Virtualization is available for all of our Power Systems servers. IBM pioneered virtualization 40 years ago on the mainframe, and, with 40 years of experience we know a little bit about it. Taking that expertise and applying it to our Power hardware enables us to provide a very rich set of functionality in the virtualization environment. The result is a high level of efficiency, scalability and performance with the combination of the Power architecture and PowerVM. Linux takes advantage of all of that.
To support our commitment to performance in the POWER architecture, we make our own microprocessors. We are one of the very few chip companies that are left in the world. There are not many others that can afford the investment to make microprocessors. We use our Power technology in small one-socket blade servers as well as 32-socket Power 795s - so we have tremendous performance and scalability across our Power line. And each of those has a shared set of DNA. Each of the processors have many cores and can support multiple threads, resulting in increased processor throughput. That means the Power architecture is very good for workloads that need to do a lot of things at the same time.
As an example of the cost savings and scalability that can be enabled with Power Systems hardware, GHY International, a leading provider of Canadian and U.S. customs brokerage service and international trade solutions, has greatly simplified the management of large amounts of data, achieving new efficiency and performance.
Flexibility is a major differentiator of IBM Power Systems. With Power, organizations can dynamically reallocate resources on the fly. You could have a virtual machine running an email workload and if you needed more resources, you could dynamically move those resources over to that virtual machine. We can do that in a way that is very transparent to the application and the end user, and we can do that dynamically or on a scheduled basis. This also enables flexibility in allocating resources to different geographies at different times of the day, or providing resources to different workloads at different times of the day.
Power is also highly supportive of private cloud environments because Power enables rapid provisioning and movement of virtual machines between servers. Customers can quickly deploy a new web workload, or take a web workload from one server and move it to another if they need to do a hardware upgrade. If they want to save energy, they can start powering things down and consolidate, say, on two boxes instead of five.
With Power, customers can also dynamically suspend and resume workloads. This is a good way to handle a situation in which you don’t need a workload running right now but you also don’t want to go through the process of shutting it down and restarting it. You just capture it and redeploy it at a later time, at a different date, or on a different system.
Virtualization on Power provides a high degree of efficiency because of the way our virtualization is implemented on the Power hardware. It is actually integrated with the hardware. Our competitors have a software layer from a company such as VMware or others that sits on top of yet another company’s server hardware - an HP or Sun server - and so the virtualization software is not as tightly coupled to the hardware. We make highly efficient use of our hardware and our benchmarks always include the virtualization layer because there is no way to turn it off. In contrast, our competitors’ benchmarks almost always are demonstrated on the metal directly. In fact, IBM has achieved multiple leading benchmark results for the Linux operating system running on the IBM Power 730 Express, which bested comparable hardware platforms running Linux or Windows. As the benchmark results show, IBM Power Linux systems are more powerful than traditional x86 servers used for Linux applications. This is due to the raw performance advantage of the POWER7 processor, superior memory bandwidth, and workload optimizing technologies included within the system like PowerVM virtualization technology.
Reliability is another key attribute of Power. We have taken IBM’s heritage in developing mission-critical systems and built that same reliability into our Power chips and Power architecture. Linux gets tightly coupled to that so that the processors and the Power system can communicate with Linux. If, for example, a processor is recording errors, generally there would not be much communication in an x86 commodity server environment between the hardware and the Linux operating system. However, with Power, if there is a problem, that can be communicated to Linux just like it would be in our UNIX or IBM i environments.
But the bottom line for all enterprise IT environments is security. There have been no security vulnerabilities reported with Power VM. Not one of our competitors can say the same thing. This is an indication of the availability of the applications you put on the platform. If you start consolidating mission-critical workloads with virtualization you need to make that the foundation for all the applications is rock-solid and Power VM has a proven track record in that regard.
Strong support for virtualization, performance, scalability, flexibility, support for clouds, efficiency, reliability, security and availability – these are all attributes that add up to a strong value proposition for PowerLinux customers.
Vice President, PowerLinux Strategy and Business Development
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