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GM Doug Balog Introduces the E850, PurePower and More

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

Cloud economics is not just one thing. It’s about having Power in the public cloud, new business models like the OpenPOWER Foundation and pay as you go, and rich software capabilities—from Bluemix to the way in which virtual machines and containers are managed.

The new Power Systems E850 has 4 sockets, 48 cores and more than 380 threads

Q: You mentioned OpenPOWER. How has becoming an open platform helped innovation on Power?
I can’t help but be amazed at the amount of interest and innovation occurring in the OpenPOWER Foundation, which as we sit here today has approximately 120 members. It wasn’t that long ago I remember five of us getting together with a shared vision on a napkin, sort of charting this out. So the fact that we’ve got all of these members innovating together and showing progress, as we saw at the OpenPOWER Summit with new designs for systems and software, is astounding.

Let me give you some examples. SUSE, Ubuntu and, now, Red Hat are delivering little endian Linux, bringing speed of application porting from Linux on Intel* to Linux on Power. We see big data solutions from companies like Veristorm taking advantage of the Apache Hadoop distribution and wrapping their data ingest capabilities around that. Of course, we see our wins in the technical computing space such as CORAL demonstrating the strength and power of what it means for Mellanox, NVIDIA and IBM to bring data-centric computing to the U.S. Department of Energy.

So if I step back and explain the three focus areas of OpenPOWER, first, it’s deploying the Power architecture in the cloud. Second, is high-performance computing. Third, is this evolving interest around domestic IT agendas such as what we see in China and other countries that want to localize IP to drive innovation in their country, protect their data and provide jobs for their people. So I’m seeing an amazing set of innovative agendas in OpenPOWER.

Q: What’s new in the arena of big data?
A couple of things. As I think about big data, I think first about in-memory data. Big data solutions really thirst for fast access to data and then taking that data that is in memory and also getting insights from it with analytics. Let me start with in-memory data. Here in the first quarter we announced that DB2* BLU, which has in the past run on AIX and been optimized for Power, now runs on little endian Linux on Power. DB2 BLU is a wonderful in-memory foundational offering for data access but also for that analytics application for clients who are long-time DB2 users on AIX. For new Power clients who want to take advantage of DB2 BLU as an underpinning for data analytics, we have that now on Linux on Power, so a great set of capabilities. We’ve seen really strong adoption of DB2 BLU on Power since its announcement more than a year ago.

For other in-memory databases, we have seen Oracle bring its 12C to Power in 4Q 2014 and just recently, we announced that SAP HANA will run on Linux on Power. The marketplace for HANA on Power is a very big opportunity for Power clients. We have many clients who are running SAP on Power today and they’re looking to extend that environment and take advantage of the in-memory business warehouse capabilities that HANA provides, and in the future, the Business Suite solutions that SAP will be bringing to HANA on Power. Up until now, HANA has only run on Intel servers, so the capability to run HANA on Power brings that strong interest that SAP has created around HANA married with the enterprise resiliency that we offer on POWER8. I am thrilled to say that HANA will be available soon on all POWER8 servers.

Q: We’ve seen a lot of change over the last two years. What can Power clients expect going forward?
We are executing with lightning speed and a laser focus against the strategy that I laid out a little over a year ago for the Power business. I was reflecting back on the May 2014 IBM Systems Magazine—the one with the Power Systems leadership team on the cover—and the headline was “Changing the Game.” I’m incredibly proud of this Power team and the transformation around the IBM Power business. We have changed the game! So, what can clients expect? They can expect continued execution and continued laser focus on delivering open innovation and putting data to work across the enterprise. There’s no stopping us now.

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



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