POWER > Business Strategy > ROI

Linux on POWER Delivers the Best Performance for the Price

Stefanie Chiras, Todd Boyd
Illustration by Otto Steininger

Consumers want more value for their money and assurance that investments are well spent. IBM keeps this top of mind in all of its offerings. Linux* on POWER* servers are an example of how IBM delivers more value than the competition in both total cost of acquisition (TCA) and total cost of ownership (TCO).

The Linux OS has evolved over the past 25 years to become a key component in many enterprise IT shops. Workloads running on the OS have not only increased in number but have also become more aggressive and demanding on infrastructure. Data centers must balance handling the increase in workloads, delivering reliable and secure service, and maximizing efficiency.

Efficiency has several definitions but generally includes cost of acquisition, performance of the workload and operating cost, which covers IT staff, floor space and energy usage. Service-level agreements are essential to efficiency, as businesses want to ensure timely and high-quality delivery to their customers. Clients must select the right infrastructure for their workloads to drive efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

“Bringing POWER infrastructure into the Linux world gives clients a choice of infrastructure so they can get the best efficiency for their workloads.”
—Stefanie Chiras, vice president, IBM Power Systems Offering Management, Systems of Engagement

“We’re seeing a real change in Linux purchasing behaviors as clients mature in how they include efficiency and conduct cost assessments,” says Stefanie Chiras, vice president, IBM Power Systems* Offering Management, Systems of Engagement. “Commodity is not good enough anymore. While a commodity system may provide adequate efficiency and TCA for some workloads, it’s not good enough to deliver efficiency on more demanding workloads. That’s where the choice comes in.”

Price Performance

Purchasing decisions are no longer based solely on the Linux server cost. The discussion now centers on TCO for the data center and workload so clients can get the best value from the infrastructure. They can assess newly available options to make the best business decision.

TCO varies for each client, depending on needs and priorities. To assist clients in purchasing decisions, IBM focuses on value and the price performance that Linux on POWER delivers. TCO should focus on the value that can be derived from the infrastructure today and in the future.

Price performance is a new discussion for many Linux on x86 clients. Linux on POWER brings choice in architecture, performance and strategy. “We find that price performance is a key value proposition clients are interested in. They’ve clearly been waiting for a choice,” Chiras notes.

The definition of price performance is specific to each client. Some include floor space and energy consumed by the data center. Others include workload types. For example, a client running Neo4j—a graph database—often needs scalability, so that parameter must be included in a price-performance comparison.

Software is often a significant cost driver, as are software licensing and any specific skills a client wants to leverage. Security is also an important requirement, though its valuation is difficult to establish.

“We take great pride in the Power Systems platform’s price performance—it’s better than x86-based systems for data-intensive workloads,” Chiras says. Running open-source databases such as MongoDB on Linux on POWER, for example, will yield, on average, a 1.8x better price performance than running that workload on x86, she explains.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at savage.shirley@comcast.net.

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