IBM Unveils Surprise Summer Cloud Capabilities For Power Systems

IBM’s new Dynamic Capacity
 IBM

In what seems like a lifetime ago, back in the first quarter of 2020, IBM announced its Power Systems Private Cloud solutions—a significant step in advancing the company’s hybrid cloud strategy. I believe IBM’s on-prem to public cloud provider approach is a novel one, with a lot of potential, and I’ve been following the company’s efforts in this realm for a while. This week, as July comes to an end, the company announced a handful of additional hybrid capabilities for Power Systems, which I think will put the ball even further down the court for IBM’s hybrid cloud. Let’s take a closer look at the news.

Private Cloud expansions including consumption model

First, IBM announced an expansion of its Private Cloud solutions to include Scale Out systems versus “scale-up” systems. IBM Private Cloud will now be available on the company’s E980, E950, S922 and S924 servers, and can be consumed, by the minute, based upon the amount of active additional capacity used beyond an organization’s base minimum. Capacity can be shared across systems, and customers will not have to fork over any base monthly fees. On that note, IBM also announced an impressively low new base minimum system purchase/lease for its Private Cloud—1 core, with 256GB active memory. I love this, need to do more calculations, but I believe that could be the lowest entry point in the industry. Yes, IBM.

According to IBM, with these new features, the total cost of entry for IBM’s Private Cloud is now 58% lower than it was for the previous generation of Power 9 servers.

An added bonus is IBM’s Cloud Management Console, which the company says gives its customers granular visibility and insights into their consumption (both historical and in real-time), by resource and by Virtual Machine and system. Customers can also automatically monitor and debit against credits, based on their usage per minute.

Extending the reach of Power Public Cloud

We also got some news surrounding IBM’s Power Systems Virtual Servers and the IBM Public Cloud—chiefly that IBM is continuing to expand the global reach of its Virtual Servers, all connected and collocated via the IBM Cloud. These efforts include the opening of new, additional data centers and locations across the world. The closer proximity to these sources should result in a better experience for customers, with reduced latencies and better data locality. In addition to this geographic expansion, IBM says it has increased its overall capacity by approximately 3 times over its POWER9 equivalent cores back at the end of 2019.

Additionally, IBM announced that its efforts to increase support for mission-critical workloads on its Power Virtual Servers are bearing fruit. A recent SAP SD benchmark showed 164,008 users on IBM’s Power Virtual Servers—a world record for cloud environments. Furthermore, IBM announced the addition of SAP HANA mission critical workloads promising “differentiated, granular, and flexible” HANA instances on Power Virtual Servers. IBM claims significant savings (as much as 40%) over AWS and Microsoft Azure’s OTLP pay-as-you-go consumption models, but this reduced cost seemingly does not come at the expense of flexibility, performance, security, and reliability. IBM says customers will benefit from the combination of the benefits of Public Cloud (e.g., quick deployment, flexibility, self-service, and OPEX) and the enterprise-grade performance, memory, security and reliability of its on-prem systems. It’s a powerful value proposition that I believe will appeal to many SAP HANA customers. IBM Power is really, really good on SAP, almost as if its architecture was built for it. Hint: it was. POWER’s memory subsystem, socketing and threading eat up SAP HANA.

Hybrid Cloud Management gets easier

The last area of announcements falls under the realm of Hybrid Cloud Management and application modernization—both crucial aspects of digital transformation in the enterprise. IBM announced the launch of Cloud Pak for Data, Cloud Pak for Applications, and OpenShift 4, support that IBM says will give customers scalable private cloud capacity, on demand, at a cloud-like consumption model. Additionally, IBM announced the availability of Ansible on Power Systems, which promises to automate administrative tasks for AIX and IBM i endpoints, This is a great move because it means IT departments will be able to utilize a common set of tools and skills—Ansible—on both x86 and Power Systems. IBM shared that it has thus far established over 20 automations for AIX and IBM i, with 50 new modules planned for the back half of 2020. Oh, and if the IBM client has Z’s installed, they can manage those as well the same, exact way.

Wrapping up

All of these new capabilities should significantly help IBM strengthen and streamline its hybrid cloud offerings, while also saving dollars with its dynamic pricing for Private Cloud on its Scale-Up servers. I expect that those who traffic in SAP’s mission critical applications will continue to be drawn to Power Systems’ on-prem security, performance and reliability, and its marriage with public cloud flexibility, agility and ease of use. 

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.