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Powering the Cloud

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Given that PowerVC virtualization management is OpenStack-based, it’s also compatible with a number of other cloud orchestrators. “We worked on making sure PowerVC works with cloud orchestrators like vRealize, which is from VMware,” says Rajesh Rengarajan, vice president, Power Systems Software. “Many clients have VMware and vRealize in their environment. Being able to manage assets through vRealize on their x86 boxes as well as their Power Systems hardware, for example, is an important advantage.”

The OpenStack compliance of PowerVM adds another level of flexibility. “If a client doesn’t want to use PowerVC, they can manage Power Systems assets through PowerVM NovaLink using a plain vanilla OpenStack-based manager,” Rengarajan notes. “In this way, we are allowing clients the opportunity to use any OpenStack technology they want to manage PowerVM.”

Guaranteeing Availability

From financial services to healthcare, retail to government, AIX on the Power Systems platform supports a host of mission-critical workloads. To ensure they keep running, IBM developed PowerHA high availability. The AIX management solution is designed to monitor the operation of computing assets. If the infrastructure or application fails, PowerHA high availability leverages redundant infrastructure to restore the application as quickly as possible.

It’s available in two versions: The Standard Edition manages availability among servers within a given data center, and the Enterprise Edition enables high availability management across different data centers separated by as much as 100 km.

Cloud architecture can offer additional benefits by marrying availability with cost efficiency. Because the PowerHA offering is deeply integrated with PowerVM and Power Systems hardware, it can leverage CUoD for failover operations. Instead of keeping full redundant active cores, memory and related software licenses on a live secondary server, PowerHA high availability can relocate the software licenses for the required CPUs and memory resources on the secondary server, activate them and then restart the application. “The client has a high-availability environment without having to actually pay for twice the resources,” Burnett says. “The system administrator defines policies and PowerHA orchestrates all operations to get the needed resources activated.”

Security and Compliance

Business operates within a complex and detailed regulatory environment. Policies and compliance requirements exist for financial services, healthcare, utilities and more. This extends to security, covering everything from the length of a password to the specific networking ports to be used. Implementing these kinds of procedures on a single server might be straightforward. Doing it on dozens, or thousands, of virtual machines or servers can be arduous. PowerSC security compliance provides a tool for streamlining this process.

It comes with built-in security profiles designed to simplify compliance. It’s essentially a security rule manager that enables clients to get the level of protection they need for the resources on their servers. Profiles can be customized and deployed on AIX in the client’s environment. A new centralized management console simplifies profile deployment across a large number of AIX servers via a GUI.

Optimized for Cloud

Despite the promise of cloud computing, IT shops that are ticking along just fine with workloads using local virtualization may have concerns about switching to a cloud-based deployment. According to Burnett, they shouldn’t. The Power Systems Software stack is built around making it easy for users to deploy and manage an enterprise-grade cloud solution. “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,” he says. “We are allowing clients to get the benefits of the unique features of the platform.”

IBM is deeply committed to this effort, just as they are committed to supporting users with compliant open-source products. “The key message is we are leveraging open-source technology and open-source management tooling so there is no skill mismatch between what Power Systems Software requires and what our clients have,” says Mehta. “The core value proposition of the Power Systems architecture and integrated Power Systems Software stack is something that we are continuing to invest in.”

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

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