BLOG: IBM Power Virtual Servers in the IBM Cloud – March 2021 Update

April 7th, 2021 BLOG: IBM Power Virtual Servers in the IBM Cloud – March 2021 Update

Ron Gordon
Director » Power Systems

The interest and adoption of the IBM Power Virtual Server on IBM Cloud offering has been tremendous since its introduction in 2019. The key reasons are the flexibility of the IBM Power VS offering to support the various needs of IBM Power Systems customers and IBM’s commitment to update and adapt to the needs of customers wanting a cloud or a hybrid cloud solution. IBM made several additions, changes, and enhancements to what is now called Power VS as a shortened name. In the past year there has been a great deal of customer integration and migration of applications and workloads to the Power VS. Along with this migration, IBM has continued their roadmap plan as well as listening to market demands and customer input to augment their rollout. Let’s take a look at some of these upgraded functionalities.

 

Did someone say more economical?

Yes, Power VS is now more economical. First, there has been a price reduction of up to 25% for cores and memory usage. There is further cost savings and reduced network pricing with the removal of charges for redundant 5 Gbps Direct Link connections to the IBM Cloud. And, customers can now use Power Cloud rewards to fund any or all of the three Lab Services workshops to design, implement, and manage Power VS cloud solutions.

 

Enhanced software support

Software support and licensing of AIX 7.1 and 7.2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux, and IBM i is a welcome enhancement for all customers.

 

Good news for IBM i customers

The support of Power VS on AIX 7.1 is a key update for IBM i users. Also, good news for IBM i customers is the ability to “bring their own license” to Power VS in the IBM Cloud which offers a significant cost savings since “usage” charges of IBM i in cloud partitions can now be reduced significantly, preserving their investment in IBM i software. Also, for IBMi users, monthly licenses of i Series Cloud Storage Solution, Power HA, Rational Developer for i-Series, and DB2 Query are available.

 

Power Linux

For Power Linux users, Linux is now supported on Power VS, with SUSE and Red Hat, including Red Hat OpenShift. You can also BYOL and build a customer Power VS LPAR or provision a prebuilt Linux LPAR from Power VS standard images.

 

Virtual Tape Library (VTL)

IBM Power VS is now enabled for VTL services with the ability to load tape data into the VTL for deployment into Power AIX and IBMi-Series LPARS. This feature has had many customer requests.

 

High Availability, Backup, and Disaster Recovery

The highest implemented use cases are high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR). Since there are two Power VS data centers in the United States, customers can establish a DR plan for workloads running on the IBM Cloud platform (offered through public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud models) with failover DR set up between Dallas and Washington, D.C. For HA requirements when running in the IBM Cloud on Power VS, there are several new and updated support capabilities. One that stands out is the new ability to create a snap image of a running AIX or IBM i running LPAR with the associated data. This is snapped as an OVA image and can be loaded into IBM Cloud Object Storage (iCOS) and then recalled as needed. Additionally, in AIX 7.2, there is now an OVA command to capture an LPAR image, thus eliminating the need for Power VC to create an OVA.

For users of Power HA System Mirror, remember that your license is to your enterprise and you will normally need a new HA license for your cloud environments. IBM now offers a monthly license for Power HA System Mirror on Power VS if desired. Also, Power VS is now supported by Veeam and can provide automatic LPAR restart. For IBM i users, Backup, Recovery, and Media Services (BRMS) are now supported with the use of iCOS and can also be used as a migration option to move workloads to the Power VS cloud. (Remember that the Power VS systems are managed by PowerVC and, as such, OVA images and partition restarts can be automated. While you do not have direct access to PowerVC, there are APIs enabled that are available to you as well as tools such as Red Hat Ansible.) IBM Power VS also supports IBM Spectrum Protect (aka TSM) and there are IBM GTS services to enable Backup as a Service (BaaS). Overall, these capabilities and services should be investigated for all customers looking at running production workloads.

 

Security and Compliance

Another key area of interest to many people is security and compliance. IBM is filling out the portfolio of support for security and compliance and at this time SAP, SAP Hana, Oracle (DB BYOL license and RAC for AIX) are certified for Power VS and for compliance, GDPR and NIS certifications are complete, and HIPPA, SOC 1, SOC 2, and FedRamp are in plan or under review.

 

International Requirements

For customers with international requirements, in addition to Power VS support in Washington, D.C. and Dallas, there is also Power VS location support in Toronto, Frankfurt, and London with planned centers in Montreal, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Osaka, and Tokyo.

 

Additional Information

Overall, you can see that IBM is committed to the support of Power Systems in their cloud and they are also listening to customers about requirements and expansion of capabilities to match those of on-prem solutions.

To learn more about the IBM Power Virtual Server on the IBM Cloud, contact your Mainline Account Executive directly, or reach us here Our team of architects and engineers are available to assist you in analyzing your on premises and cloud environments and helping you create migration plans for your workloads.

 

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