IBM Partners See Opportunities In New IBM PureSystems

IBM says more than 500 IBM channel partners are already on board with its new PureSystems converged infrastructure servers, with partners seeing opportunities to work with a product line that requires less configuration and management, yet offers a better way to develop value-added solutions.

"They've really managed to take it far beyond what other vendors are offering," said Phil Turner, business development director at Datatrend Technologies, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider, speaking about the PureSystems IBM launched today. The software and "patterns of expertise" capability IBM is building into the new products, he said, "take the intelligence of the systems to a whole new level."

The IBM PureSystems combine the company's server, storage, networking and management technologies into a single, integrated platform. IBM is touting PureSystems as an industry game-changer because of the product's ability to reduce IT complexity and costs.

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"I think this is really going to leapfrog the technology that's available in the marketplace today," said Mark Hennessy, IBM general manager, global business partners and mid-market, in an interview prior to the PureSystems launch. "It's going to fundamentally change some of the economics of computing."

While some PureSystems will be sold directly, Hennessy said IBM expects the channel will be "by far the largest" sales route for the new systems. He said distributors, VARs, ISVs and managed service providers all stand to benefit in some way from PureSystems' capabilities.

"All categories of partners are going to benefit because we're generating new market opportunities," he said.

NEXT: IBM Ramps Up PureSystems Training

The channel chief said PureSystems' pre-configured architecture would accelerate the sales cycle for partners and reduce the amount of time solution providers have to spend on routine system configuration and implementation chores. "That's really a big positive for partners, how to reduce the time-to-value for their clients," Hennessy said.

That resonated with Turner at Datatrend, who said the PureSystems' architecture will allow his company to focus on higher-value system planning and design services. "I think there's a pent-up demand for this because everyone is tired of re-inventing the wheel," he said, pointing to such mundane tasks as installing virtualization software and building disk drive arrays.

"The systems really manage themselves," Turner said. "There's some pretty sophisticated application monitoring." He said the PureSystems go beyond other converged infrastructure products, citing Cisco's Unified Computing System as an example, which he said is largely focused on the hardware layer.

Turner said the most unique aspect of PureSystems is the "patterns of expertise" capabilities that ISVs and channel partners can use to capture and embed their own IT expertise within the systems.

Vormittag Associates Inc., whose S2K Enterprise ERP applications run on IBM's Power line of servers, is among the 125 ISVs whose software has been certified to run on the new PureSystems. VAI has been testing the PureSystems servers since November and their architecture "certainly makes deploying cloud systems easier," said VAI sales vice president Joe Scioscia in an interview.

Altogether more than 500 reseller, ISV, MSP and systems integration partners have received some PureSystems training, according to Hennessy. IBM is certifying partners' technical and sales personnel to work with the products -- though he declined to disclose how many have completed the certification -- and the vendor will be supplying marketing support and lead-generation services. "We have a big job to do in terms of partner support," Hennessy acknowledged.

IBM is also planning workshops to help partners sell and deploy the PureSystems, Hennessy said, and developing a product demonstration Website for partners.