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Business From the Cloud

How Power Systems infrastructure can help organizations take advantage of the benefits of hybrid multicloud environments.

A winding road cutting through an evergreen forest with one red car on the road.

Image by Abstract Aerial Art/Getty

Almost a decade ago, some vendors implored users to get “to the cloud.” As sloganeering goes, it was catchy, but if anything, it oversimplified and undersold the potential of this transformational technology. These days, cloud is a ubiquitous presence in IT. In a 2019 survey of 800 companies, Flexera Software, a provider of IT assessment management solutions, reported that 94% were using some form of cloud computing.

Moreover, hybrid multicloud environments have become commonplace. The same Flexera report notes that 84% of enterprises have a multicloud strategy, while 58% are planning a hybrid cloud strategy. At the same time, as enterprises grow their public cloud footprints, they continue to invest in private cloud as well as existing on-premises infrastructure—this according to a recent Forrester Consulting survey of 350 global IT enterprise decision-makers.

So yes, undisputably, we did get to the cloud. Of course, just getting there was never the point. For enterprises that rely upon IBM Power Systems hardware, the point is about modernizing enterprise computing environments and applications. The point is about more efficiently managing mission-critical workloads and providing the capability to run new applications and services. The point is about leveraging the capabilities of AI to improve analytical outcomes and platforms like blockchain to enhance operational security.

Continuing the Cloud Journey

Now that they’ve gotten here, Stephen Leonard, general manager for IBM Cognitive Systems, believes that Power Systems clients are just getting started.

Leonard notes that, at this stage, clients are keeping it simple. In general, they’re either running simple workloads that are easy to manage and maintain, or they’re working with client-facing applications in the cloud. But he adds that this activity represents only a small percentage of clients’ overall workloads. To take the next step and truly reap the benefits of cloud, clients must break from this comfort zone.

“People are experimenting with the simple and straight-forward,” he says, “but ultimately, we’re talking about moving from that experimentation to this next level of very complex, highly strategic applications, many of which are the backbone of operations. The next wave of innovation is stitching all of these capabilities together over multiple public clouds, private clouds and traditional on-premises IT.”

“The next wave of innovation is stitching all of these capabilities together over multiple public clouds, private clouds and traditional on-premises IT.”
Stephen Leonard, general manager, IBM Cognitive Systems

Pact Leads to Cloud Pak

IBM has been preparing for clients to take this next step. In 2019, the company finalized its $34 billion acquisition of open-source software provider Red Hat. The tandem has much to offer enterprises as they develop and expand their multicloud environments, as is most apparent with the IBM Cloud Pak® for Data solution.

Cloud Pak for Data, a fully integrated data and AI platform that collects, organizes and analyzes data, runs on Red Hat’s OpenShift® container platform. Containerization is, quite simply, a dream technology for application developers and data scientists. The process involves packaging software code and all of its dependencies so it can run uniformly on any infrastructure.

Within this framework, Cloud Pak for Data provides an AI information architecture by integrating Watson® AI technology with IBM Hybrid Data Management Platform, DataOps and governance and business analytics technologies. It can be deployed quickly and supports an array of IBM and third-party microservices and open-source solutions, all industry-leading multicloud environments (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud®) as well as private clouds. It also supports an array of IBM and third-party microservices and open-source solutions.

“Obviously Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift are key components in all of this,” Leonard says. “These solutions allow clients to ensure a high level of interoperability between private and public clouds. Because you’re not tied to public cloud, you can build your applications once and then have the ability to move them whenever and wherever you need to move them.”

Advice and Assistance 

Of course, IBM is a provider of services as well as solutions. Beyond recognizing that most enterprises have a multicloud strategy, IBM understands that many clients require the flexibility to work with multiple cloud vendors. IBM is uniquely suited to provide consultation as well as technical know-how as clients progress on their cloud journeys.

Advisory services can be as simple and convenient as a free online consultation. Through more in-depth consultation, IBM can help clients define specific business goals for their IT architecture in the process of implementing an overall enterprise cloud strategy. Cloud migration services allow for workloads from virtually any source to be moved among managed environments with minimal manual effort. The company estimates that its specialists have already assisted with 100,000 cloud migrations across 20 industries worldwide.

“We can build code for you. We can build environments for you. We offer services to manage environments for large clients,” says Leonard. “We do it every day for thousands and thousands of clients.”

“Because you're not tied to public cloud, you can build your applications once and then have the ability to move them whenever and wherever you need to move them.”
Stephen Leonard

Shining in the Cloud

At the time the Red Hat deal was finalized, outgoing IBM CEO Ginni Rometty noted that 90% of global credit card transactions are processed on IBM servers. Obviously, Power Systems servers represent a significant portion of this total. The Power Systems platform has long provided a foundation for mission-critical applications and invaluable corporate data—a key attribute as clients navigate the hybrid multicloud world. In a hybrid multicloud world, the case for moving workloads to POWER® grows even stronger.

In conjunction with the release of the current version of the processor, POWER9TM, several important security features were unveiled. Trusted and Secure Boot allows clients to verify firmware and OS images via digital signatures and hashes during boot. IBM PowerSC® standard edition (which is part of the Power Systems Enterprise Cloud Edition software bundle) brings together key elements for robust cloud environments, including multifactor authentication and centralized security management for VMs running on the platform. In addition, a new GZIP engine leverages PowerVM® to compress and encrypt live partition mobility data.

“The Power Systems platform provides scalability, resiliency and flexibility that are critical and central to clients that run their mission-critical business applications on our platform day in and day out,” says Leonard. “Our Power cloud architecture meets twin objectives: 1) continuing to support current mission-critical applications and ecosystems with service, storage, network, infrastructure and architecture consistency with on-premises environments, and 2) bringing cloud agility and speed. It allows clients to modernize by integrating these services that they’ve already built with advanced cloud capabilities. So it’s about bringing these two worlds together and giving clients the ability to have the adjacency so they can take advantage without having to rip everything up and start from scratch.” 

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