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Linux on Power > Business Strategy > Competitive Advantage

Power Systems Is the Open Innovation Platform for Cloud


Illustration by Kai and Sunny

IBM Power Systems* technology continues to be an innovation trendsetter. Power* technology is uniquely qualified to help businesses take advantage of what’s currently driving the industry: software-defined environments, systems of engagement, open platforms and cloud. Power technology enables businesses to deal with these trends by synergistically providing a robust, cost-effective platform for innovation, especially for cloud-based systems.

The cloud ecosystem is evolving into a software-defined environment, says Alise Spence, Power Systems cloud offerings product manager, IBM Systems and Technology Group. In software-defined environments, workloads and applications are automatically matched with the right set of storage, compute and network resources, thereby optimizing service levels and cost of delivery. “When we look at software-defined environments, we’re looking at how we can break down IT silos to further abstract those resources,” Spence says. These environments will broaden cloud delivery. “We’ll automatically be deploying compute, network and storage resources in response to needs of the business and the applications,” she adds.

400+ IBM software applications running on Linux on Power

Software-defined environments are the next step in cloud automation. They’re the integration layer that allocates all of the elements dynamically in response to the workload, Spence explains. Software-defined networking, which optimizes the network bandwidth and bandwidth availability for the applications, is already being employed. Further, software-defined storage, where tiered storage structure is dynamically allocated and provisioned based on the behavior of the workload, is also taking off, she says.

Mobile and customer-facing applications are giving rise to systems of engagement, which are the ecosystems that support and drive new device-independent workloads. “While Power technology is a proven platform that delivers enterprise quality of service for mission-critical systems of record, it’s also the ideal platform to build, run and deploy the applications and frameworks that underpin these systems of engagement,” Spence says. Power technology has the flexibility needed to run systems of engagement that handle constantly changing usage levels.

The Open Innovation Platform for Cloud

The open-platform concept supports all of these trends, and businesses are keen on implementing it. IBM, a stalwart proponent of open platforms, is ready to take Power technology to the next level. “Power Systems technology is already changing the game by delivering the only open-server platform, leading a new wave of innovation,” Spence claims.

As part of that move, IBM announced a $1 billion investment in Linux* and open-source innovation for Power Systems. That investment includes the Linux on Power* development cloud, a no-charge cloud service that gives businesses the capability to prototype, build, port and test Linux applications on Power Systems servers.

“Our cloud solutions are built on the open-source OpenStack IaaS [infrastructure as a service] platform and we have two distributions of Linux that run on Power, giving people a choice,” says Daniel Hattenberger, market segment manager, IBM Power Systems Brand Marketing.

Open standards are crucial because cloud solutions contain functional components such as virtualization management and deployment tools that interact with each other, passing information about common elements like resources, Hattenberger says. Open standards define the interfaces between the functional components and the descriptions of the elements. “With OpenStack, there’s a set of open standards that make it possible for the cloud products and tools to speak to each other via standard interfaces, even when they’re developed by different parties,” he explains.

Open source is collaborative by nature, and IBM is leading the charge for the next wave of innovation. In August 2013, IBM, Google, Mellanox, NVIDIA and Tyan launched the OpenPOWER Consortium to promote collaborative development based on the Power Systems technology. The expectation is that the foundation can invent new technology by building off of the strengths of each company to collaboratively innovate beyond individual boundaries, Hattenberger says.

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



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