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POWER > Business Strategy > Open Source

How Open Source Benefits Power Systems

Terri Virnig
Terri Virnig VP, Power Ecosystem and Strategy, IBM-Photo by Craig Washburn

The open-source ecosystem is rapidly becoming an essential resource for systems of record (SoRs) and systems of engagement (SoEs) for POWER* clients. Open-source data stores offer choice, rapidly iterating features, flexibility and cost savings.

POWER clients across all industries worldwide are adding open-source options to their traditional relational SoR data stores to broaden SoR capabilities. “Many clients are extending their relational data store environment but want to do it with more flexible, low-cost alternatives,” says Terri Virnig, vice president, Power* Ecosystem and Strategy, IBM. Those capabilities may include a fraud detection solution, functionalities aligned with a NoSQL data store or the addition of new capabilities with a PostgreSQL data store.

“Our goal is to understand what the clients most value and which communities and providers the clients are using so IBM can bring support for those open-source providers to the POWER platform.”
—Terri Virnig, vice president, Power Ecosystem and Strategy, IBM

Open-source data stores can be added without ripping and replacing existing traditional SoRs, which is disruptive and costly. “Open source enables clients to evolve their IT environments in a way that suits business priorities and timelines,” Virnig says. Enterprises can add new language or tooling capabilities as needed. Clients also can use open-source capabilities to build out private clouds or create hybrid clouds, taking their business to the next level of the cloud journey.

Accessing the Community

The addition of open-source data stores gives enterprises access to the entire open-source community that develops software and enables faster innovations. When clients need new capabilities, the community—rather than one company—drives and accelerates innovation.

Besides the open-source version of software, commercial distributors create a hardened enterprise version of the open-source code and provide additional code extensions, service and support in line with more traditional service-level agreements.

Clients can choose the community or enterprise version of many open-source solutions. IBM’s strategy is to enable both versions on POWER to support clients that want to run the community edition in a nonproduction, development and test environment, or the enterprise edition in production. “The clients get the best of both worlds because they can choose what makes the most sense to them,” Virnig says.

Commercial distributors as well as the IBM service team offer support for clients with critical production environments. Having that support ensures that data stores have the necessary safety net when going into production, Virnig says.

Market Leaders

Clients can choose from several fast-growing open-source data stores. Data store market leaders include:

  • EnterpriseDB for PostgreSQL, an open-source alternative to a relational data store MongoDB, a document data store
  • Redis Labs, used for key value store
  • Neo4j, a graph database used for complex tasks such as fraud detection

New forms of relational data stores include Kinetica, an accelerated database that maximizes GPUs to dramatically improve performance.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at



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