Power Systems “Quiet” Announcements and IBM Power Technical University NOLA 

October 26th, 2017

Ron Gordon
Director – Power Systems

IBM Power Systems made a series of software functional changes, but it seems they did it quite quietly, as I see that not many users or support staff are aware of these announcements. Just returning from a very informative and well executed IBM Power Technical University in New Orleans, I thought I’d pass on to you the announcements that I consider important, and that have direct applicability to all of you running AIX, IBM i, or Linux on POWER. I think you will see these changes will benefit performance, management, security, and operations of Power Systems in a very positive way.

AIX: IBM did review that for POWER9 systems, AIX 6.1 will be supported in P7 mode; AIX 7.1 will be supported in P8 mode; AIX 7.2 will natively support P9. There is an updated AIX 7.1 TL5 and AIX 7.2 TL2, which provides improvements in Live Updates using enterprise pool resources, and also supports live update in PowerVC clouds. For open source, AIX now has Ansible, as well as additional Chef recipe cookbooks in the repository of support. AIX has been enhanced to support “flash caching” in PowerVM Shared Storage Pools. An important announcement was made by IBM that the IBM Cloud for Skytap Solutions is now available to support AIX in the public cloud.

RedHat Linux: RHEL 7.4 is now available. RHEL 7.3 support and certification for SAP Hana on Power has been announced, along with a RedHat for SAP Applications product also available to provide extended functionality. RedHat announced in September, they will provide a consistent experience across the Power, x86 and z environments. I believe this is significant. If the functionality and interface is consistent across platforms, then you can finally choose the best platform for the application, with implementation and management consistency for architects and administrative people. I also consider the following significant in RHEL 7.4: support of HA; FIPS 140-2 and EAL4+ certification; resilient storage extension; RedHat joined the Open Power Foundation as a Platinum member; and, Open Container runtime extensions. These enhancements are significant for Power workloads, and they also provide consistency with x86 systems.

PowerVM 2.2.6: Available now with enhancements to performance and LPM.

PowerSC 1.1.6: Extended with real-time malware alerts and the availability of a new product, PowerSC MFA (multifactor authentication), which is an add-on to PowerSC.

HMC 8.7.0: While we continue to have the CR9 x86 based HMC, we now have v-HMC, where the HMC code can be installed on a user-supplied x86 system (on Linux). We now have the HMC code that can be installed on a Power-based LC server, as well. We also have the HMC code that can be installed in a PowerVM partition, on a Power Server… this implementation of the HMC cannot manage the server it is installed on. These HMC implementations function just as the CR9. Also, please note that the “classic” user interface has been discontinued, and only the “advanced” user interface is now on HMC 8.7.0 and future updates.

PowerVC 1.4: Enhancements have been made to support the capture of live partitions, and to support KVM capture/deploy/manage on Power LC servers running Ubuntu. Additionally, a new product has been introduced, and it is named IBM Cloud PowerVC Manager for SDI (software defined infrastructure). This product is the integration of IBM Cloud PowerVC Manager and Spectrum Scale (GPSS), and it allows for non-SAN storage management which, will be very useful for IBM i customers, as well as customers running HPC clusters and analytic clusters.

PowerHA System Mirror: PowerHA 7.2.2 is released with a new user interface and an additional support for clusters. Coming soon is PowerHA for Linux on Power, which will be very useful in extending the customer skills used with AIX to support the new Linux critical workloads with the same HA technology.

IBM i: IBM i presented their roadmap through 2022, as well as a set of survey results of IBM i usage. Survey says 7.3 has 14% usage; 7.2 has 34% usage; 7.1 has 54% usage. As support for 7.1 will be discontinued, there is a need to plan for upgrading to 7.3.

IBM Cloud Private: IBM introduced a product which provides an on-premise dev/test system that mirrors what a public cloud would provide, for the development of Cloud applications.

It appears that IBM has been hard at work adding new capabilities and function that many of our customers have been asking for. IBM has announced more function than I presented in this brief blog, as I mainly focused on what I believe is significant.

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