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Hybrid Multicloud Enables Agile Responses

Flexible deployment options help clients stretch their budgets further.

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Image by Greg Mably

IT departments everywhere are facing unprecedented demands. The rapidly changing work environment is spurring organizations to incorporate hybrid multicloud deployment models to address their IT needs with flexibility. As always, budgets are tight, especially for upfront investment. 

As businesses grapple with the “new normal,” IT is handling requests for increased speed, flexibility and availability. At the same time, IT infrastructure must remain resilient to meet the needs of employees, clients and partners, many of whom are working from home. 

To manage these demands, IT departments are employing flexibly priced, hybrid multicloud solutions from IBM Power Systems™ to provide levels of service that meet current and future challenges. These solutions enable businesses to be agile and maintain continuity in challenging environments.

Increased Flexibility 

Remote management of the data center has become a critical factor. And as work-from-home mandates dovetail into a new model of doing business, they will likely continue to be a preeminent concern. Clients can tap into extra capacity in several ways and do it all remotely.

The Power Systems platform provides a pay-for-use model to digitally activate more capacity within a client’s on-premise system without needing to install any physical hardware. Clients can use Power® in the IBM Cloud® to augment on-premise capacity. IBM Power Systems Private Cloud Solution with Dynamic Capacity is a new priced-by-the-minute option that expands on-premise access to compute resources as needed. 

All of these choices are supported by the platform’s resiliency, flexibility and security. Higher resiliency means fewer outages. Stringent security protects systems and data from hackers. Flexibility means more capacity choices as well as financial options that suit clients’ budgets.

These are some of the reasons why organizations in financial services, healthcare, supply chains and other sectors rely on IBM Power Systems infrastructure. “We’re proud to serve these critical industries during this difficult time,” says Satya Sharma, IBM Fellow and CTO, IBM Power Systems. “Clients on our Executive Advisory Board for Cognitive Systems tell us that IBM Power Systems has performed exceptionally well during the crisis this year.” 

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“IBM not only helps increase clients’ capacity, but it also simplifies the management and increases security to help protect infrastructure from growing security threats.”
Sam Werner, vice president of Storage Offering Management

Hybrid Multicloud Benefits

The benefits of hybrid multicloud have been well demonstrated. Many clients are incorporating a public cloud offering, such as IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers, into their IT infrastructure. Clients can access more capacity without adding to their data center footprint. 

Clients are transforming their on-premise infrastructure to operate as a cloud. Automated cloud management and flexible consumption options enable clients to scale capacity dynamically. IBM Power Systems Private Cloud Solution is a new offering that provides increased flexibility for hybrid cloud on a pay-as-you-go pricing basis (see “Introducing IBM Power Systems Private Cloud Solution,” below).

Cost optimization based on usage is a very attractive financial model, especially during these unpredictable times. Public cloud is based on an operational expenditure (OpEx) model versus traditional capital expenditure (CapEx). “The flexible OpEx model is one of the reasons clients love public cloud,” says Sharma. “IBM is introducing more OpEx-type pricing to enable clients to continue to use on-premise and public cloud infrastructure,” he notes.

This spring, IBM activated additional core capacity at no charge for 90 days to clients like hospital systems. IBM also offered deferred billing on clients’ CapEx purchases to help them manage their cash crunch. 

Ansible Bridges the Skills Gap

Automation and modernization are helping clients bridge the skills gap. IBM provides a solution that allays worries about the lack of IT skills for Power Systems. The Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform enables IT admins to use their Linux® and x86 skills to manage IBM i and AIX® platforms. It improves productivity as much of the low-level command and configuration work is automated.

Further, clients can take advantage of Red Hat OpenShift® 4.3 support for Power Systems. OpenShift enables clients to create a modernization platform using Kubernetes containers. 

Storage Remains Key

Modernized infrastructure helps clients be more agile in extending the capabilities of a hybrid multicloud environment. Clients need to take storage into consideration as well as compute to have an effective cloud strategy. Insufficient storage capacity will impact performance. As compute expands to handle new workloads, storage must increase as well.

It’s also important to protect the data in storage and ensure that it can be recovered quickly if there is an outage or other event. Cyberresiliency has become essential in a 24-7 world. When IT is cyberresilient, clients can find a safe copy of the data and restore it efficiently, helping reduce downtime to the minimum.

IBM Storage has the ability to extend its on-premise storage systems with software-defined storage that runs on public clouds, providing a seamless extension of on-premise storage to the cloud. This storage software brings security and cyberresiliency capabilities to the public cloud to protect clients’ data.

Clients are looking to manage storage infrastructure remotely. IBM Storage Insights manages client-owned storage as well as third-party storage, giving clients a comprehensive way to monitor hybrid multicloud storage.

IBM Storage Insights includes analytics to project capacity needs and discover performance problems. It also has AI capabilities to look for issues before they happen. Clients appreciate these aspects, especially as organizations have fewer people onsite in the data center. 

As containers become more popular, clients will need a container storage interface. IBM Storage already accommodates workloads in container environments through IBM Storage Suite for IBM Cloud Paks®. This offering includes IBM Spectrum Scale®, Red Hat Ceph Storage, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage, IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud and IBM Cloud Object Storage under a single license. 

“IBM not only helps increase clients’ capacity, but it also simplifies the management and increases security to help protect infrastructure from growing security threats,” says Sam Werner, vice president of Storage Offering Management.

As with capacity, IBM offers several ways clients can pay for their storage needs. Clients can purchase storage under the traditional CapEx model or can lease it through IBM Global Financing. Storage is available under a utility model where clients pay for what they need, as well as a subscription model. IBM also offers free access to the IBM Storage Insights Pro edition for 90 days. “We’re providing our clients with storage flexibility and consumption to support them through these uncertain times,” Werner notes.

Helping Clients Thrive

IBM is working to help clients thrive as they meet new challenges. The path ahead may be uncertain. However, ingenuity, support and guidance flow between IBM and its clients. By working together, there is a way forward.

Introducing IBM Power Systems Private Cloud Solution

IBM Power Systems™ Private Cloud Solution with Dynamic Capacity can deliver business continuity and cloud agility from the security of an on-premise private cloud. This offering provides dynamic cost optimization with pay-per-use pricing for compute resources on a minute-by-minute basis across a collection of enterprise-class POWER9™ servers. It enables automated, consistent enterprise IT management and increased flexibility and deployment options to support a hybrid multicloud infrastructure.

Over the past few years, organizations shifted to pay-for-use consumption models to lower upfront costs, align outlays to usage and boost flexibility. Optimizing costs with dynamic, pay-for-use pricing is at the center of the IBM Power Systems Private Cloud Solution. The demand spikes resulting from changing working conditions indicate IBM Power Systems Private Cloud Solution is a valuable option for business.

The cloud solution introduces a dynamic, metered-by-the-minute consumption model for Power E980 and E950 systems. It can reduce the initial system acquisition price by up to 50% and can lower compute capacity costs over time by 20-30%. Using real-time and historical usage monitoring and analysis, organizations can make informed decisions about capacity needs.

It lets organizations manage a group of servers as one large virtual private cloud. Let’s say a client has three servers. With IBM Power Systems Private Cloud Solution, the three servers are considered to be one pool with a base level of shared compute capacity and active, metered capacity above that base. When the client needs capacity above the aggregated base capacity, the additional compute resources are charged by the minute. 

“This helps clients reduce their project spend by aligning it by the minute and purchasing the resources they need on an ongoing basis,” says George Gaylord, program director, Offering Management, Power Enterprise Servers. “They have graphical, granular monitoring and tracking of resources real-time and historically by VM across their IBM Power Systems Private Cloud infrastructure.” 

Clients can start small, grow into a project, rapidly deploy new capacity and back it down after a burst. “It delivers cloud responsiveness to a large-scale server infrastructure on-premise,” Gaylord notes. 

By extending Shared Utility Capacity to the E950, a broader set of clients can take advantage of minute-by-minute pricing, on-premise Cloud Management Console monitoring as well as management racking and analysis capabilities. 

“You get the best of everything,” says Gaylord. “You share what you invest in, access what you need when it’s needed and only get charged for minutes used above the shared base. It’s completely aligned to use,” he says. 

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