IBM Cloud Private With IBM Z Helps Clients Reap the Benefits of Cloud

IBM Cloud Private
Illustration by Hitandrun

Enterprises are eager to adopt cloud computing to gain its many benefits including elasticity, scaling of resources, lower cost and ease of use. But concerns about latency, security and compliance make some enterprises reluctant to wholeheartedly adopt cloud. Knowing this, IBM has created IBM Cloud Private to provide a secure cloud platform that works seamlessly with IBM Z*.

This on-premises solution is based on open-source standards and open-source technologies such as Kubernetes and Docker containers. IBM Cloud Private is an all-in-one solution with built-in IBM middleware, developer tools and services. “We are looking to provide enterprises with the benefits of public cloud, but in a secure, reliable and scalable environment,” says Rushir Patel, offering manager, IBM LinuxONE*.

Designed from the cloud up, IBM Cloud Private is optimized for data and cognitive services such as data analytics. IBM brings its years of expertise in that area to this new offering. It’s also geared to helping enterprises optimize infrastructure. “Mission-critical workloads running with IBM Cloud Private on IBM Z give clients the best of the cloud with the enormous benefits of the mainframe platform,” notes Nate Dotson, offering manager, IBM Z Hybrid Cloud.

Fit for Purpose

Enterprises are on a digital transformation journey, seeking ways to instrument and automate their environments so they can understand factors affecting the business and effectively drive positive outcomes. To create this agility, organizations are adding cloud to enable automation, self-service and standardization. “IBM Cloud Private gives clients true agility and fit-for-purpose placement of workloads to meet their business needs,” says Marcel Mitran, CTO, IBM LinuxONE.

With IBM Cloud Private and IBM Z, enterprises can easily scale up the environment as business needs arise. This enables the development team to focus on creating applications rather than being bogged down in scaling infrastructure. Many enterprises are building private clouds to run sensitive and/or transactional workloads. Keeping the cloud close to the data reduces latency.

IBM Cloud Private is the only full Platform as a Service that gives clients a true cross-platform experience. It gives application developers a superior platform to build applications and to take advantage of IBM Z qualities of service. IBM Cloud Private makes all platforms within it equally accessible. “That’s a powerful solution for enterprises that rely on multiple platforms to supply the needs of their customers and lines of business,” Mitran says.

It also gives clients the agility to react to changes in their organization rather than spending time creating cloud automation from scratch. Clients can focus on creating the solutions that sit on top of the cloud platform, enabling them to better compete in the current business climate. Rather than being disrupted by cloud, enterprises using IBM Cloud Private gain an advantage over the competition.

Clients receive other benefits such as interoperability with IBM’s public cloud. Eight out of 10 IBM clients favor using a hybrid cloud to leverage the fast-paced innovation of the public cloud. Those clients, at the same time, manage workloads in a private cloud to meet data compliance, privacy and security requirements, notes Mitran.

Building on Strengths

IBM Cloud Private integrates IBM’s strong expertise in software and middleware. That’s a key differentiator for IBM compared to other private cloud offerings. Clients can use the analytics tools developed by IBM as well as cognitive software solutions to glean business value and insights from data. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the ways clients can use these tools in a private cloud. “There’s no one-size-fits-all solution,” says Patel. “Each of our clients is different in terms of what needs to be done for their business.”

Further, IBM Cloud Private helps clients that need to keep data on premises modernize their data centers. A private cloud has many advantages over using legacy on-premises infrastructure, such as ease of scaling and moving workloads.

Because of IBM Cloud Private’s structure, it can be used by clients to smoothly transition to the cloud. They don’t need to rip and replace what they have. Clients can install IBM Cloud Private onto their existing infrastructure and begin to modernize their legacy applications and develop new cloud-native ones. Over time, clients can move more of their operations to the cloud. While they may want to transfer some operations to a public cloud versus keeping them on-premises, IBM Cloud Private enables clients to modernize their ecosystem in a controlled and manageable way. In addition, the cloud provides better disaster recovery. “If a single failure occurs, you don’t necessarily lose everything that’s on it,” he adds.

The IBM Z Advantage

The combination of IBM Cloud Private and IBM Z melds the infinite possibilities of cloud with an enterprise system. The IBM Z platform manages most of the world’s critical data today. The “Z” stands for “zero downtime.” For clients who want to deploy a private cloud, reliability is particularly important. IBM’s newest machine, the IBM z14*, has the most capacity of all IBM Z boxes, making it ideal for hosting cloud workloads.

“We are looking to provide enterprises with the benefits of public cloud, but in a secure, reliable and scalable environment.”
—Rushir Patel, offering manager, IBM LinuxONE

IBM Cloud Private is designed using open standards, enabling clients to react quickly as standards change. Clients running z/OS*, Linux* on IBM Z or LinuxONE get industry-leading performance. That’s important when clients consider running modern workloads like Node.js and Java*. Those workloads and others have strong requirements for low latency access to the data.

IBM gives clients the best possible performance for those workloads by co-locating the applications with the data that sits on z/OS or Linux on Z as the system of record, notes Mitran. For clients with existing IBM Z investments, IBM Cloud Private gives them the ability to build a cloud experience and provide a customized outcome for their customers. Clients don’t need to move the data off the platform to gain insights. They can employ analytics in place and get faster results, enabling clients to better understand and meet customer demand, he says. Leaving the data in place also enables them to use IBM Z security tools to ensure data privacy and protection.

Scaling up to meet workloads is simple for clients employing Linux on Z or LinuxONE. Many clients have employed a cumbersome scaling out process that involves making copies of the workload, adding partitions and balancing workloads to accommodate growing needs. With LinuxONE, clients can grow the first instance of the workload to meet business needs. “You can scale up your business by scaling up your infrastructure,” Mitran points out. “No other platform can do that the way LinuxONE and Linux on Z does.”

Provisioning and deployment of Linux is easy, too. Clients with x86 platforms tell IBM that it takes six to 18 months to provision a Linux environment. With Linux on Z, it takes about a minute, Mitran says. An agile platform provides the business more opportunity. LinuxONE and Linux on Z provides capacity on demand, which ties in nicely with IBM Cloud Private’s capabilities. Those capabilities will include self-service enablement in the future.

When it comes to security, IT shops are very aware these days that they must protect the infrastructure from outside hackers as well as internal threats. IBM shares clients’ security concerns. IBM Z, Linux on Z and LinuxONE platforms have stringent security built in. For example, the z14 system has the most secure features in the world such as LPARs and pervasive encryption.

Linux on Z clients can deploy Secure Service Container technology to create a secure and private Linux execution environment. Data is pervasively encrypted at rest and in flight and both the data and software stack are fully protected and can’t be seen by the system administrators. Secure Service Containers use the same technology as blockchain to protect against external or internal intrusions. “IBM has made blockchain technology into a consumable end point for IBM Cloud Private,” Mitran says.

In terms of skills, clients can rest assured that IBM Z skills are transferrable to an IBM Cloud Private environment. IBM has simplified the need for extensive Linux skills to use IBM Cloud Private. Application developers and line of business owners can work with the platform in a standardized way. “You don’t need to know a lot about Linux to be able to provide the infrastructure for IBM Cloud Private,” Mitran says.

Working Together

Cloud offers enterprises many opportunities to expand and grow their businesses. The IBM Z platform and IBM Cloud Private are synergistically designed to help clients get on the cloud at their own pace and to reap the benefits that cloud provides.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at

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