IBM Places Power Systems at the heart of its hybrid cloud strategy

By | 5 minute read | March 24, 2021

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Customers know that IBM’s top strategies are hybrid cloud, AI and application modernization. These strategies support customers’ accelerated moves to hybrid cloud, and to more versatile, flexible business systems suited to “new normal”business conditions. The new normal world demands security, greater efficiency, and more consistency— with no room for errors, security flaws or slowdowns.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers’ top priorities are to meet new and changing business conditions by:

  • Developing and testing modernized applications rapidly
  • Migrating well-established business applications to the cloud
  • Scaling workloads to meet new patterns of end-user access and demand

What customers may not know is that IBM is placing IBM Power Systems at the center of all three of those top strategies in the hybrid cloud. IBM’s February 2021 announcements show that Power Systems are important platforms for application modernization, deployment and management as customers update their critical applications to run in the hybrid cloud— spanning data centers, private clouds and public clouds.

Businesses are putting hybrid clouds to work in the real world

Modernization is a broad term, bringing forward important transactional applications and data, speeding performance— and making them more efficient and flexible to match changing business conditions. It is a process that can be performed by in-house DevOps teams, by outside resources— or by both, working together.

When the cloud revolution began in 2008-2009, it was driven by rapidly changing economic conditions that favored rapidly deployed services over infrastructure build-outs. Business executives could start application development and testing projects by charging their corporate credit card.

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, is accelerating a new wave of cloud migrations, as many business applications are being reinvented (modernized) for use in the hybrid cloud. Subscription-based, pay-as-you-go cloud services are the modern equivalent of the credit card for cloud computing.

The modernization process now underway allows businesses to leverage cloud economics to link back-office and customer-facing systems. In many cases, it’s the first time these “front” and “back” IT systems are being seamlessly connected and managed – often by a single operations team.

Power Systems fit the needs of application modernization projects, with their support of Red Hat OpenShift containers, open-source Kubernetes for orchestration and Red Hat Ansible for application deployment. Power Systems are well-known as engines for AI/ML data analytics, working with on-premises and off-premises data resources to improve business outcomes by finding patterns in the data.

It’s worth noting that, for both scale-up and scale-out deployments, Power Systems host customers’ custom applications, SAP ERP, SAP/HANA, EPIC health care applications, and SAS analytics across Linux, AIX and IBM i environments. All of these environments run side-by-side on Power Systems— and all of them scale up by tapping more POWER processor cores, as user demand for resources grows.

Three customer examples

Here are examples of global brand-name enterprises actively engaged in updating older systems, building new ones— and harmonizing all of them by managing them together in a unified, flexible framework:

  • Coca Cola European Partners is running SAP enterprise applications on HANA platforms in the hybrid cloud. This multi-national company, with offices across the European continent, is scaling up SAP processing with clusters of Power Systems, meeting growing demand for end-to-end services.
  • Delta Airlines. Delta announced that it is working with IBM Cloud to accelerate cloud migration for its industrial-strength enterprise applications—as its business units develop new cloud-native apps for passengers to use. In the hybrid cloud, some of the airline’s key workloads will run on Power Systems across the world, and some will run on IBM Z mainframes in the IBM Cloud.
  • Shree Cement Ltd., one of the largest cement providers in India, is scaling up its IT resources by running OpenShift containers on clusters of Power Systems. Their applications are running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and IBM AIX Unix resources, including scalable databases running on IBM Power Systems.

Getting ready for business tasks ahead

Re-writing mission-critical applications can be just as tough as updating an airline schedule while the company’s fleet of planes is in-flight around the world. Time is of the essence for DevOps groups. So are reliability and flexibility for a worldwide customer-facing airline that needs its systems to be available 24 x 7.

These factors are the main drivers for change in the new normal environment around the world. Things cannot remain as they were, because there were too many “islands of automation” that could not work together easily. For many businesses, finding platform-specific skillsets to manage all of their systems was— and is— difficult. By pulling compute, storage and network resources together in a consistently managed hybrid cloud, customers can harness substantially more processing power more quickly than before.

By deploying in the hybrid cloud, modernized applications will run, literally, all over the world, across all major time zones. With accelerated migrations, companies will move more quickly to hybrid cloud— tapping both cloud-native applications and enterprise applications.

The common elements for these end-to-end modernized solutions, across platforms, are Red Hat Open Shift containers to deploy applications across multiple host systems (Power, x86 and z), and Red Hat Ansible management software. Power Systems, running Linux, AIX and IBM i, play important roles in modernization projects, supporting DevOps teams for app/dev, and hosting production applications and data as demands grow.

IBM’s recent Power announcements provide scalable resources and flexible pricing across the hybrid cloud. The Power Private Cloud with Dynamic Capacity offer allows customers to gain cloud-like consumption-based pricing as more POWER9 processor cores are added to support fast-growing workloads. This offer will be extended to POWER10 processors when they ship in Power Systems later this year.

Summing up

Hybrid cloud and modernization allow enterprises to align their business objectives with their IT goals for high availability, resiliency and flexibility. These businesses have a consistent operating model that links their data centers, private clouds, and public clouds deployed across the company— and around the world. A hybrid cloud strategy— combining front-end systems for consumers and back-end systems for enterprise applications and financial transactions— directly addresses both of these important aspects of end-to-end enterprise computing.