBM eServer OpenPower: Consolidation in Action

August 2003 · Optimizing Enterprise IT: IBM eServer pSeries and Consolidation

August 2003 · IBM eServer BladeCenter Linux Solution: Redefining the Cutting Edge

February 2003 · Painting the Big Picture: Data Storage and the Benefits of End-to-End IT Solutions

 


August 2008   PDF

Application Server Choices: Important Considerations in Selecting an Application Server

By Clay Ryder

Few organizations can claim a homogeneous IT environment. For most, the reality is heterogeneous, and the ability of future IT investments to not only coexist, but even thrive in this environment is an important deployment criterion. As is expected with IT products and services, there are several providers of applications servers, including offerings from major systems vendors and ISVs as well as from the open source community. Given the variety of offerings, organizations could face a potentially confusing array of choices in their application server deployment initiatives. In this paper, we examine the role the application server has taken as well as review some of the more notable application server offerings available from commercial and open source providers. We offer our perspective on what are the most important criteria and considerations when selecting an application server and also review how the application server offerings from BEA, Oracle, and IBM in particular meet these criteria.

 

July 2007   PDF

Choices in Storage Architecture for Oracle Environments

By Clay Ryder

Database systems have always been at the core of the IT landscape. Companies typically put their most valuable information in databases and use it to drive key business processes. Not only is storage an increasingly large cost component of database investments, but storage architecture can significantly and directly impact performance, availability, and recoverability of any database installation. Making matters more difficult, today’s data centers have multiple, distinct application workloads, each with different I/O profiles and distinct levels of value to the business. Because of this, IT organizations can expect that requirements for performance, high availability, and capacity planning will vary between production, development/test, and data warehouse environments. Over time, as IT organizations grow and database storage infrastructure scales the complexity of managing storage requirements across the environment will increase. This leads to a preference for a holistic view of storage architecture requirements for databases, and begs the question: how can IT architects to design a storage environment that is cost-effective yet meets changing needs for performance, availability, and recoverability at different points in a database’s lifecycle? Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, enterprises may demand that IT architects exploit synergy between the database software and the storage architecture.

 


July 2006   PDF

The Future of the High-Volume Server Ecosystem

By Clay Ryder

Over time, the market for servers has developed into a robust and very competitive marketplace. In earlierdays, specific attention was given to the underlying hardware and software platform as well as its vendor as in many cases the availability of solutions was inherently intertwined with a specific systems vendor. Ecosystems of channel partners, developers, ISVs, etc., developed around these solutions not only to support the current implementations but also to cultivate interest in long-term support for the platform and its users. The availability of a wide range of solutions and partners to deliver and support them became a critical decision criteria in server purchase decisions. Today the marketplace has coalesced around two server camps. One is high-end, single-source solutions that are focused on a specific set of workloads. The other is high-volume servers sourced from multiple suppliers, with myriad applications and developers, and that support a variety of workloads throughout organizations. Open Source is playing a significant role in shaping the high-volume server ecosystems of the future. In this report, we examine the role of the ecosystem and its participants with respect to Linux.

 


March 2005    PDF

Virtualization with IBM's POWER5: Empowering the Data Center

By Joyce Tompsett Becknell

Virtualization is a state-of-the-art method to raise IT efficiency through the sharing of resources between many systems and applications. While virtualization has existed in mainframes for years, virtualization has been more difficult to bring to Open Systems because of the nature of distributed computing. In distributed systems, applications frequently run on one server and have little or no interaction with other servers. The result of this distributed approach is that over-provisioning and underutilization of resources is common and the inherent complexity stymies cost-effective growth. The ideal virtualization solution includes infrastructure simplification, cost containment, and improved utilization of IT resources within a heterogeneous environment to give organizations a sustainable competitive advantage. In this report, we discuss server virtualization and its potential for organizations of all stripes. We posit the ideal virtualization solution and review various competitive offerings from vendors in this market space. In addition, we examine the virtualization technologies available in the IBM eServer p5, as well as its capabilities and the benefits to business of implementing virtualization technologies. 

 


September 2004     PDF

IBM eServer OpenPower: Consolidation in Action

By Clay Ryder

Despite the best-laid plans of mice and IT staff, enterprise IT environments tend to grow in often unpredictable ways, and sometimes wild fits and starts. The reasons for this are not especially difficult to discern. The fact is that business computing evolves to meet the dynamic needs of businesses themselves, which seldom develop linearly. Sure, most companies go to work with MBA-approved business plans in hand and mission statements committed firmly to memory, but funny things happen on the way to the Fortune 1000. At the same time, IT itself never stands still. The continuing ascendancy of Moore’s Law has meant that for the past two+ decades, CFOs the world over have been subject to the heartbreak of buying computing technologies whose value begins to plummet about the same time the POs finally clear. On one level, having easy access to top line technology is great news. On another, it means that business IT infrastructures tend to be patchworks of individual solutions whose performance and capabilities vary widely. The result of all this has been a growing interest in the subject of IT consolidation, whose original notion focused on reducing an enterprise’s total number of servers by moving their functions to more powerful or larger servers.

 


August 2003     PDF

Optimizing Enterprise IT: IBM eServer pSeries and Consolidation

By Charles King

Enterprise computing environments often grow unpredictably for reasons that are not especially difficult to discern. Business computing evolves to meet the needs of businesses themselves, which seldom develop linearly or work out precisely the way they were intended. Partners and suppliers often walk very different games than they talk. As a result, it should not be surprising when a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure starts showing stress and stretch marks early on, an especially critical issue for companies that regard the access to and availability of digital data as business-critical. On one level, the easy availability of a wide range of affordable, top line technology is great news. On another, it means that many businesses' IT infrastructures tend to be complex patchworks of individual solutions whose performance and capabilities vary widely. The result of all this has been a growing need for IT consolidation. However, many enterprise customers understandably shy away from consolidation, believing it to be by definition too expensive, too complex, and even too dangerous an exercise on which to risk precious company data. Is this a fair assessment?

 


August 2003     PDF

IBM eServer BladeCenter Linux Solution: Redefining the Cutting Edge

By Charles King

The introduction in 2001 of blade servers by IBM, HP, and other vendors was initially claimed by many as an event that could elementally shift IT and business behavior. But some funny and not so funny things happened on the way to the consolidation revolution. Beset by an increasingly stagnant economy and global political unrest, businesses of every stripe simply tightened their belts and hunkered down, hoping that recovery would be just around the corner. However, the introduction of IBM’s eServer BladeCenter late in 2002 offered a significantly different architectural and strategic approach to blades than many other vendors. The BladeCenter is a wholly integrated IT ecosystem that offers highly scalable and extensible total solutions based on a unique and powerful integration of servers, storage and networking technologies. It also offers an ideal Linux IT infrastructure environment for consolidation and application deployments such as ebusiness and web portals. Could the BladeCenter, then, represent a fundamentally new approach that will push blade solutions further into the business market?

 


February 2003     PDF

Painting the Big Picture: Data Storage and the Benefits of End-to-End IT Solutions

By Charles King

In the years leading up to the dotcom mania, enterprise demand for IT solutions led to an explosion of products from both established and untested IT vendors. These offerings helped drive businesses toward deploying increasingly heterogeneous devices and systems, resulting in highly complex enterprise computing environments. Since enterprises continue to expand the business processes they support with technology solutions, they have sought guidance from established systems vendors to more efficiently utilize existing IT infrastructures....

An enterprise-specific evaluation of a particular technology, a company’s strategy, market dynamics, and current industry developments for business executives and IT professionals. Primary research combined with forward-looking insights lets readers get up to speed quickly on changes in the IT and ecommerce market.


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