Cloud computing has undoubtedly changed how enterprise IT is delivered. It has opened the door to compute and storage resources without limits, as well as a wealth of cloud services (e.g., artifcial intelligence, weather data, etc.) for IT administrators to leverage and create the next wave of enterprise innovation. This paper provides a practical guide for IBM Power SystemTM users to gain an understanding of the POWER® cloud portfolio and how to map out a journey to a secure and reliable hybrid multicloud infrastructure.
Today, cloud computing provides many opportunities to run your enterprise infrastructure more effectively including on-demand access to compute resources, disaster recovery solutions, invisible infrastructure maintenance, security patches and more. Whether you’re creating an on-premises private cloud, leveraging one or more off-premises public clouds (i.e., multicloud) or taking a hybrid cloud approach, cloud infrastructure capabilities can expand your business opportunities.
Given this broad range of technologies, how can IBM Power Systems users, running IBM AIX®, IBM i and Linux® enterprise apps, understand these capabilities and create a technology roadmap in an approachable and methodical manner?
A recent Gartner survey showed that 81% of organizations utilizing public cloud services are using more than one public cloud provider. And, according to the RightScale 2019 State of Cloud report, “Enterprises are prioritizing a balance of public and private clouds.
Hybrid multicloud has become a reality for enterprise and technology leaders. Yet, there is a need for a clear vision of how to navigate and operate in this environment.
A hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines a private cloud and a public cloud by allowing applications and data to be shared between them. A multicloud refers to a cloud environment made of more than one cloud service, from more than one cloud vendor. Thus, a hybrid multicloud combines a private cloud, a public cloud and more than one cloud service, from more than one cloud vendor.
A multicloud strategy can unlock tremendous organizational value because it combines the best of both private cloud and public cloud. It allows organizations to run mission-critical applications and host sensitive data on-premises. It offers the flexibility of public cloud. And, it enables the movement of information between the private and public services.
There are several motivators driving enterprises to construct a hybrid multicloud platform. Let’s explore some of the more prevalent scenarios for POWER customers (several of them are often pursued in parallel):
Users have grown to expect easy and on-demand access to IT resources through a cloud experience. Developers, QA engineers and line-of-business users want simplifed access to infrastructure and applications. IT administrators want trusted enterprise-grade security and simplifed operations. Streamlining all of these processes is made possible by adopting Power Systems hybrid multicloud technologies and processes within the data center.
One of public cloud’s major advantages is that it provides effectively limitless access to compute capacity billed as an operational expense. With a few clicks of the mouse on cloud.ibm.com, users get immediate access to new virtual machines or containers — where they want, when they want. IBM Cloud is the perfect place to spin up QA, production or high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) environments for your Power Systems estate.
Containers, Kubernetes and Red Hat® OpenShift® have unquestionably transformed how software is packaged, installed and operated — paving the way for new software delivery models. To that end, enterprises worldwide are exploring container technology and developing plans on how to integrate them into their technology stacks, while delicately balancing the ongoing business need to deploy, manage, operate and integrate with today’s virtual machine-based applications.
As the industry shifts towards hybrid multicloud, a comprehensive cloud management strategy has become increasingly important. According to the RightScale 2019 State of Cloud Report, “enterprises, optimizing cloud costs (84 percent in 2019 vs. 80 percent in 2018) and cloud
governance (84 percent in 2019 vs. 77 percent in 2018) are growing challenges.” Long gone are the days of building siloed infrastructures. Enterprises are striving towards a model of interconnectedness so that the collective strength of their platforms and cloud providers can be leveraged to create the next wave of innovation.
Shown here in Figure 1 is a hybrid multicloud reference architecture inclusive of the major industry hardware platforms — IBM Power SystemsTM, IBM Z® and x86. Power Systems is architected to economically scale mission-critical data- intensive apps, either virtual-machine based or containerized — delivering industry leading reliability to run them and reduce the cost of operations with built-in virtualization to optimize capacity utilization. It also provides flexibility and choice to deploy apps in the cloud of your choice.
From a cloud deployment perspective, the on-premises private cloud solution includes PowerVC that provides the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) layer and Shared Utility Capacity (previously Enterprise pools 2.0) to deliver a pay-per- use consumption model with permanent activation of installed capacity. These solutions deliver agility and economics of cloud in an on-premises environment while enabling organizations to rapidly respond to shifts in workload demand.
Power Systems servers are also available in the IBM Cloud and other public clouds, providing flexibility and choice to deploy HA/DR, DevTest and more. Sitting atop the infrastructure layer is Red Hat OpenShift, which provides the enterprise Kubernetes platform-as-a-service (PaaS) layer. OpenShift users can run their software of choice, including IBM’s enterprise software delivered via IBM Cloud PaksTM, ISV software, open source software and custom enterprise software. To manage and operate everything from a centralized location, the IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management can be used to connect the historically separate cloud infrastructures. Lastly, the Red Hat Ansible® Automation Platform can be leveraged across the entire landscape to provide a consistent approach to manage all of your operating systems, cloud infrastructures — regardless of the platforms you’re running.
While each organization will have its own unique characteristics, Figure 2 serves as a general blueprint to guide POWER users through the myriad of cloud technologies and remove the mystery from the journey. The path to hybrid multicloud begins with a solid foundation of infrastructure and hardware management capabilities. From there, users are directed towards establishing a cloud experience within their own data center (i.e., a private cloud), offering simplifed virtualization management and operations, advanced automation and a platform to start building innovative cloud-native applications leveraging Red Hat OpenShift, Kubernetes and containers. As a parallel track to establishing a private cloud, it is also recommended to explore the public cloud to spin up QA, production or high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) environments without the need to procure and administer the infrastructure in your data center.
Lastly, users need to establish robust connectivity between their on-premises and off-premises infrastructures so that applications and data can flow seamlessly between the two.
The IBM Private Cloud Solution with Shared Utility Capacity lowers IT acquisition costs and delivers a by-the-minute pay-per-use consumption model in an on-premises environment. The base capacity that a user has to purchase is as low as 1 core and 256 GB. Users can buy capacity credits for resource usage above the base capacity. They can also add multiple systems in the pool. When resource usage exceeds the aggregated base of the pool, capacity credits will be debited in real-time, based on by-the-minute resource consumption.
In addition, Shared Utility Capacity delivers cloud-like economics in both enterprise and scale-out POWER9 based Power Systems. It provides multiple benefts to users. The low base capacity reduces IT acquisition costs by up to 58%. With the fully activated pay-per- use capacity, customers have additional capacity that is only charged when it is consumed. This additional capacity ensures business continuity during demand spikes. With multisystem resource sharing in the pool, customers have the flexibility to balance workloads across systems and optimize resource utilization. The by-the-minute metering also helps users to only pay for the precise capacity they consume.
IBM Power Virtualization Center (PowerVC) provides on-premises enterprise virtualization management for Power Systems, inclusive of AIX, IBM i and Linux guests. Built on OpenStack, it provides a multi-tenant IaaS layer in your data center, allowing administrators to quickly provision new virtual machines in minutes.
It also provides numerous operational benefts such as one-click system evacuation for simplifed server maintenance, dynamic resource optimization (DRO) to balance server usage during peak times, automated virtual machine restart to recover from failures, importing and exporting virtual machine images for cloud mobility and more. It also enables DevOps capabilities such as “infrastructure as code” by way of Ansible or HashiCorp Terraform. Terraform can provision Power resources through PowerVC by leveraging the out-of-box OpenStack provider. PowerVC provides the foundational technology on top of which the rest of the on-premises POWER cloud stack is built.
IBM Power Systems Virtual Server integrates AIX, IBM i and Linux capabilities into the IBM Cloud experience and is available on POWER9 based Power Systems. Users receive fast, self-service provisioning, flexible management and access to a stack of enterprise IBM Cloud services with pay-per-use billing. Users can easily export virtual machine images in the standard OVA format from PowerVC and upload them into the IBM Cloud for easy back and forth image mobility. With this public cloud solution, POWER users can grow at their own pace and run enterprise workloads when and where they choose with a variety of flexible operating systems, compute, storage and networking configurations.
IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management can run on Red Hat OpenShift and provide a single control point to manage a hybrid IT environment. This provides consistent visibility, governance and automation across the entire hybrid multicloud landscape, bridging traditional virtual machine apps with new cloud-native container apps. Offered as part of this Cloud Pak are three critically important management applications to hybrid multicloud:
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is enabled for IBM Power Systems ac 1r oss AIX and IBM i environments and runs on Power Systems private and public cloud infrastructures. Red Hat Ansible Certified Content for IBM Power Systems helps you include workloads on Power Systems as part of your wider enterprise automation strategy through the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform ecosystem. Enterprises already using Ansible for other IT infrastructure, such as x86 or IBM Z servers, can seamlessly integrate Power servers as well. The Ansible content helps enable DevOps automation through unified workflow orchestration with configuration management, provisioning, and application deployment in one, easy-to-use platform. This is an important step in delivering a comprehensive enterprise-grade solution for building and operating IT automation at scale. 1Some Ansible content is only available in open source form from Ansible Galaxy.
IBM Cloud Paks care enterprise-ready containerized software solutions that provide an open, fast and secure way to move core business applications to any cloud. They are lightweight and easy to run, certifed by IBM and Red Hat. Each Cloud Pak sits atop Red Hat OpenShift and can run anywhere on-premises, in the cloud or at the edge.
Cloud Paks are comprised of a set of containerized IBM middleware and common software services. IBM offers six Cloud Paks: IBM Cloud Pak for Applications, IBM Cloud Pak for Data, IBM Cloud Pak for Integration, IBM Cloud Pak for Automation, IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management, and IBM Cloud Pak for Security. Each offering provides a broad set of capabilities for a particular domain.
Red Hat OpenShift is the industry-leading platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology built on Kubernetes, fully enabled and supported on IBM Power Systems. Red Hat OpenShift provides an infrastructure-independent common operating environment that serves as a common foundation across both private and public cloud, making it the de-facto standard fabric for hybrid cloud infrastructures. Red Hat OpenShift provides a trusted platform from which to build new cloud-native, container-based applications. It also provides a broad set of open source software, including IBM enterprise middleware (via IBM Cloud Paks) and ISV software.
We hope our commitment to delivering open and flexible solutions for your hybrid multicloud journey will help you leverage partner cloud technologies and seamlessly integrate Power Systems with the rest of your data center.