Power servers

Why I choose IBM i virtualization

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It saddens me to think that there are still many companies out there who view IBM i as just another legacy technology when it is so much more. As technology professionals, it’s our responsibility to stay current in the industry. Just like buying any “big ticket item” in your personal life, you want to do your research to make a well-informed decision. I’ve experienced firsthand that companies are currently looking to move away from IBM i. Why? Because they believe that it’s not well positioned for future growth. Let’s take a shot at busting that myth.

Two common misconceptions about IBM i are that it’s A) not very scalable and B) that it’s very expensive. For these reasons, some companies want to migrate away from the platform. IBM i on Power Systems can be just as cost-competitive and scalable as other OS platforms because of the virtualization capabilities engineered into the platform.

IBM i VMs (virtual machines) can share system resources using PowerVM technology. In fact, the virtualization technology will dynamically manage the allocation of system resources, seamless to the user or system administrator. Since IBM i OS licensing cost is based on the processor, PowerVM allows you to maximize your investment.

Both network and storage resources can be virtualized using a VIOS (Virtual I/O Server.) VIOS provides a basis for connection redundancy and throughput, while simultaneously saving money on hardware costs. Further keeping it simple, a VIOS VM can run on the same IBM Power hardware that is running IBM i VMs.

Although once rumored otherwise, the IBM i OS works very well with external storage. You may be asking at this point, “What if my company doesn’t use SAN storage?” and “No one in our department has VIOS skills.” It’s still possible to employ virtualization in these environments too. With IBM “i hosting i” technology, only one VM owns the hardware resources on the system and they are subsequently shared amongst the other VMs, saving money on hardware costs and reducing complexity in system administration. Another benefit of this technology is the capability to carve out some spare resources to create a test VM for trying out operating system or software upgrades.

Finally, comparable to most other OS platforms, IBM i features network installation for quick and easy deployment of new VMs.

In all these scenarios, you benefit by saving money on hardware costs and also position yourself to quickly and easily allocate more resources when needed. New storage is integrated to the system seamlessly, with no downtime. The options are out there, you just need to do your research! The needs of customers today are being built into current and upcoming IBM i OS releases.

Valerie is an IBM Fresh Face. Meet some of our other IBM Fresh Faces that attended COMMON 2017.

Systems Engineer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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