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Powering the Cloud

Power Systems Software

In a business climate marked by change, the ability to adapt is essential. And savvy IT professionals know adaptability lies in building an infrastructure that can address everybody’s computing needs quickly, efficiently, securely and cost-effectively.

When it comes to adaptability, infrastructure matters. The IBM Power Systems* platform offers the capacity, blistering speed and rock-solid security required to run mission-critical applications. Hardware is only half of the solution, though. Building a responsive platform requires the right software stack to deliver those computing resources to internal and external users. And for modern enterprises, building a responsive platform also requires the cloud.

“One of the things we’ve paid great attention to as we’ve built our cloud technology is to make sure the solution is production-level quality, just like the rest of our product stack. ... We are allowing clients to get the benefits of the unique features of the platform.”
—Carl Burnett, Distinguished Engineer, Power Systems Software development

The promise of cloud infrastructure is one of complete flexibility. Organizations invest in computing capacity on or off premises, then access it as required—no more downtime or resource limitations. It’s an appealing model, designed to satisfy demand while minimizing infrastructure investment. For organizations running mission-critical workloads, however, the public cloud that backs up music and family photos won’t suffice. Enterprise workloads need enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure.

Enter the Power Systems Software* stack, designed top to bottom to make both public and private clouds more flexible, reliable, scalable, and above all, more secure. Leveraging OpenStack technology, the software is crafted for both interoperability, and fast and effective cloud deployment. Because the software stack is built around the Power Systems platform, it also retains the mission-critical capabilities that have always been its hallmark.

The stack consists of the PowerVM* virtualization layer, the PowerVC* virtualization management layer, PowerHA* high availability and PowerSC* security and compliance. With these four tools, IT departments can efficiently manage their cloud architecture—whether that’s on-premises, off-premises or hybrid. Not only can IT shops deliver the services their organizations expect, but they can do it more easily and cost effectively. In addition, the PowerVM and PowerVC offerings are compliant with OpenStack, the open-source cloud OS. This ensures the Power Systems Software stack is familiar and interoperable with other OpenStack cloud management tools.

“The clients who have made the leap to a cloud architecture are beginning to understand the IT savings they can get from those models,” says Carl Burnett, Distinguished Engineer, Power Systems Software development. “They are seeing that it frees up their IT staff to focus on other problems in the environment and not just on managing the infrastructure.”

Virtualization With PowerVM

PowerVM virtualization comes preinstalled on every Power Systems server. It virtualizes the resources available on the machine, including CPU, memory, and I/O such as networking or storage. It enables multiple LPARs to be defined and provisioned on a single server.

Traditionally, PowerVM virtualization has been built around two key software components: the Power Systems hypervisor and the Virtual I/O Server (VIOS). The hypervisor enables CPU and memory resources to be shared among LPARs on the server. VIOS allows the client LPARs within the server to share physical I/O resources. The hypervisor ships with the system, while VIOS is either installed at the factory or by the client (and tailored to their I/O configuration). PowerVM virtualization also provides a high level of isolation and security between partitions.

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.


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