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IBM PureSystems

PureSystems is an IBM product line of factory pre-configured components and servers also being referred to as an "Expert Integrated System".[1] The centrepiece of PureSystems is the IBM Flex System Manager in tandem with the so-called "Patterns of Expertise" for the automated configuration and management of PureSystems.

PureSystems can host four different operating systems (AIX, IBM i, Linux, Windows) and five hypervisors (Hyper-V, KVM, PowerVM, VMware, Xen)[2] on two different hardware architectures: Power Architecture and x86. PureSystems is marketed as a converged system, which packages multiple information technology components into a single product.


The architecture itself is called IBM Flex System.[3]

It aims at managing hybrid cloud infrastructure environments "out of the box".

The basic intention is for the combination of integrated hardware and software that can be easily maintained. A similar concept had already been introduced with the IBM AS/400. Today, such systems are called converged systems. More specialized integrated hardware and software are referred to as appliances.

The compute nodes of the server blades can be x86 or Power Architecture and they can be used either individually or mixed in the same rack simultaneously, thus offering a hybrid ensemble which borrows from the zEnterprise/zBX ensemble[4][5] (cf. Gameframe), including its ability to manage a combined physical/virtual hybrid environment from a single console.

PureSystems is shipped with the IBM Flex System Manager.[6] It is an appliance which manages the resources according to the so-called "Patterns of Expertise", which provide field engineers' expertise from decades of system configuration. These "Patterns of Expertise" offer industry-specific (e.g. banking, insurance, automotive) defaults for the fully automatic and optimal orchestration of resources (e.g. workload balancing). PureApplication uses in conjunction with the IBM System Manager first Flex repeatable software patterns (pattern) and industry-specific processes, which are derived from the year-long collaboration of IBM with their customers and business partners.[7]


The basic building block of the system is the 10U high Flex Enterprise system chassis with 14 bays in the front for compute nodes ("servers") and storage nodes. Additionally, there are bays in the rear for I/O modules.

A flex-chassis can accommodate up to 14 horizontal compute and storage nodes in the front, and 4 vertically oriented switch modules in the rear. Contrasting to this, the IBM BladeCenter (9U high) has vertically oriented compute nodes ("blades"). This means that the components between the BladeCenter chassis and Flex chassis are not interchangeable.

Based upon the Flex Systems architecture (the components of which are individually available), there are three main products:


PureFlex is a factory pre-configured and combined hardware-/software system for IaaS in terms of cloud computing. It combines server, network and storage. IBM PureFlex is available in three configurations: Express, Standard, Enterprise.

Express Standard Enterprise
IBM PureFlex System 42U Rack 1
IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 1
IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10Gb Scalable Switch 1 2 with both port-count upgrades
IBM Flex System FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch 1 2
IBM Flex System Manager Node 1
IBM Flex System Manager software license IBM Flex System Manager with 1-year service and support IBM Flex System Manager Advanced with 3-year service and support
Chassis Management Module 2
2500W power supply modules (equ./max.) 2 / 6 4 / 6 6 / 6
Chassis 80 mm fan modules (equ./max.) 4 / 8 6 / 8 8 / 8
IBM Storwize V7000 Disk System Yes (redundant controller)
IBM Storwize V7000 Software Base with 1-year software maintenance agreement Base with 3-year software maintenance agreement


PureApplication is a pre-configured platform for platform as a service applications. It is optimized for transaction-oriented web and database applications. PureApplication comes with IBM DB2 database and WebSphere Application Server pre-configured so users can run their applications into a preconfigured middleware engine.[8]

Unlike PureFlex, which is sold by IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG), PureApplication is marketed by the IBM Software Group (SWG). IBM claims that PureApplication allows for installation (or deployment) of new applications within four hours.[9]

The system's virtual pattern deployers encrypt on-disk data using Security First Corp's SPxBitFiler-IPS encryption technology, which is also licensed by IBM for its Cloud Data Encryption Service (ICDES).[10]

IBM PureApplication System is available in three classes:

  • W1500-32 and W1500-64, using Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors, housed in a 25U rack
  • W1500-96 through to W1500-608, using Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors, housed in a 42U rack
  • W1700-96 through to W1700-608, using IBM POWER7+ processors, housed in a 42U rack
Intel Xeon E5-2670 System W1500-32 System W1500-64 System W1500-96 System W1500-192 System W1500-384 System W1500-608
Cores 32 64 96 192 384 608
RAM 0.5 TB 1.0 TB 1.5 TB 3.1 TB 6.1 TB 9.7 TB
SSD Storage 2.4 TB 6.4 TB
HDD Storage 24.0 TB 48.0 TB
Application Services Entitlement Included
IBM POWER7+ System W1700-32 System W1700-64 System W1700-96 System W1700-192 System W1700-384 System W1700-608
Cores 32 64 96 192 384 608
RAM 0.5 TB 1.0 TB 1.5 TB 3.1 TB 6.1 TB 9.7 TB
SSD Storage 2.4 TB 6.4 TB
HDD Storage 24.0 TB 48.0 TB
Application Services Entitlement Included


PureData Systems takes the approach of PureApplication a step further being essentially a tightly coupled and specialized computer appliance and software appliance, the latter supporting both Oracle and DB2.[11] It is thence marketed by the IBM Information Management Software, a brand of IBM Software Group (SWG).

PureData is focused at three main tasks within enterprise computing: business intelligence, near real-time data analysis and online transactional processing.[12] It comes in four flavours:[13]

  • PureData Systems for Transactions
  • PureData Systems for Analytics
  • PureData Systems for Operational Analytics
  • PureData Systems for Hadoop

PureData System for Transactions is a highly reliable and scalable database platform. It is aimed at e-commerce [i.e. retail and credit card processing environments) which depends on rapid handling of transactions and interactions. These transactions are small in size, but their sheer volume and frequency require a specialized environment. The new system can provide 5x performance improvement, partly through advances in high performance storage.

PureData System for Analytics builds on Netezza technology and it is aimed at business intelligence that entails huge queries with complex algorithms. It provides a large library of database analytical functions for data warehouse applications, and can scale across the terabyte or petabytes running on the system. It can support extremely high volume high speed analytics for clients (e.g. mobile phone carriers who want to identify potential churn and provide offers to retain customers).[14]

PureData Systems for Operational Analytics is an operational warehouse system[13] which supports real-time decision making. In contrast to PureData System for Analytics, which is aimed at handling large sets of data at a time, PureData for Operational Analytics is more or less a stream computing system that can analyze many small sets of data in real-time while PureData for Analytics will provide analysis only in hindsight but with large sets of data, though. Potential uses of PureData Systems for Operational Analytics are fraud detection or analysis of rapid fluctuations in supply-and-demand cycles.[12]

PureData Systems for Hadoop H 1001 is a standards-based - so-called expert integrated - system which architecturally integrates IBM InfoSphere BigInsights, Hadoop-based software, server (IBM System x), and storage into a single appliance. Moreover, it integrates with IBM DB2, IBM Netezza, IBM PureData System for Analytics, and IBM InfoSphere Guardium.[15]


Both IBM and its partners provide software which is specifically certified for PureSystems ("Ready for IBM PureSystems ").

Currently, over 125 ISVs have already certified products for PureSystems, and business partners such as system integrators, resellers, distributors, ISVs or MSP can integrate PureSystems into their portfolio.


PureSystems was announced April 11, 2012.[16]

It was mainly assembled at IBM Rochester Campus in Rochester, MN.[17] But on March 6, 2013, IBM decided to shift production of Power Systems, PureSystems and PureFlex Systems servers to Guadalajara, Mexico from Rochester, Minnesota.[18] After 2014, most systems will be assembled in Mexico.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ IBM Aims to Ease IT With Cloud-Friendly PureSystems April 11, 2012 at WIRED Cloudline
  2. ^ IBM launches PureSystems, touts integration, flexibility April 10, 2012 at zdnet.com
  3. ^ IBM RedBooks WebDoc - IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis April 11, 2012 at redbooks.ibm.com
  4. ^ IBM PureSystems Hint at the Future of zEnterprise April 16, 2012 at DancingDinosaur.com
  5. ^ PureSystems Joins zEnterprise Hybrid Family May 8, 2012 at DancingDinosaur.com
  6. ^ IBM RedBooks WebDoc - IBM Flex System Manager at redbooks.ibm.com
  7. ^ IBM launches PureSystems range April 11, 2012 at ChannelBiz.com
  8. ^ Taming IT Bastardization with IBM PureSystem Regardless of App Parentage Sept 12, 2012 at forbes.com
  9. ^ IBM PureApplication System -- The 4 hour set-up by Jason McGee at youtube.com
  10. ^ "IBM Encryption Pattern for Security First SPxBitFiler-IPA". ibm.com. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  11. ^ IBM Rolls Out New PureSystems Data Servers by Sean M. Kerner, Oct 9, 2012 at serverwatch.com
  12. ^ a b IBM expands PureSystems line for data duties by Joab Jackson, Oct 9, 2012 at computerworld.com
  13. ^ a b IBM Expands PureSystems Family With New PureData Big Data Box by Darryl K. Taft, Oct 9, 2012 at eweek.com
  14. ^ IBM Launches New PureSystems For Transactions And Big Data Analytics by Tom Groenfeldt, Oct 9, 2012 at forbes.com
  15. ^ IBM Tackles Big Data with Big Hardware - PureData System for HADOOP, Apr 3, 2013 at datacenterdynamics.com
  16. ^ IBM Sets the Stage for the Next Era of Computing April 11, 2012 at ibm.com
  17. ^ IT-Jungle Volume 21, Number 16 April 23, 2012 at itjungle.com
  18. ^ IBM moving Rochester production to NY, Mexico March 6, 2013 at MPRNews

External links[edit]