IBM Systems Lab Services

Enhance your IBM PowerVC experience with DevOps

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Have you been thinking about taking your IBM Power Systems virtualization to the next level? What about workload orchestration and DevOps integration? Have these been in a wish list that you never get to? Don’t worry, help is on the way.

IBM PowerVC has been around for over five years now and has matured into being a cornerstone for IBM Power Systems clients around the world. Many organizations in the Middle East and Africa — the region where I work — have already adopted it, and now we’re working hard to enhance our clients’ experience by complementing their PowerVC with DevOps integration.

While DevOps is a concept for orchestrating software development, quality assurance and organizational operations, many products have attempted to materialize it into definitive practices. Within the IBM Power Systems management arena, I like to think of DevOps as guiding the solutions and processes for achieving such goals. It uses automation to simplify a wide range of activities, including systems hardening, patching, continuous integration, continuous delivery and access control, to name a few.

Preferred DevOps solutions for IBM Power Systems

Chef, Ansible and BigFix are DevOps solutions that can be integrated with IBM PowerVC to accomplish development-operations integration processes.

A few major banks in the Middle East have already integrated Chef as a complementary solution to PowerVC. They have found that they can take advantage of its existing library (and possibly expand it) to achieve most of the goals DevOps has to offer.

Additional clients are considering Ansible with PowerVC for DevOps on IBM Power Systems. Ansible offers a super simple approach to DevOps that can get you going in minutes. Literally.

IBM BigFix integration with PowerVC is a brand-new proposition with a client in the UK that poses a great potential for DevOps for IBM Power Systems clients, as it aggregates patch management and DevOps in one stack.

Which DevOps solution is a better fit for you?

IBM Systems Lab Services can help determine which solution is the best for a specific organization as part of our comprehensive Cloud Design Workshop, which also discusses your readiness for a private cloud as well as use cases and sizing based on your data center specifics. IBM Systems Lab Services offers this workshop among a range of services to help clients gain the agility, flexibility and efficiency benefits of cloud computing.

I definitely recommend the workshop to clients I work with, but as you start thinking about what DevOps solution might be a good fit for you, the following are a couple of guidelines to consider:

  • Chef is a client-server based solution with a cookbook for AIX on the chef.io website. It was started in 2014 and continues to evolve, and “Pull” (where action is initiated by the Chef client) can be used for recipe execution. You can also develop your own recipes with Chef using the Ruby programming language.
  • Ansible is one of the fastest growing DevOps solutions due to its simplicity and ease of adoption. It now ships by default in some Linux distributions. AIX modules in the Ansible playbook were off to a good start last year. Playbook authoring from ad-hoc commands is simple and intuitive while more modules are being developed and contributed to the AIX online playbook. Ansible typically uses “Push” from the server.
  • While BigFix is not a typical DevOps solution and is generally promoted for patch management, last year IBM Systems Lab Services inaugurated this promising proposition of PowerVC and BigFix for a DevOps solution with a client. With BigFix continuing to perform its wonderful security compliance and patch management job, it can now be integrated with PowerVC in a post-deploy manner. It only uses the “Pull” mechanism to perform a wide range of DevOps operations that Chef, Ansible and the like are capable of.

As IBM Power Systems strives to be a leader in the DevOps space, we are hoping to make more organizations — especially existing PowerVC clients — aware of these solutions for IBM Power Systems. Please contact us in IBM Systems Lab Services for any of your needs on PowerVC and DevOps; we have proven expertise to help you design, build and deliver cloud solutions and we’ll be glad to help.

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