IBM® has big plans for the Power Virtual Server offering, which is IBM’s virtual machine as-a-service offering based on IBM Power® Systems for AIX®, IBM i and Linux workloads. Over the last year, there’s been a concerted effort to make the offering even more compelling to clients looking to move their Power Systems workload to the cloud. Unlike an on-premises server purchase, a cloud service improves iteratively as new features are delivered behind the scenes and the savings quickly add up. Let’s look under the hood to see what’s changed.


Power10, the latest generation of IBM Power Systems, is now available with Power Virtual Server at a price premium of about 15% over the previous generation. The performance of IBM i workload has increased by an astounding 50%, leading to a reduction in the number of cores needed and, consequently, software license costs based on the core count. Typically, software costs are 5 times as expensive as compute, so every core reduced results in 5x savings on software. 

Furthermore, IBM now offers dedicated hosts for Power Virtual Server, which are best suited for clients who require isolation and need at least 15 cores for their IBM Power workload. Since the host isn’t shared, IBM has designed much more efficient pooling of resources in a shared processor pool. Essentially, this means that clients don’t need to buy peak capacity but can instead scale up to 20x the compute resources available to a needy logical partition (LPAR) by borrowing from others in the pool when needed. Solutions can now be sized for average use, leading to significant cost reductions.


Changes on this front include the addition of 2 new high-performance storage tiers for extremely demanding SAP HANA and Oracle workloads, as well as the flexibility to change storage tiers even after a storage volume is provisioned. This last point again drives significant cost savings, as clients can select the storage volumes that require a higher performance tier, which might cost more based on real-time observations. 


New high-performance networking delivers an excellent client experience, providing simple, fast and user-friendly network connectivity all throughout. The new network solution creates a direct connection to the IBM Cloud® backbone at 10x improved bandwidth, facilitating easy communication between different parts of the IBM network. This enables direct access to IBM cloud service endpoints without the need for customer-installed proxies or network address translation (NAT) on expensive virtual router appliance (VRA) gateway devices, thereby reducing network administration and implementation efforts and costs. 


IBM now offers backup as-a-service for Power Virtual Server workloads at an all-inclusive price that has received rave reviews from clients. There is also the virtual tape library (VTL) solution with stunning compression and deduplication abilities, reducing the storage needed for years of archival data on cost-effective Cloud Object Storage. 

Disaster recovery (DR) 

Newly introduced Cloud-to-Cloud asynchronous storage replication improves resiliency and lowers the cost of DR solutions by avoiding the need for expensive third-party logical replication software at the application layer. Also, the reserved capacity feature using shared processor pools at a DR site allows clients to maintain a small footprint in their DR site while being assured of capacity when needed, at the fraction of the cost they would otherwise incur. 

Figure – Power Virtual Server eliminates several on-premises cost line items


Power Virtual Server combines the immutable nature of snapshots and Cloud Object Storage’s ability to find the last known good copy, providing protection from ransomware and other cyberthreats without the need for expensive security products and services.

Power Virtual Server integration with Activity Tracker cloud service enables compliance with regulatory and internal audit requirements. The Activity Tracker records user-initiated activities that change the state of a service in IBM Cloud and identifies security incidents, including unauthorized access. 

Clients who need to keep complete control over their data can use the integration with IBM Cloud’s Hyper Protect Crypto Services for a dedicated Hardware Security Module (HSM) on the cloud with “Keep Your Own Key” level of encryption key protection. This offers technical assurance that even IBM administrators cannot access the client’s keys.

Software licenses 

IBM i software licenses drive the lion’s share of IBM i solution costs. Therefore, the IBM product management team is laser-focused on optimization techniques. To start with, in 2024, clients can move their existing IBM i license to Power Virtual Server regardless of the status of their software maintenance agreement. That’s a direct saving of 50% on the largest cost line item.


Monitor the central processing unit (CPU) and memory usage of your virtual machine (VM), as well as network and storage performance by readily integrating with IBM Cloud monitoring dashboards. This is a far simpler and cheaper solution than deploying your own custom monitoring solution. 


Move data at the highest speed regardless of size, distance or network conditions with the new transfer and access solution powered by Aspera®. Alternatively, use the backup compression support in Backup, Recovery and Media Services of IBM i to reduce data size and improve transmission time. Furthermore, the BUS4i tile on the IBM Cloud catalog offers a self-service option for cost conscious IBM i clients to migrate their VMs to the cloud at a fraction of the cost it would otherwise entail.  

The common thread across all these solution architecture and design domains, as you’d have noticed, is one of cost savings for clients. Cumulatively, these incremental changes position Power Virtual Server as a value powerhouse driving monster savings for clients, while providing ever more useful functions. Clients who have a full view of their current costs and scope out their Power Virtual Server solutions to eliminate or replace current costs might find that Power Virtual Server delivers upwards of 35% savings in total cost of ownership while modernizing their infrastructure with the agility, flexibility and innovation readiness that their businesses need.

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