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July 7, 2020 | Matt Pacheco

Six Advantages of Using IBM Power Systems in the Cloud

Today, many mission critical applications still run on legacy systems. An example is the IBM Power Systems, which debuted in the 1980s as the very popular AS/400 midrange server. Thirty-five years later, the Power Systems are still in use as high-performance work horses in most industries.

At the same time, virtually all IT departments want to take advantage of the growing cloud capabilities. The advantages of the cloud are well-known:

  • on-demand pricing
  • scalability
  • cost savings
  • access to technologies and expertise that smaller companies could not normally afford

Windows and Linux shops are reaping considerable benefits by moving their data, applications and operating systems to a cloud environment. Fortunately, Power Systems shops don’t have to abandon their Power9 infrastructure if they move to the cloud. In 2019, IBM released Power Systems Virtual Servers for IBM i and AIX. Here are some of the benefits of using IBM Power Systems in the cloud.

Why use IBM Power Systems in the cloud?

Cloud based IBM applications and/or data have several significant advantages:

Distributed workforce

With so many employees working from home, it’s important to have a reliable way for them to access applications and data. One advantage of cloud infrastructure is its ability to provide application access for widely distributed and remote end users.

By connecting to the cloud through a virtual private network (VPN) over the Internet, employees can access systems from any location. For example, DSC’s ezHost service for IBM Power Systems provides public internet access with support for VPNs and other private network connections such as MPLS or metro Ethernet.

Disaster recovery

Using the cloud for data backup and disaster recovery can ensure that your IBM applications will never suffer extended downtime. Many cloud providers offer managed Disaster Recovery as a Service, so they manage and execute most of the backup and DR processes.

There are typically several levels of disaster recovery to choose from. It depends on how quickly your system needs to be back up and on the amount of data you can afford to lose. Some systems, such as an ecommerce database or reservation ticketing system, can’t afford any downtime or any loss of data. Others might lose a day’s worth of data without repercussions.

Also read: A Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan for Any Disruption

Technology refresh

The cloud also gives IBM Power Systems customers affordable access to the newest hardware–namely IBM’s Power9 processor-based servers designed for high performance applications such as machine learning. By using a cloud provider’s IBM infrastructure, you can avoid investing in your own hardware upgrades.

You also avoid the work of procuring, maintaining, and upgrading all that hardware. Cloud customers also have access to new, innovative technologies. Many cloud services providers offer a range of technology services for developers, such as machine learning and analytics.

IBM and cloud expertise

Using cloud management services frees in-house IT staff from hardware and software maintenance tasks, so they can focus on more important, strategic IT projects. In addition, cloud providers have employees with expertise in cloud migration, AIX and IBM i application development, and other technologies.

Customers benefit from having access to this pool of subject matter experts and save on the cost of employing their own experts. It’s also an advantage in a market where fewer IT professionals have skills in AIX, IBM i, and other legacy platforms. Power Systems professionals are increasingly difficult to recruit. 

Scalable pricing

The cloud uses subscription-based billing, so IT costs shift from capital expenses to operating expenses. That predictability makes budget planning easier. Cloud services are also priced on-demand. This means a customer can decide to add more IBM Power virtual servers or storage capacity if needed, and decrease them when demand is low.

That’s especially attractive to businesses that experience seasonal fluctuation in IT usage, as well as application developers working on new programs. An engineer can spin up a new development and testing environment without purchasing any on-premise hardware or software, and then delete it when done.

Extend capacity

Even if you don’t plan to migrate your core IBM Power Systems applications to the cloud, you can still use it to extend your infrastructure to support new workloads. The existing on-premise Power Systems environment can be connected to new cloud resources via IBM’s Cloud Direct network services or a third-party network service such as TierPoint’s Cloud Connect Express.

Also read: Migrating IBM Power Systems to the Cloud

Providers can help get your IBM Power Systems to the cloud

There are multiple ways to take advantage of cloud services while retaining on-premise systems. A cloud services provider can help you plan your migration to the cloud. Look for providers with experience in IBM Power Systems and customers in your industry, so they’ll be familiar with your company’s needs.

The industry-leading cloud service providers typically offer:

  • robust and redundant communications neworks 
  • resiliency and guaranteed uptime 
  • scalable infrastructure
  • physical and operational security
  • proof of compliance with government regulations
  • Support for multicloud and/or hybrid cloud environments (public cloud, private cloud, colocation, etc.)

If you have employees or supply chain partners in different parts of the country, also look for providers with on-ramps to major public cloud providers.

Data Storage Corporation (DSC) is a provider specializing in IBM iSeries disaster recovery and helps organizations protect their data, minimize downtime and recover and restore data within their objectives. TierPoint is a leading provider of secure, connected data center and cloud solutions. Together, they provide a comprehensive solution for managing IBM iSeries migration, hosting and disaster recovery. Learn more about how you can protect your IBM iSeries environment and migrate to the cloud.

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