Director » Power Systems
It’s been a little over a year since IBM announced the IBM Power Systems Virtual Server on IBM Cloud, an IBM Power Systems enterprise infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering. Recently, IBM made several additions, changes, and enhancements to this IaaS offering, including creating a new shortened name for the lengthy Power Systems Virtual Server – Power VS. Since the announcement, there has been a great deal of interest as well as customer 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. This blog provides a review of some of these upgraded functionalities.
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.
Software support and licensing should be a welcome enhancement to all customers. For IBM i users, the 7.1 release is now supported on Power VS. Also, IBM i customers can bring their own license to Power VS in the IBM Cloud which will be a significant cost savings since “usage” charges of IBM i in cloud partitions can now be eliminated. Also, for IBM i users, monthly licenses of i Series Cloud Storage Solution, Power HA, Rational Developer for i-Series, and DB2 Query are available.
For Power Linux users, Linux is now supported on Power VS, with SUSE today and Red Hat coming soon. You can also BYOL and build a customer Power VS LPAR or provision a prebuilt Linux LPAR from Power VS standard images. IBM Power VS is also now enabled for virtual tape library (VTL) services with the ability to bring old tapes over and load them into the VTL for deployment into Power AIX and i-Series LPARS. This feature has had a lot of 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.
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.
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.
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.