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IBM takes on Oracle, SAP with new integrated data management systems

IBM is introducing three new PureSystems high-performance appliances optimized for transactional and analytics uses involving large amounts of data.

IBM on Tuesday will unveil three new integrated data management systems that are set to compete in the same category as Oracle Exadata, SAP HANA and other high-performance computing appliances, company officials said.

The products represent the latest addition to IBM's PureSystems family of "expert integrated systems" and are designed to help organizations more effectively manage, analyze and gain valuable business insights from ever-growing volumes of information. IBM plans to unveil the new integrated appliances at a press event in Boston.

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Big Blue says the new workload-specific platforms are tuned for transactional, operational and big data analytics. They include the IBM PureData System for Transactions, PureData System for Operational Analytics and PureData System for Analytics.

PureData System for Transactions is optimized to help organizations rapidly handle retail credit card transactions and other interactions with customers. IBM says the new system comes with hardware and software configurations designed to ensure continuous availability for transaction workloads.  

"PureData System for Transactions is essentially an evolution of DB2 but on a pre-integrated big data platform for transactional computing," said Jim Kobielus, a technology evangelist at IBM.

The database and business applications giant reports that PureData System for Operational Analytics supports "real-time decision making" for several types of activities. For example, organizations could use the system to detect fraud during credit card processing or to quickly track changes in supply and demand for energy and utilities, according to IBM.

"PureData System for Operational Analytics is an evolution of the IBM InfoSphere Smart Analytics System," Kobielus said. "But these are all substantially new products with [existing] core technologies as the foundation."  

PureData System for Analytics is powered by IBM-Netezza data warehousing technology and allows organizations to explore big data stores. IBM says the system optimizes the performance of data warehouse services and analytics applications. It also offers many pre-built in-database analytics functions. Customers could conceivably use the system, for example, to quickly analyze consumer behavior and avoid customer churn, or to create highly targeted advertising and promotions based on predictive or spatial analysis.

The new products join the PureApplication System and PureFlex System, which were introduced when IBM first launched the PureSystems product line last April. PureApplication is an integrated system for deploying and managing business applications. PureFlex is an integrated platform designed to help organizations build and manage their IT infrastructure with greater efficiency. 

"There are some core characteristics of a PureSystems environment. It is pre-integrated and we take care to build in expertise with the goal of significantly simplifying the total IT lifecycle from deployment to management right on through to upgrades," said Pete McCaffrey, IBM's director of PureSystems marketing. "What we're doing with the newest systems is applying those same principles to the world of big data."

While the PureData systems compete in the same category as the likes of Oracle Exadata and SAP HANA, McCaffrey said the IBM products take a different approach. He also couldn't help but take a swipe at the competition.

"Oracle promotes Exadata as addressing all data workloads, which makes sense in their case because if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail," McCaffrey quipped. "But when it comes to the data workloads there really are significant differences between transactional workloads, deep analytics and operational analytics."

The new PureData products will be begin shipping at the end of October. IBM reports that pricing for a single PureData System starts at about $500,000 and includes all the required data and system management software.

"Today's systems are stretched to the limits and typically being asked to do things that they weren't originally designed to do and there is a lot of time and costs associated with tuning them," McCaffrey said. "PureData is really designed to help [companies] take that on."

Mark Brunelli is the news director for Follow him on Twitter: @Brunola88.

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