Do SMB decision makers unnecessarily restrict themselves?

Recently a number of announcements from IBM came across my desk and they caused me to think of a question. The announcements were: a new PureFlex Solution for IBM I, the IBM Storwize V5000 and the both the new IBM Power Virtualization Center and IBM Power Virtualization Performance for IBM's Power Systems. The question that came to mind was are SMB decision makers selecting the best platform available for their organization's move to deploy big data/analytics and start to enjoy the advantages offered by cognitive computing or are they just going along with the crowd?

Do SMB decision makers unnecessarily restrict themselves?

It appears that often SMB decision makers restrict themselves to selecting solutions based upon industry standard, X86, systems running either Windows or Linux rather than starting a decision process in another place. If an interesting trend, such as learning more about customer requirements and a company's own business operations, SMB decision makers often turn to what they know rather than seeking out the most powerful, the most cost effective solutions.

Are other, better platforms available?

IBM is one of a number of IT technology suppliers that offers a range of systems, all of which can be deployed independently or together to build a cost-effective but, powerful solution to the problems and challenges faced by SMBs. While industry standard systems, such as IBM System X can be a good solution, sometimes solutions built upon a different platform such as IBM Power Systems might be a better choice.

Considering Industry Standard Systems

In the industry standard systems world, operating systems, application frameworks and applications are designed to use a general purpose, high volume X86 platform. The suppliers often choose to use the lowest common denominator when selecting processor options, memory capabilities, storage interfaces and the like to make sure that their products will execute reasonably well on a broad selection of products from many vendors.

While this approach means that an SMB can select from a number of suppliers, it may also mean that the solution may use more power and require more cooling,  more processors, more storage and be less cost effective than selecting a different platform.

Considering single vendor solutions

When a single supplier provides the processor, the systems, the systems software, virtualization technology, the storage and the networking tools, the entire configuration can be tuned to a specific use. This could mean making better use of the available processing, memory, storage and networking power provided by a system. It can also mean addressing the SMB's IT challenges with a simpler, more integrated, higher performance and yet lower cost solution.

A new generation of applications and tools requires new thinking as well

As SMB decision makers consider how to use Big Data and analytics and maybe even move into using cognitive computing, they need to review the available platforms and tools. This often means looking at platforms that have a long history of successfully supporting SMB workloads that may not currently be in a company's IT portfolio. 

Suppliers, such as IBM, have years of experience with these new approaches and are quite willing to help. It would be wise to take advantage of their expertise and knowledge to select the best tools for the job at hand.

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This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

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