IBM POWER in the Cloud

Why don’t we associate IBM with cloud technology? It’s a bit of an image issue for IBM, but one that’s unfounded. When I think of IBM POWER8 and cloud, I think of a match made in heaven. Not literal heaven—many people imagine the cloud really does run in the heavens, but those of us responsible for computer infrastructures around the globe know the cloud starts in some large data center that is accessed from BYOD devices around the world.

IBM POWER8 is a great option for cloud application deployment due to its ability to scale up or out, depending on the cloud provider. In my opinion, scaling up is the better choice, as it lets you add an increasing number of tenants on a multi-processor server that has the uptime and power needed to grow with every cloud-based offering. With Intel-based servers you get server sprawl—not the best choice if you want to grow without the constant battle to keep all your servers in sync.

Initially, IBM POWER8 is more expensive than one or two Intel servers running Windows or Linux, but as your business grows and you add more accounts to your infrastructure, stability suffers and cost goes up for the Intel-based option. IBM POWER servers offer the ability to run AIX, Linux, IBM i, or a mix of these systems as the core operating system. Hosting databases and applications on a virtualized server will give you peace of mind that it can grow as your business grows. You could literally be using just one or two boxes to host thousands of users, instead of needing hundreds of servers for the same purpose. 

It has always been obvious to me that reducing the amount of hardware you have to manage reduces the potential of components failing as well. Your environment’s consumption of power, air conditioning, floor space, and other factors also decrease when you have fewer servers. Furthermore, the more components you have, the more you have to test when it comes to backups and high availability solutions, which need to be a part of any infrastructure in the cloud.

Recently I have been reading a book called The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford. The book discusses the importance of DevOps and how it can make your business win. As I read, I couldn’t help but imagine how much easier it would have been for the example company in the book to deliver their store front with web-based technology that provided scalability and reliable uptime. In the book, they describe farms of servers and the complication of keeping it all patched and at current levels of technology. What they don’t realize is that all those issues could be solved with the truly scalable solution offered by IBM POWER.

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