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Power Systems in the IBM Cloud – Enterprise Level Cloud Support
For decades, IBM has released announcements on Tuesdays. If you followed IBM activities, you were accustomed to the Tuesday announcements – like clockwork. Shaking up the schedule a bit, on June 15, which was a Saturday, IBM announced that the IBM Power Virtual Server on IBM Cloud, which is a public cloud service, is now available. Why a Saturday? I’m not really sure, but perhaps it’s a new day – a new age, deserving of a break in the mold.
With this announcement, IBM now provides enterprise level cloud support of Power Systems to support AIX and IBM i workloads from a tier 1 cloud provider, IBM.
Details in a minute, but you might wonder why and how you might want to use Power Systems, AIX and/or IBM i in a cloud services environment. Actually, the reason to use the IBM Power Virtual Server on the IBM Cloud is the same value proposition as for using x86 systems in the Azure, Google, and AWS clouds – reduced management and infrastructure costs associated with the on-premise data center.
Use cases vary by customer, but a common thread for prospects for the IBM public cloud is that they are currently Power Systems users running and using production workloads. The new Power Cloud offering with Power Systems now makes available the ability to do High Availability and Disaster Recovery, in an offsite environment at a low cost, where the infrastructure is managed using the cloud paradigm. For sure, the IBM cloud environment is also applicable to dev/test where the pay as you go model for application development and system testing is usually a lower cost than on-premise infrastructure costs. This also enables new OS and application testing on the latest Power Systems for validation. And, you can certainly run production workloads in the IBM Cloud on Power Systems either stand-alone or with connectivity to your on-premise back end systems or information databases. Right now, the cloud support is offered for AIX and IBM i only, with Linux coming in the future.
Technically speaking, the announcement is from the IBM Cloud group, but the Power environment will be primarily implemented and supported by the Cognitive System team (aka Power Systems). IBM is providing enterprise level cloud support of Power systems on the IBM cloud. By accessing https://cloud.ibm.com/catalog, under compute, you will see the ability to create a Power Systems virtual machine with either AIX or IBM i.
The pay-as-you-go Power Systems IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is enabled with
- Power Systems S922s with up to 20 cores, or
- Power Systems E880Cs with up to 160 cores
The cores are either shared or dedicated, and they are provided in ¼ core increments.
The environment is multi-tenant managed by PowerVM and PowerVC. Memory can be allocated from 8GB to 64GB per core, and there is a higher-priced option available for more than 64GB/core. Storage is on an IBM V7000 and is offered up to 2TB per instance, starting at 10GB and in increments of 10GB. Storage can be Tier 1 (SSD) or Tier 3 (HDD). As more storage may be needed, IBM also offers Cloud Storage.
The Power Virtual Server on IBM Cloud offering is accessed by public IP and is supported up to and including the OS versions of AIX 7.1 or 7.2 and IBM i 7.2 and 7.3. IBM i 7.4 is coming soon, as it has just become generally available. Linux will be offered later in 2019, as will 950s or 980s (TBD). The environment also supports bring your own images.
I find the pricing attractive, and it is billed on a monthly basis, by hourly usage. For additional support for increased persistent and larger storage, private and higher speed networks, firewalls, etc., the standard IBM Cloud offerings are available. Access is granted and billed based on a user-created id and credit card information provided on the cloud.ibm.com site.
Cloud Workshops to get Started
To assist users in architecting and implementation, IBM is offering three fee-based customized workshops from Lab Services:
1. Cloud Design Workshop – this examines the client’s on-premise and Power in the cloud requirements, and it creates a blueprint for implementing the most suitable solution. This will include technical understanding of available on-premise and Power in the cloud solutions, list of target workloads from client’s inventory, cloud design, etc.
2. Moving Power Workloads to the Cloud – this service will assist the client with moving on-premise Power Systems workloads to Power in the cloud, based on a plan jointly developed with the client. This will include moving a defined set of on-premise workloads to the cloud, use of standard AIX and/or IBM i templates, create client templates, connect Power workloads to other cloud services, etc.
3. Advanced Management of Power in the Cloud – this service will assist a client with advanced management of Power workloads in the cloud, based on a plan jointly developed with the client. This will include fine tuning performance, backups, HA between on-premise, the cloud, multi-cloud solutions, etc.
Power Systems in the IBM Cloud offers a great way to experience the benefits of cloud computing, while retaining the availability and performance of IBM Power systems.
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