In the past, there were not many cloud options for IBM i customers. That is all changing as IBM i computing is now generally available to deliver hybrid cloud options. IBM, a vocal supporter of hybrid cloud solutions, just took another step by enabling some of the last of its platforms, IBM i and AIX, to leverage cloud services on IBM Cloud.
IBM first talked about the IBM i cloud offering at its Think conference in San Francisco back in February, and alpha tests for the service began about the same time reported IT Jungle. Kris Whitney, a senior technical staff member at IBM’s Rochester lab said that the beta testing for IBM’s IBM i cloud offering IBM i versions 7.2 and 7.3 stated on May 17 and became generally available just last week.
IT Jungle reported that customers will have a choice of deploying their IBM i virtual machine on a Power S922 or an E880. The servers will run either in IBM’s data center in Dallas or a data center near Washington D.C.
Per the press release, IBM’s Power Systems Virtual Servers will provide a platform to assist AIX and IBM i workloads for public or private clouds or on premises in order to simplify business processes and expand operational efficiencies. IBM Cloud capabilities will aid the company to upscale business operations in North America.
What is Hybrid Cloud Computing?
As IBM takes hold of hybrid cloud computing, many still need clarification on what hybrid cloud computing is. Hybrid cloud is a cloud environment that uses a combination of on-premises, private cloud and third-party public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. Hybrid cloud gives organizations more flexibility and data deployment options as workloads are able to move between private and public clouds as needed.
Reasons why enterprises would choose a public cloud service would be to access compute instances, take advantage or storage resources, or other services with serverless compute capabilities. The downside to this is enterprises have no control over the architecture of a public cloud solution. With a hybrid cloud deployment, organizations must architect its private cloud to achieve compatibility with the desired public cloud or clouds.
Hybrid Cloud Benefits
Hybrid cloud enables organizations to deploy a private cloud to host secure or sensitive workloads and use a third-party public cloud provider to host less-critical data. Hybrid cloud solutions are valuable for dynamic workloads. Users who experience demand spikes could run applications in the private cloud but use cloud bursting to access additional computing resources from a public cloud during demand spikes.
Another benefit of a hybrid cloud solution is big data processing. An organization can use hybrid cloud storage to retain its accumulated business, sales, test, and other data. Then they could run analytical queries in the public cloud.
Hybrid Cloud Challenges
Just like any technology solution, hybrid cloud computing can present challenges for its users. Those specific challenges to be aware of include finding a third-party public cloud provider that is compatible with private cloud workloads. Solid network connectivity is also crucial.
As for the public cloud piece of the hybrid cloud puzzle, there could be connectivity issues, service level agreement (SLAs) breaches and other possible service disruptions. To mitigate these risks, organizations can architect hybrid cloud workloads that can work in conjunction with multiple public cloud providers.
So now that we have a good understanding of the hybrid cloud, let’s turn back to IBM’s recent announcement.
IBM Virtual Servers Enable Choice and Flexibility for Hybrid Cloud
To remain competitive, IBM saw that enterprises were increasingly looking to adopt hybrid cloud strategies to help optimize everything from supply chains to sales. In fact, according to IDC, 90 percent of enterprises will embrace integrated hybrid cloud services, tools, and strategies to support different applications and use cases by 2024.
IBM’s press release stated, IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers delivers AIX and IBM i with fast, self-service provisioning, flexible management for off-premises workloads, and access to our enterprise stack of IBM Cloud services – all in a pay-as-you-go billing model which enables them to scale up on IBM’s enterprise class systems to cater to their unique business needs.
Companies now have increased options to explore hybrid cloud workload scenarios for disaster recovery, dev/test environments and partial IT infrastructure moves on IBM POWER9’s 2xii performance per core compared to x86 Xeon Skylake systems.
For example, an IBM Power Systems client looking to run dev and test supply chain workloads on the public cloud can use the new IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers to provide the ideal scalable solution for this hybrid cloud scenario.
Who is Best Suited for the IBM i Cloud?
This new solution is best suited for customers who want to dip their toes in a cloud solution puddle. It is best for customers who are looking to pay for IBM i logical partition (LPARs) by the hour or day for quick development or testing.
Other candidates for the IBM i Cloud include enterprises that are striving to digitally transform their business methods. IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers in the IBM Cloud were designed so clients will be able to:
- Quickly and economically provision IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud within minutes, on-demand to facilitate scaling up and out.
- Deploy their workloads with interoperability between Power and x86-based systems in the IBM Cloud where they want with flexible, secured management.
- Choose their deployment by selecting their customizable system’s cores, storage, network, OS, and more.
- Unlock cloud services at their fingertips with IBM’s enterprise-stack of high value IBM Cloud services including analytics, AI, security, Blockchain and more.
- Leverage a heterogenous hybrid cloud infrastructure with both IBM POWER9-based and x86-based virtual machines.
Companies that plan to take advantage of this hybrid cloud technology should note that it is still in the beta stage and excuse any bugs that are experienced. IBM does not provide managed services for customers, so businesses will need to vet companies to provide IBM i administration support. LightEdge provides managed services to our customers on our cloud and can extend this solution to organizations that plan to use IBM i Cloud.
How LightEdge is Similar to IBM
LightEdge looks to augment our compliant IBM i cloud with IBM for those customers that need “disposable” IBM i LPARs. As a certified IBM partner, LightEdge takes IBM’s standard of impeccable service delivery as seriously as they do with a variety of offerings for companies large and small in our highly-interconnected data centers. LightEdge is also a Megaport partner which is complimentary to connecting to IBM Cloud.
IBM deployed the same architecture as their current IBM cloud service providers. What IBM is doing is no different than LightEdge. What is different is the level of security and compliance. While IBM has certain security processes built in, LightEdge is a complete security and compliance partner.
LightEdge’s highly trained compliance and security experts take the guesswork out of keeping your business protected. Our expertise to ensures you are covered through our security and compliance services, including risk management, information security, audit preparedness and support.
LightEdge builds security and redundancy into every detail of our data center facilities and service offerings, and our engineers have the know-how to advise you on meeting your compliance requirements, regardless of industry standard.
Why LightEdge Power Cloud?
As companies look to digitally transform their businesses, they can extend and defend their IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries) and AIX investment through:
- Application Modernization
- Platform Upgrades & Improvements
- Stranded Operating System Remediation
- Disaster Recovery Confidence
- Specialized Expertise
- Cost Containment
- Flexibility to Scale
Virtual Servers for IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries) and AIX on demand. LightEdge will scale unique LPARs for your applications and host them in our compliant data centers, connected to your business over high-speed LAN/WAN or internet.
Customers who require high availability through real-time replication using primetime delivery through fully connected and available hosted LPARs. Leverage a second live system for full redundancy, and the distribution of certain I/O intensive applications for increased performance on your primary system. LightEdge delivers proven High Availability and failover Disaster Recovery to protect against platform or component failure, or to allow for scheduled downtime. This near-zero downtime solution includes quarterly failover testing.
Accelerating the Adoption of Hybrid Cloud
“With cloud adoption taking off among enterprises, today’s news further underscores IBM’s leadership as the world’s #1 hybrid cloud provider,” said Harish Grama, General Manager, IBM Cloud. “By delivering AIX and IBM i with IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud, we are providing businesses with the flexibility to deploy even their most mission critical, data-oriented workloads across any environment – whether in public or private clouds or on premises.”
IBM i remains one of the most automated, fully integrated, and low-maintenance operating environments. As demonstrated with the earlier product launches, IBM is rapidly changing its business model to adapt to competitive challenges and to enable a flexible environment for all of its customers to leverage the company’s extensive resources, expertise, and technology in the age of hybrid computing.
To learn more about the pricing options for IBM Cloud, check out this article, Pricing Revealed for IBM I Slices on IBM Cloud, by IT Jungle.
LightEdge and IBM Hosting Is Here to Open Doors
LightEdge has a dedicated team of IBM experts on staff with a combined 120 years of experience working with IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries), AIX, mainframe environments, and dedicated disaster recovery solutions. Through this team, we have introduced a suite of IBM i on Power solutions that offer clients the same security and reliability they depend on with their AS/400 / iSeries and AIX environments in a flexible, redundant, and cost-effective cloud model. For those wanting access to the latest mainframe / Z Cloud technology for their mission-critical workloads running in the cloud, we have solutions for that too.
IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries) remains one of the world’s most widely-used, core business systems. Designed for data processing and workload-optimized applications, IBM i’s proven reliability and security has made it central to many organizations’ operations for over 30 years.
Despite its widespread use, the legacy aspects of this compute environment make it a challenge to maintain in-house. As demand and necessity for next-generation operating systems, applications, and integration require a balance between old and new, LightEdge has introduced a suite of IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries) and AIX on Power Systems solutions to fill this void.
The LightEdge Power Cloud offering provides specialized solutions to ensure the stability and evolution of your IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries) and AIX environment. Customers can enjoy all the benefits of their secure and reliable IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries) platform with the flexibility and redundancy of cloud built in.
As a proven IBM Delivery Partner, LightEdge operates high-speed data centers built to Tier III standards with leading compliance measures in Des Moines, IA, Kansas City, MO, Omaha, NE, Austin, TX, and Raleigh, NC. We provide customized, yet flexible, SLAs and contracts that enable clients to work in the manner they choose, and deliver total end-to-end IBM platform support or selective outsourcing, as required. LightEdge is one of the few IBM Cloud Service Providers that offers integrated cloud services for Microsoft, IBM i (AS/400 / iSeries), AIX, zOS, and Linux workloads.
What to learn more about IBM Hosting and Cloud Deployment? Download any of our free resources including, Guide to Assessing your Move to the Cloud, How to Deploy a Secure Compliant Cloud for Healthcare, and Redefining you Network Strategy. Also, use our Power Cloud calculator to price your LPAR.
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Roger Mellman is the Director of Business Development Enterprise Solutions for LightEdge, with a special emphasis on IBM i, AS/400, iSeries, System i. Roger has been working with IBM AS/400 environments for more than 20 years.
Throughout his career, he has gained experience in a wide array of information technologies, strategic planning, business process improvement, business continuity planning, system selection and project management.