IBM (News - Alert) currently takes home the trophy today with the introduction of the "PureSystem" servers concept. The fact that we even call them servers at this point insults the very nature of these machines, however.
IBM's PureSystems servers will integrate a server, storage solutions, and a networking hub into one single point, making them highly versatile machines that will revolutionize data centers. The concept itself gives a whole new meaning to hosting, as the servers will not only host the storage, but will also host the networking infrastructure itself that many data centers use.
Cisco already came up with one of these machines, known as a Unified Computing System, introduced back in 2009. Many competitors have really downplayed the potential applications for such a system, not knowing that this would become a must-have in the future. Others also believed that Cisco (News - Alert) wouldn't be able to successfully integrate all these capabilities into one package. In fact, even people today complain that UCS isn't able to use anything except Cisco-compatible equipment.
This partially could be a motive for IBM entering the game, as it saw an opportunity to create a "be all you can be" machine without the headache of having to purchase the extra-fancy Cisco cuisine.
Still, we have to acknowledge the fact that UCS has been playing an important role in changing how data centers work. Without Cisco, IBM wouldn't have been able to easily present the concept. In fact, many of Cisco's competitors that just sat there scoffing at the company's intriguing effort are now scurrying to make something similar.
IBM spent $2 billion in trying to develop such a machine, and advance its technology enough to make the integration seamless. PureSystems takes it a step further, though. IBM alleges that the system would be able to act like a human being, putting the human "know-how" into the server, turning into a completely intelligent machine. It will configure itself and upgrade as needed. Added to this, it will also tweak necessary parameters to enhance performance all by itself. That's right! There's no human intervention here. Just plug it in and expect it to act like an automatic espresso machine.
The only drawback: For applications to be automatically adjusted, they have to be compatible with the PowerSystems specification, which will make them "PowerSystems Ready."
These servers currently have a steep price tag (News - Alert), starting at $100,000.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin