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GM Doug Balog Introduces the E850, PurePower and More

Doug Balog IBM Power Systems General Manager — Photo by Craig Washburn

Q: What does this converged infrastructure system mean to the marketplace?
There’s no doubt a set of clients see value in converged infrastructure. Our clients are all under stress of capital but also people—people to put together the infrastructure to rapidly deploy cloud, rapidly deploy an analytics solution, rapidly deploy their next-generation data warehouse. So one of the impediments to rapid deployment is the pre-integration that clients need vendors like IBM to do, and that’s why we’ve introduced PurePower.

We are converging storage in the offering to pre-provision storage to servers. As I mentioned, we are converging different kinds of operating systems for diverse workloads. Also these systems connect with pre-integrated rack switches, and then that’s wrapped in operational management software using OpenStack. Obviously, the biggest aspect of ease of deployment is how to allow clients to manage it operationally and, in the future, manage software and firmware upgrades.

It’s a one-button kind of approach, so it’s about speed, agility, making decisions, deploying next-generation infrastructure as quick as a client can with minimal people time. That is what convergence is all about and, this provides clients the opportunity to move to the next-generation, OpenStack-based approach.

More than 1,000 ISVs run Linux on Power, and well over 300 universities teach Power in the curriculum

Q: So that converged infrastructure system is a POWER8 system?
It’s all based on POWER8 and that enables diversity in workloads, still running the systems of record based on AIX and IBM i—that run the heart of a firm—but also powering new kinds of systems and applications around engagement. Those mobile, Web-based, chatty, fast-to-change applications are in many cases written on an open infrastructure like Linux—so pinning those two together in a converged infrastructure, you have the system of record and the system of engagement all inside the converged system.

Q: IBM talks a lot about superior cloud economics. How do the other announcements contribute to that?
Part of our new announcements is we are bringing POWER8 systems to SoftLayer with IBM’s public cloud offering. Whether bare metal or virtual compute, we’ve got Power with Linux in its full glory fully integrated in that offering. Why is that important? That allows clients to write next-generation Bluemix* applications taking advantage of Power in SoftLayer for those applications of engagement that are quick to change and rapidly adjust the process flows, but it also connects together the systems of record that sit in the client’s shop.

This is what we call hybrid computing. One use case of hybrid computing is applications in the public cloud connecting to those applications on premise to get to the data, so having Power in SoftLayer allows it to be both on premises and in the cloud as part of a hybrid cloud. This brings new economic models based on the strength Power has around virtual machine density and data-centric computing. However, it doesn’t stop there. You must have a rich software capability to do all of that, and now PowerVM* virtualization supports little endian Linux with all of its security robustness. We don’t tout this often but the reality is that PowerVM is one of the most secure machines in the marketplace. It needs to be managed and that is where PowerVC, which is based on industry-standard OpenStack, allows for that management across compute, networking and storage for that single pane of glass for operational management.

New technologies come to the market every day around the cloud and a key one has been Docker. Its containers are rapid to deploy—instead of days, it’s hours or minutes. That’s because it takes just the application, not all of the heavy weight of a virtual machine. It’s new-generation technology, and Power is on the leading edge with Docker. We’ve brought it all together to create a new way to consume Power technology in the public cloud, like we’ve had at RackSpace and OVH, as well as other partnerships through the OpenPOWER Foundation. It’s also around new business models for our other software like IBM i, which now has a pay-as-you-go option for service providers.

Tami Deedrick is the former managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.



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