Choosing IBM Flex System for Your Private Cloud Infrastructure

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IBM Flex System offers a brand new platform for creating solutions to address emerging market applications, such as Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, and Smarter Planet. In this paper, we described how to create a custom private cloud configuration that uses Flex System. For more information on Pure Systems, visit http://ibm.co/18vDnp6. Visit the official Scribd Channel of IBM India Smarter Computing at http://bit.ly/VwO86R to get access to more documents.

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  • 1. Redpaper Srihari Angaluri Choosing IBM Flex System for Your Private Cloud Infrastructure Table of contents Introduction Private cloud requirements on page 2 IBM PureFlex System on page 3 IBM Flex System on page 5 Advantages of PureFlex over Flex System on page 7 Cloud reference architecture with Flex System on page 10 Compute node choices in the Flex System on page 15 Cloud management software on page 23 Conclusion on page 24 References on page 25 Introduction IBM Flex System is a new platform technology that was introduced for organizations that are deploying IT for emerging data center applications, such as cloud computing, Big Data, Analytics, Technical computing, and Smarter Planet. IBM Flex System combines advances in processor, memory, networking, storage, and management technologies such that they are integrated into a single, cohesive system. This system provides an efficient platform for addressing data center challenges for capacity, flexibility, scalability, reliability, and IT acquisition and maintenance costs. There are several solutions available in the marketplace today for people who want to create private cloud infrastructures. Starting from the infrastructure layer, some vendors are providing fully integrated solutions with preselected components for almost all layers in the cloud. Copyright IBM Corp. 2012. All rights reserved. ibm.com/redbooks 1
  • 2. For example, IBM provides the BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud1, which is reference architecture for creating a private cloud infrastructure by using the IBM BladeCenter, Intel processor-based BladeCenter servers, disk storage for virtual image repositories, integrated networking with 10 Gbps Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switches, and the IBM SmartCloud Entry software stack for virtualization and platform management. Although fully integrated solutions might address the needs of certain customers, the other end of the market segment is interested in creating their own private cloud infrastructures by integrating the piece parts. The IBM Flex System provides all of the components that are necessary for creating the cloud, including compute, networking, storage, and management software. In this paper, we describe how to integrate a custom private cloud infrastructure solution by using the IBM Flex System. This IBM Redpaper is intended for customers and IBM Business Partners who are creating custom private cloud infrastructures and looking for various hardware and software options that are available from IBM. This paper also provides a technical overview of the IBM Flex System components for cloud infrastructure architects and hardware integration specialists. Private cloud requirements In constructing a private cloud infrastructure, you must look at the full stack of requirements and address them individually. You also must ensure that all the individual layers of the stack are well-integrated to create a seamless cloud system. The different layers of a typical cloud environment are shown in Figure 1. A more fine-grained view of the cloud shows other layers. These layers include the platform virtualization layer that is used for storage and networking, the middle-ware application layer that sits between the virtual images, and the management layers. However, from a high level, Figure 1 shows the important layers that almost every cloud environment features. Management Layer Service Management Hardware Management Virtualization Management Web Portal Virtual Images Layer Operating Systems Linux Windows AIX Other Virtualization Layer - Hypervisors VMware KVM Xen Hyper-V PowerVM Physical Infrastructure Compute Storage Networking Figure 1 Typical layers in a cloud infrastructure 1 2 See IBM BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud: Integration Guide, REDP-4773, available at this website: http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/redp4773.html?Open Choosing IBM Flex System for Your Private Cloud Infrastructure
  • 3. At the physical infrastructure layer, we have the compute nodes, servers, networking, and all the other necessary support hardware (for example, management appliances). This layer is the fundamental layer of the cloud and is where people who are creating private clouds must spend the most time to select the correct hardware components. This selection process is critical because the choices that are made at this layer drive the choices for the other layers farther up in the stack. For example, selecting x86 based servers versus POWER based servers drives the choices for the hypervisors and the virtualization management tools and affects the application choices. In addition, key characteristics of the cloud environment, such as the performance, scalability, upgradability, serviceability, and manageability, is determined by the physical infrastructure layer. The per-VM metrics, such as the number of virtual CPUs, amount of virtual memory, disk capacity, and network bandwidth, also are influenced by the choices for the hardware components at the physical infrastructure layer. Most often, the hardware choices also are driven by the layers that are above the Physical Infrastructure layer, as shown in Figure 1 on page 2. For instance, applications that require much compute capacity and memory, such as database servers, force you to choose a robust, high-end platform with multiple CPU sockets. Also, support is needed for large memory (for example, a four-socket server with 64 memory DIMMs). In 2012, IBM introduced a new hardware platform, IBM Flex System, which is a set of technologies that are designed to address many challenges. These challenges include IT complexity, growth, deployment, acquisition, and maintenance costs. The new platform also was designed to address the IT infrastructure needs of emerging markets, such as cloud computing, Business Analytics, Big Data, and Smarter Planet. IBM Flex System enables new integrated solutions that are optimized on the hardware platform to take advantage of the full system capabilities for performance, scalability, robustness, and Systems Management. IBM Flex System provides an efficient platform to customers for addressing some of these challenges. It is an ideal platform for organizations that are creating their own solutions, such as custom private cloud infrastructures. IBM PureFlex System IBM PureFlex System is a comprehensive infrastructure system that provides an expert integrated computing system. It combines the IBM Flex System components, such as servers, enterprise storage, networking, virtualization, and management, into a single structure. Its built-in expertise enables organizations to manage and flexibly deploy integrated patterns of virtual and physical resources through unified management. These systems are ideally suited for customers who want a system that delivers the simplicity of an integrated solution and can tune middleware and the runtime environment. IBM PureFlex System combines advanced IBM hardware and software with patterns of expertise into three optimized configurations that are simple to acquire and deploy so you realize fast time-to-value. PureFlex features the following advantages: Configurations that ease acquisition experience and match your needs Optimized to align with targeted workloads and environments Designed for cloud with SmartCloud Entry included on Standard and Enterprise versions Choosing IBM Flex System for Your Private Cloud Infrastructure 3
  • 4. Choice of architecture, operating system, and virtualization engine Designed for simplicity with integrated, single-system management across physical and virtual resources Simplified ordering that accelerates deployment into your environments Ships as a single integrated entity directly to you Includes factory integration and lab services optimization The PureFlex System is available in one of the following configurations: IBM PureFlex System Express, which is designed for small and medium-sized businesses and is the most affordable entry point for PureFlex System. IBM PureFlex System Standard, which is optimized for application servers with supporting storage and networking, and is designed to support your key ISV solutions. IBM PureFlex System Enterprise, which is optimized for transactional and database systems. It has built-in redundancy for highly reliable and resilient operation to support your most critical workloads. The PureFlex System configuration features the following main hardware and software components: Preinstalled and configured IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis Compute nodes with IBM POWER or Intel Xeon processors IBM Flex System Manager, preinstalled with management software and licenses for software activation IBM Storwize V7000 external storage unit All hardware components are preinstalled in an IBM PureFlex System 42U rack Choice of operating system: IBM AIX IBM i Microsoft Windows Red Hat Enterprise Linux SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Virtualization software: IBM PowerVM KVM VMware vSphere Microsoft Hyper V SmartCloud Entry (see IBM SmartCloud Entry on page 23) Complete pre-integrated software and hardware On-site services included to get you up and running quickly For more information about the PureFlex System, see this website: http://www.ibm.com/ibm/puresystems/us/en/pf_pureflex.html More information also is available from the IBM Redbooks publication IBM PureFlex System and IBM Flex System Products and Technology, SG24-7984, which is available from this website: http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg247984.html 4 Choosing IBM Flex System for Your Private Cloud Infrastructure