Sorry IBM – A Big Box Is Not A Platform As A Service

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In April, IBM rolled out a big new machine called IBM PureApplication Systems, a member of the PureSystems technology family.

At the time, I  called IBM out for calling it a “PaaS in a Box.” It reminded me of Larry Ellison calling Oracle’s hardware a “cloud-in-a-box” back in 2010. Well, IBM is continuing its PaaS washing. Krishnan Subramanian just tweeted about a new IBM post that went up today that’s titled:”Open 24x7x365: The IBM open PaaS and private cloud platform.”

Pure Systems technology is IBM’s version of a converged infrastructure. It’s designed for implementation inside an enterprise data center. It’s a big box technology with converged compute, storage and networking. It’s based on patterns technology, meaning knowledge about all aspects of building. deploying and managing applications is hardened into the expert integrated system. Patterns come from the knowledge developed through customer engagements and IBM’s vast experience in building out data centers.

It combines development and virtualization environments into one box. It gives the customer optimization, consolidation, a central place for apps to run with the elasticity that “cloud” provides.

In yesterday’s post, IBM’s Michael Maximilien describes it as follows:

Essentially, the IBM PureSystems offering combines an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) substrate with a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) layer that also provides means to codify workload components into patterns.  With these patterns, users can effectively deploy workloads and applications in a predictable and repeatable fashion.

This view is counter to the definition of a PaaS. A true PaaS is a cloud computing service that removes the complexity required for developers to build their own software stacks. As Wikipedia points out, the provider provides the networks, servers and storage.

In April, Krishnan pointed out why it makes no sense to call PureSystems a PaaS.  Think if you wanted to develop a new cloud centric app. Would you need  a powerful integrated solution like PureSystems? No. You’d want to deploy across a distributed environment.

Instead, IBM Pure Systems is suitable for consolidating data centers and running legacy apps. But to call it a PaaS is a real stretch.