May 23, 2014
Companies large and small can’t escape the fact that they generate more and more data every day and they have to leverage Big Data to compete. But dealing with Big Data means big computing: Data centers, grids, clouds. And that technology means distributed parallel applications plus lots of analytics. All of which means lots of headaches for IT management, since everyone clamors for more and better performance so they can get their answers and work done faster.
Well, no, not everybody. Some demand reduced infrastructure costs and expenses before demanding improved IT performance and better use of resources. They see your cluster first and foremost as a beast growing way too quickly and expensively, dragging power and facilities costs up with it.
You know all about that, and you are well aware that maximizing performance and scale is key to getting the most out of your company’s grid-enabled applications. The problem is your grid girds you with constraints. It imposes restraints on your choice of system architectures, operating systems and developer tools.
IBM believes its Platform Symphony solution for parallel computing and application grid management is the better way to run a grid that can help you deliver faster, better results while needing less infrastructure. And they’re willing to put a total cost of ownership calculator in your hands so that you can see for yourself what Platform Symphony could do for you.
Now, the thumbnail sketch of IBM Platform Symphony is that it’s software for managing, controlling and running distributed applications and big data analytics on a scalable, shared grid. IBM says that it accelerates parallel applications because it can do things like reallocate more than 1,000 compute engines per second to different workloads depending on how you define policies and priorities.
That kind of resource allocation means that multiple departments, applications and users can share a common grid, which, in turn, could reduce the pressure to invest in more infrastructure. Platform Symphony also uses low-latency scheduling and middleware processes so, again, you should need less hardware to meet performance goals. As a corollary, since it can provide a high level of resource utilization, your cluster growth rate can throttle back, reducing all sorts of expenses associated with rapid expansion.
OK, now, here’s a look at the IBM Platform Symphony Total Cost of Ownership Calculator. It’s not a huge thing. You do not need to have a ton of data at your command to understand its value. After a trio of questions to quantify your company size, business and location, you have just five brief questions about your infrastructure, application environment, application details, personnel and cluster growth rate. Each question comes with editable default entries, so you control assumptions.
The first three questions have two or three fields to flesh out the picture, and many of those fields have editable subfields. (Hint: Click on the icon to the right of a gray box to modify a field’s details.) For example, under infrastructure, it asks how many servers are in your clusters, their purchase price and annual power cost per server. You can drill down and enter information on licensing, average cooling requirement per server and the like.
So, you enter your data and, on the bottom right, the Calculator displays your results in a graph showing you how much IBM Platform Symphony could save you over three years. Right on top of the graph is a dollar figure. I played with the fields using sketchy information I had in my head from past employers. All of the potential savings were impressive. No doubt your results will be too.
The Calculator produces results dynamically, so you can play with scenarios or bang in some quick and dirty numbers to quickly check out the scene. After a couple of test runs, you’ll probably want to go dig up some of your real numbers to see what it says. It’s that intriguing.
Your results are, of course, a high-level what-if analysis, so you may want to think of the IBM Platform Symphony Total Cost of Ownership Calculator as the first step toward getting a handle on your grid. It produces a lot of food for thought in a flash. Therein lies its great value.
Hit today’s Check it Out link to access the IBM Platform Symphony Total Cost of Ownership Calculator. It might be just what you need to begin to quiet down some of those people bugging you for more performance and fewer expenses.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering