Dynamic Infrastructure has moved beyond the buzzword realm and is already impacting bottom lines. That’s the view of IBM partners who participated in a recent partner event at the IBM Innovation Centre in Toronto.
While some of its elements had been in the works for some time, Dynamic Infrastructure is more about partners understanding how the whole IBM portfolio fits together, and utilizing that in consultative selling. And its’ dynamic infrastructure specialty program, launched in February, is for partners most committed to that objective, and to what Bruce Maule, director of business partner programs and plans for IBM Systems Group, referred to as “a marriage of IT to the physical world.”
Maule said that IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, of which Dynamic Infrastructure is one component, is all about utilizing the proliferation of intelligent devices to articulate a new value proposition to the marketplace.
“The transformation comes from connecting all data together and doing something with the data.” Maule said. “They do it by transforming the IT environment, getting systems connected and getting costs down.”
“This is all part of green and cost avoidance issues going mainstream,” said John Mangold, director of IT solutions at Metafore IT solutions, a cross-Canada VAR which is presently evaluating the dynamic infrastructure specialty program. “Virtualization, the next wave, cloud computing, autonomic technologies — what all this does is make it affordable for the CIO to afford new products.”
Power and cooling issues are a core element of this. “For one customer, we looked at power and cooling usage,” Mangold said. “They had 125 servers, and we found that replacing the boxes could pay for new ones within 9 months by the saving in power.” And this was without any savings on top of that from virtualization.
Alan Ruth, president of Markham, Ont.-based Integrated Monitoring Solutions, said that his company, which does environmental monitoring, collecting data readings and interpreting them for customers, is benefiting mightily from utilizing dynamic infrastructure technologies.
“Through Tivoli we can monitor it and be as granular as possible,” Ruth said. “It lets us move right down to the CPU level and back up to the aggregate.
Ruth noted that data centres’ original configurations get modified by use and things get moved around, so certain areas wind up overcooled or under-cooled. This leads to inefficient responses, like dealing with localized hot spots by just generally pumping in more cool air.
“We can now tie in all elements which consume power in the data centre, merge power monitoring and temperature monitoring in real time, report it and let the data centre use it in a way they can best optimize the information.”
Other solution providers are benefiting from niche roles within the process. Mike Kinrys, director of business development at Mississauga, Ont.-based solutions provider VisionMax, said that their participation has had strong results.
“We write the applications that run on the Dynamic Infrastructure,” Kinrys said. He pointed to one example, where they are putting in point-of-sale applications being used by 10,000 T-Mobile stores in the U.S. using a hosted model.
“Customers don’t want to have headaches, so the hosted model has appeal there,” he said.
Paul Blanchard, president of Toronto-based ARTEX Environmental Corp., which disposes of old computer equipment, is also seeing results from his company’s niche role within the IBM initiative.
“We are coming to the end of recycling used computers,” Blanchard said. “Wipes and write-overs just aren’t effective, so there is a security issue. The only true data security is shredding the equipment.”
ARTEX has entered into a partnership with Arrow ECS, IBM’s largest VAD in Canada, which receives old equipment from IBM.
“We send them out the door in bins of what made up the computer — aluminium, smelter material and plastic,” Blanchard said.
Marty Blake, managing director of alliances at xwave, a national solutions provider which is already pursuing certification in the dynamic infrastructure specialty program, sees its benefits as being very tangible.
“Dynamic Infrastructure proper is detailed, quantifiable and difficult,” Blake said. The specialty program, which separates those who really want to invest, requires six months of certification, and Blake hopes that is not diluted. In Canada, no partners are fully certified at the moment, and IBM’s ultimate goal there is seven to nine partners in Canada out of 300 worldwide, although many other partners who are not in the specialty program are collaborating with IBM under the broader Dynamic Infrastructure umbrella.
Ultimately, Blake said Dynamic Infrastructure’s success is that it has moved beyond marketing cliché and offers real benefits.
“We deal with those marketing concerns by focusing on the money, saving money for the clients,” Blake said. “Power is getting more expensive and saving money on that goes beyond the buzzword.”
This week, dealing with those concerns may have become easier for some. As part of a global announcement in which IBM announced that it would make up to $5 billion (US) available to accelerate Smart Infrastructure initiatives worldwide, IBM Global Financing also will extend its North American coverage to include financing for smart technology projects in Canada. And that financing, IBM confirmed, will include partner projects.