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Eight great reasons to adopt hybrid cloud with IBM Power Systems

The advantages of adopting hybrid cloud with IBM Power Systems

IBM Power Systems plus IBM Cloud technology offers users a host of valuable business benefits, from scaling out rapidly to full transparency of costs and the ability to test and develop new projects without financial or operational risk 

There is no one-cloud-fits-all option. While the possibilities are endless, the cloud journey can be daunting for enterprises which have unique regulatory and data requirements, extensive IT investments in their on-premise infrastructure, and are currently running anywhere from five to 15 different mission-critical workloads. This is why businesses need to consider a hybrid cloud approach, which helps them to build, deploy and manage applications and data running on-premise, in private clouds and in public clouds. 

With a combination of innovative technology and industry expertise – underpinned with security and a focus on open solutions – IBM Cloud is already helping to move some of the world’s largest enterprises into the next chapter of their cloud journey. Now, users of IBM Power Systems can more easily take part in their own hybrid cloud journey with IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud. 

IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud deliver IBM Power9 virtual machines, with IBM AIX and IBM i, on the IBM Cloud public infrastructure-as-service platform. It’s the best of IBM Power and the best of IBM Cloud in one convenient, economical, self-managed, pay-as-you-use environment. 

There are significant business benefits driving this IBM Power Systems on IBM Cloud hybrid approach, which address the different challenges organisations face as they expand their IT infrastructure beyond on-premise to meet the demands of the digital economy.

1. A pathway to hybrid cloud

Users of IBM Power Systems have historically relied on in-house infrastructure for the raw performance of Power-based processors. But they have been held back from accessing higher levels of flexibility, agility and efficiency because of obstacles to on-premise growth, such as enormous capital outlay, management hassles and risk. IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud now offer an opportunity to realise those benefits, and to help ensure a more seamless and smoother path to cloud based on a hybrid cloud decision framework.

IBM Power Systems users can enjoy fast, self-service provisioning, flexible management both on-premise and off-premise, with access to IBM Cloud services. A pricing model based on pay-as-you-use billing provides full transparency of costs and ensures that organisations know exactly what they are paying for. 

Hybrid cloud offers many ancillary benefits – described below – but one that features heavily in any business case is the ability to scale up and out to meet demand quickly and economically.

“Organisations can turn on provision and get capacity instantly with faster time to value. It is about making IT proactive. It makes sense for organisations that want to modernise their applications to be better equipped for a hybrid multicloud environment,” says Meryl Veramonti, portfolio marketing manager for IBM Cloud. 

“IBM Power Systems users have relied on their on-premise infrastructure and their own datacentres and IT setups. They want to modernise and expand their cloud capabilities, but do not want to pay a huge upfront cost for full migration. Now they don’t have to, because they have a direct path.”

IBM continues to innovate with capabilities that lend themselves towards not only a hybrid cloud model but a hybrid multicloud environment model. With the latest tooling around IBM’s multicloud management, users are able to leverage this offering to develop apps once, and run them anywhere on an open platform architected for their choice of private and public clouds.

2. Modernising infrastructure while maintaining expertise

A proactive and modern IT infrastructure is within easy reach. The migration path to hybrid cloud offers IBM Power Systems users a cost-effective and efficient on-ramp to the cloud in a way that mitigates risk, because they don’t have to change the operating system or the environment with which they are familiar.

“They can keep the operating system and the operating environment and dip their toes in the cloud without a huge upfront cost because there is a pay-as you-go model,” says Veramonti. “There is a head of steam for hybrid cloud because organisations are aware of the benefits, but they want to know exactly how it will work for them and whether they can still do what they do on-premise.” 

An organisation that does not want to shift its entire environment to the cloud, but does want to explore how cloud can benefit their business, is ideally served by IBM Cloud’s migration path to hybrid cloud.

This level of assurance that what works on-premise will work the same way in the cloud is key for IBM’s AIX and IBM i client base. 

“IBM Power Systems have a very specific infrastructure: the build is unique and moving or extending some of their environment to the IBM Cloud is just 

a way to build out from on-premise. It presents a similar environment to their home environment,” says José Rafael Paez, worldwide offering manager for IBM Systems.

3. Cost-effective, low-risk capacity

Organisations that have run into obstacles regarding capacity and wish to use cloud to expand without any costly upfront investment in more equipment or a huge upgrade programme can now reap the rewards. 

Choosing IBM Cloud makes sense for IBM Power Systems users that understandably want to avoid unnecessary risk in migrating critical IT infrastructure. 

“Historically, moving on-premise infrastructure to the cloud is not an easy switch and is a big learning curve,” says Paez. “The ease of transformation and the knowledge that the migration will work compared with choosing a competitor’s cloud platform, which can introduce risk, is a top business benefit for choosing IBM Cloud for risk-averse people.” 

Veramonti cites the example of a manufacturing company that didn’t want to spend more money on outdated on-premise equipment. “They wanted their infrastructure to work with the cloud to gain more power and memory without risking porting everything over to a new environment,” she says.

4. Effective, lower-cost maintenance

Another attractive proposition for the manufacturing firm in moving to hybrid cloud was the reduction in maintenance costs for workloads running in the IBM Cloud.

“The manufacturer was in charge of maintaining everything on-premise, but in the cloud IBM takes care of maintenance because it is all off-premise,” says Veramonti.

The ease of management, as well as the reduction in associated costs, mean that an organisation can rechannel IT resources to focus on innovation rather than keeping the lights on. 

“Organisations that are completely deployed on-premise have to spend a lot of money on hardware, electricity, cooling and operations teams to keep information running with enterprise uptime. Clients using IBM Cloud’s tier-one datacentre will have access to IBM capability and backbone and a high-end infrastructure,” adds Paez.

As well as the flexibility that comes with the guaranteed high performance of IBM Cloud without the maintenance headache, organisations are assured that migration offers an opportunity to make their data more secure.

5. Security and business continuity

Many organisations are rightly concerned about security and business continuity in the digital age, when data, the lifeblood of any organisation, must be made available to the business 24/7 and be protected from outages, cyber attacks and compromises. There are clear business benefits from strengthening disaster recovery by moving to hybrid cloud, and IBM Power Systems users are keen to capitalise on the IBM Cloud for this reason.

“A cloud strategy for disaster recovery has minimal risk by ensuring two locations – one on-premise and one as backup in the cloud,” says Veramonti.

This is an important business advantage for all IBM Power Systems users, big and small. They can enhance business continuity planning and de-risk their on-premise environment.

“Organisations want geo-diversity and by deploying in IBM Cloud datacentres they can gain that diversity,” says Michael Daubman, worldwide offering manager for IBM Cloud Infrastructure Services, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software.

Daubman points out that IBM Cloud has datacentres with the IBM Power Systems Virtual Server offering in the US, Germany, and soon in many other countries (including the UK in early 2020), which provides organisations with high availability and the opportunity to capitalise on a cloud-based disaster recovery strategy.

6. Development and testing on the latest technology

Another business benefit is that organisations gain access to up-to-date hardware technology, such as the latest IBM Power9 servers. If they want to develop and test software, this is an attractive proposition.

Developing and testing applications is fundamental for the future of any organisation and its ability to innovate. Understandably, many are hesitant about devoting finite on-premise resources to projects that have an inherent risk. A hybrid cloud strategy therefore makes economic sense. The business can use IBM Cloud to develop and test new projects without committing large-scale resources on something that is yet to be proven.

Organisations can get access to new hardware and can develop and test in a flexible cloud model. Power10 will come quickly and when it does we’ll leverage it in the cloud,” says Daubman

From a skills perspective, organisations can also benefit from the best minds behind IBM Cloud. “Who knows Power10 better than the people who build the hardware platform?” he adds

Operational risk is reduced and organisations get access to best-practice architecture and the flexibility provided by IBM Cloud.

“Flexibility is assured because provisioning is managed through a set of application programming interfaces and there is no need to buy and drop in new hardware,” explains Daubman.

The choice of cloud provider is critical to the success of any business pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy; IBM Power Systems users can be reassured that by using their existing relationship with IBM, they have a quality cloud provider with a global reach of datacentres, skills and network.

7. Transparent pay-as-you-go pricing

Risk mitigation in IBM Cloud extends to an openness regarding price. 

“IBM Power Systems on IBM Cloud has transparent pricing. There is no risk or upfront cost. It is 100% owned and operated by IBM Cloud. We have global datacentres across the cloud and data never leaves our hands,” says Veramonti.

Pricing models are not only transparent, but can be customised for individual organisations to suit their specific needs.

“Organisations are charged hourly and billed monthly. They can turn on or turn off cloud resources depending on their needs – for example, Black Friday for a retailer or a seasonal spike in demand for Christmas where there is an influx of data that requires backup. The applications can then be turned off after the holiday season,” says Veramonti.

In the digital economy, this level of flexibility is an especially attractive business benefit. “You do not have to pre-buy capacity for your peak, which makes sense from a cost, management and operational perspective,” says Daubman.

8. Support from IBM Cloud

Demand for skilled IT professionals is increasing as business becomes more data driven. By adopting a hybrid cloud strategy, IBM Power Systems users can access IBM Cloud’s skilled teams around the globe, as well as state-of-the art technology to meet all their needs – from scaling out quickly to managing costs, and being able to test and develop without exposure to financial and operational risk.

These benefits make a compelling case for IBM Power Systems users to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy to future-proof their business. Increasingly, keeping all systems on-premise is becoming a business risk. 

Migrating to IBM Cloud makes sense for IBM clients that want to:

  • Grow their business;
  • Deploy workloads where and when they want them in an IBM Cloud datacentre; 
  • Deploy a resilient, cloud-based disaster recovery strategy;
  • Choose a deployment that is fully customisable;
  • Adopt cloud services to gain access to all the skills, services and added value that the global IBM Cloud network can provide.

Three core scenarios for migrating IBM Power Systems workloads to the IBM Cloud

Core scenarios driving the migration of workloads to the IBM Cloud

There are strong business cases for users of IBM Power Systems to make the move to the cloud, especially regarding business continuity and disaster recovery provision, testing and development, and application modernisation

There is an increasingly compelling business case for organisations to leverage the public cloud for a hybrid environment. For IBM Power Systems users, that path has become even more attractive since the launch of IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud, offering a route to run IBM AIX and IBM i workloads easily in the cloud that is cost effective, efficient and low risk.

When considering why and how to migrate, organisations must look at the opportunities and the practicalities of implementation.

Why migrate to IBM Cloud?

For IBM Power Systems clients that have typically relied on a wholly on-premise infrastructure, IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud provides a fast and reliable method for spinning up resources in the public cloud. With a pricing model that avoids capital expenditure, it is easy to scale out rapidly, while paying only for what you use is an attractive proposition for organisations that want to test, develop and flexibly grow infrastructure utilisation without having to buy new equipment.

IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers deliver IBM AIX or IBM i with IBM Power9 processor-based virtual machines on IBM Cloud. The advantages are it is a multi-tenant, self-managed, Power-as-a-service in IBM Cloud with consumption based operational expenditure pricing.

IBM Cloud Virtual Server environments deliver full infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities. For IBM Power Systems on IBM Cloud instances, organisations are billed for hourly metering in a pay-as-you-use subscription model. Clients receive self-service virtual server lifecycle management with a pool of compute, memory, storage and network infrastructure. Organisations access the cloud through client-owned IBM Cloud resources and bring their own operating system (OS) images or leverage available OS images.

A further advantage comes for organisations with limited internal skills and resources looking to explore a top-tier hybrid cloud. IBM Cloud manages and supports all the state-of-the-art infrastructure layers up to the operating system, which gives clients the peace of mind that their data and business continuity are in safe hands. 

By examining three of the main use cases driving migration – disaster recovery, software development and testing, and production application hosting – organisations can work with IBM Cloud to employ the latest best practices for a successful project.

IBM Cloud for disaster recovery

One IBM client, a furniture retailer based in Florida, decided to migrate to IBM Cloud to boost its business continuity and disaster recovery capability.

“The company was being hit more and more by weather events and needed to strengthen disaster recovery,” says Michael Daubman, worldwide offering manager for IBM Cloud Infrastructure Services, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software.

By choosing IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud, the retailer did not have to purchase an additional data centre to supplement its on-premise deployment, and gained the agility of a public cloud within the controlled and secure environment of a private cloud.

“This offering was designed in the cloud exactly to the best-practice standards of our clients’ on-premise infrastructure,” says Daubman.

The cloud architecture solution was set up with fibre-attached storage, a dual virtual I/O server (VIOS) system for virtual storage redundancy on PowerVM as the hypervisor and DB2 data management products

“It was super important to have an enterprise solution,” says Daubman. 

Provisioning out onto the cloud meant the retailer could scale up and grow an OS image, paying only for what it needs as it grows. The architecture natively leverages Live Partition Mobility to avoid outages, moving AIX and IBM i workloads from one system to another as required, maintaining a highly available solution.

Daubman highlights how, by taking the required best-practice on-premise architecture and replicating it in the cloud, the retailer was given peace of mind, and the knowledge that all its enterprise software would remain fully supported. “The solution is a cloud-consumable version of the industry best practice for on-premise systems. It is an architecture for production enterprise applications,” he says.

The two critical components of the implementation include leveraging PowerVM hypervisor to provide a secure and scalable virtualisation environment for AIX and IBM i workloads; and providing fibre-attached enterprise-scale IBM Cloud storage.

Daubman points out that network-attached storage is very common in cloud deployments, but it introduced latency, so the retailer required a different solution for enterprise power. The fact that many enterprise software providers make support for their applications conditional on similar direct-attached storage was a huge positive factor for the furniture retailer’s implementation.

“Being able to run software in a supported capacity in the cloud is critical. Fibre Attached storage improves performance, and for a lot of software vendors, it is a requirement,” he says.

IBM Power Systems users can be assured that mission-critical applications are protected and future-proofed with IBM hybrid cloud. Data is copied to the cloud and can be accessed by users around the globe.

“Data can be secured faster and distributed faster. IBM Cloud offers resilience in the cloud, and organisations no longer have to add another datacenter in their on-premise environment. They can meet or exceed their investment in recovery time objective and recovery point objective for their disaster recovery plan,” says Meryl Veramonti, portfolio marketing manager for IBM Cloud. 

Disaster recovery might be the initial business case for adopting cloud, but according to Daubman, it often leads to greater uptake for other uses. “Disaster recovery is often a first step in the journey for a client,” he says.

He points to the fact that the retailer’s intention is to build out for production deployment in the cloud and to link with disaster recovery, becoming a more cloud-focused business.

IBM Cloud for development and testing

Organisations that want to migrate IBM Power Systems workloads to IBM Cloud for software development and testing now have an easy route to implementation because they can turn on and switch off resources quickly, which provides flexibility and makes economic sense.

They can gain enterprise systems as a service for fast, low-risk development and test on the latest IBM Power Systems platforms.

“Our offering allows development teams to test new workloads in the cloud. They can provision an instance and turn it off without thinking about nuances and worries. They just spin into the cloud and payment is metered by the hour. It is very affordable testing,” says José Rafael Paez, worldwide offering manager for IBM Systems.

According to Paez, the biggest headache for an organisation around testing in an on-premise environment is caused by the limited capacity available. They will need a certain amount of capacity for development and testing, but often cannot share capacity with the mission-critical workloads that run the business and take priority. For this reason, development and testing are often sectioned off, which comes at a cost.

“Internal management of assets often goes back and forth, with teams trying to achieve just enough capacity for testing,” says Paez.

Access to a sandbox environment in the IBM Cloud to test new software takes these worries away, and also provides links to the IBM Cloud marketplace and applications.

“A common trait of IBM Power Systems clients is that they are risk-averse. They won’t upgrade to the latest version of AIX unless they need to because they don’t want to mess up mission-critical applications. By providing a sandbox testing environment, they can test new versions of OS and new IBM Power Systems boxes in a safe place in the cloud,” says Paez. “They have a separate space for something the company considers risky, which offers a roadmap into an upgrade. They can test new versions of the AIX operating system and the hardware and add new applications from the cloud marketplace in a safe place.”

The temporary sandbox environment for testing, and its use as a step towards deploying production applications on IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud, meets the needs of risk-averse clients who want a remote environment away from critical workloads to test updates and changes. The flexible consumption model is cost-efficient and a stress-free way to evaluate, plan and test next-generation hardware or a new version of the operating system.

With a dedicated link to on-premise connectivity, and IBM Cloud Object Store providing optional backup and custom image hosting, organisations can have peace of mind that testing and developing on IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud is the right move. As well as being able to test hardware before a major refresh, such as Power9, and test complex architecture changes, it also offers an initial step into an organisation’s hybrid cloud journey.

IBM Cloud for hosting production applications

Using IBM Cloud for AIX and IBM i production application hosting is the third major use case where organisations can leverage the flexibility of the cloud to deploy core business applications.

Organisations can run an enterprise-level workload in the IBM Cloud if they want to modernise their IT estate in a risk-averse manner.

“If they run into obstacles over capacity, it can help without having to invest in an on-premise upgrade,” says Veramonti.

Daubman says IBM Cloud gives IBM Power Systems users access to the latest hardware, such as Power9 processor-based servers, and allows IBM Cloud to take over datacentre management below the operating system, for which many organisations do not have the skills.

The implementation process gives users the ability to have load-balancing capability as part of the architecture in IBM Cloud and to pursue a hybrid approach to IT. Organisations can burst capacity into IBM Cloud and not have to worry about management overheads.

“It gives organisations the flexibility between a concrete on-premise infrastructure and a flexible cloud,” says Paez.

He says the hybrid connection with the on-premise environment gives organisations a new level of management they may not be accustomed to.

“A positive experience of hybrid cloud with production application hosting pushes a lot of clients to pursue cloud,” says Paez.

Organisations can manage applications in whichever environment they want with IBM’s multicloud manager.

“A simple demonstration proves that if you have a cloud and on-premise environment, you can move workloads from one environment into the other,” says Paez.

By gaining experience of how IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud works, any preconceptions about blocks and barriers associated with multiple environments are removed, and organisations are encouraged to expand and develop their hybrid cloud use.The ability to add additional capacity on the fly is particularly appealing to organisations that need to respond to a volatile and competitive landscape.

“They want to be able to cope with an influx of usage caused by seasonal spikes, new products, testing a new application and wanting to play around with that application, without the risk of doing it in a real-world scenario,” says Veramonti.

By increasing their cloud portfolio, clients can modernise legacy workloads and gain the reassurance of being able to access the latest IBM Cloud technologies and skills.

“Many organisations are challenged with skills and resources on-premise, and they are using the cloud more and more,” says Daubman.

IBM Cloud for flexible, transparent pricing

Another business bonus for IBM Power Systems users migrating to IBM Cloud comes from licence payments decreasing. Daubman highlights how licensing for the operating system is based on the exact resources you need at the time.

“You are not paying for licences for the whole machine – only what you need at a point in time. Operational expenses are reduced because you are not licensing a machine. It is a virtual machine and you pay based on the processing power you are using,” he says.

Billing transparency allows organisations to budget and plan effectively. In the digital economy, where responsiveness is a prerequisite to success, being able to scale out into the cloud and subsequently de-provision instantly can save significant costs.

“Billing transparency lets organisations look and plan ahead. You don’t have to plan for all the resources you need today. You can double cores in November for Black Friday, and you don’t have to worry about having enough staff on-premise and calling people in during the holiday season,” says Daubman.

A clear path to the IBM Cloud

IBM Power Systems users now have a clear path to the cloud with the introduction of IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers for IBM Cloud. There are strong business cases to make the move, especially for business continuity and disaster recovery provision; testing and development; and application modernisation. These starting points can be used to explore further how an IBM Cloud hybrid focus can strategically help an organisation on its journey to digital transformation.

IBM Cloud’s global geo-diversity and expertise, with a guarantee of security and compliance in an end-to-end approach for the enterprise, are reassuring for IBM Power Systems users. Reliable and continuous security are provided for the client’s environment, and IBM Cloud provides support, management and delivery across the complete cloud environment, using IBM expertise and proven technology. 

Reliability, performance and affordability give peace of mind to enterprises that are considering hybrid cloud. An organisation opting for IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers on IBM Cloud will soon discover how cloud can support its strategic direction towards a digital future.