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Flexibility and Interoperability are the Keys to Success for Linux on POWER

IBMer Vicente Moranta discusses reaping the benefits of running Linux on IBM Power Systems infrastructure.

Image by Neal Pritchard Photography/Getty

Adaption has become a critical attribute for businesses in 2020. Staying relevant in a rapidly changing world hinges on their ability to remain flexible with remote working arrangements, operational processes and, for many, completely new business models. However, businesses can only be as nimble as their IT architecture allows. 

Flexible IT architecture has afforded businesses the ability to immediately withstand higher requirements or performance needs than originally planned. Organizations with a fixed architecture were either limited in their ability to create workable solutions to changing business needs or faced a much longer time to market, which often resulted in clients moving to competitors who were better able to meet their needs. 

Vicente Moranta, former vice president of offering management, enterprise Linux® workloads on IBM Power Systems™ at IBM and the current vice president of IBM Systems Lab Services, says business flexibility has always been essential, but its importance has been brought to the forefront in recent months. 

“The business community didn’t need a pandemic to know flexibility was important, but recent events have highlighted the urgency. We’ve had the privilege of working with clients all over the world, often in regions with unstable infrastructure,” says Moranta. “Flexible architecture is a proven and understood solution to managing uncertain situations.”

“Many clients are loyal to IBM Power Systems because we continue to provide value beyond the difficult hardware cycles.”
Vicente Moranta, former vice president of offering management, enterprise Linux workloads on IBM Power Systems at IBM and the current vice president of IBM Systems Lab Services

Interoperability Increases Business Flexibility 

For the most flexibility, businesses also must consider and build interoperability into their processes, applications and architecture. Moranta recommends considering dual aspects of interoperability to ensure future flexibility. Interoperability promises that when a business chooses a system or platform, they aren’t limiting their future options for moving to a different architecture or infrastructure. 

With the first aspect, businesses use a single platform to manage multiple applications, such as running an ERP and CRM on IBM Power Systems. An organization can run their traditional analytics software for SAS on Power Systems while also running SAS Viya. Organizations can then easily explore new business, projects or technology. The second type of interoperability refers to being able to run different types of workloads on Linux.

“Businesses often become overly focused on what other companies are doing, which is not always the best path. You can easily end up with the same offerings as everyone else, including your competition, which means you lose your differentiation,” explains

Moranta. “If you’re using SAP HANA or SAS Viya a to drive differentiation, the differentiation must come from the entire solution, including the hardware.” 

“By using IBM Power Systems, organizations can tap into features and satisfy deployments that go beyond what is provided by the software stack.”
Vicente Moranta

Benefits of Keeping Linux on IBM POWER

For the past six years, IBM has focused on innovating with partners such as SAP and SAS to improve both interoperability and flexibility of infrastructure. Previously, when companies made decisions about infrastructure and Linux workloads, they were unable to make significant changes to their architecture after purchasing. Moranta says that clients were locked into a particular x86 cycle until Intel® released new capabilities. Then, the x86 vendors would pick up and try to incorporate those capabilities into their servers, making the process and decisions very focused on hardware. 

By running Linux on IBM POWER®, organizations can drive the innovation needed to exceed customer expectations, regardless of the hardware cycle, hardware purchases or disruptive events. Moranta and his team worked with numerous clients that started with SAP HANA and IBM POWER8® and continued through the same architecture with IBM POWER9™. Almost quarterly, IBM releases new capability, new functionality and new features that, together with SAP, improve the flexibility of Power Systems and their infrastructure. 

Running Linux Workloads on IBM POWER Reduces TCO

The reasons to run Linux® workloads alongside mission-critical AIX® and IBM i workloads are numerous. Here, John F. Ryan and Susan Proietti, experts from the IBM IT Economoics office, lay out some of the TCO benefits. Want to learn more about the economic advantages of running Linux on IBM POWER®? Read this article.

• Both IBM POWER processor and x86-based servers have made performance improvements over time. However, data from SPEC, SAP and IDC shows that while x86 servers may have increased in overall size, capacity and system performance, the per core performance of x86 multicore CPU offerings has remained relatively flat. In contrast, the IBM POWER processor has increased its per core performance on average by 35% with each new generation or technology release. 

• Linux on IBM POWER9™ leverages unique underlying hardware and virtualization capabilities to provide a more secure, reliable and recoverable environment than x86. Linux workloads on POWER can take advantage of IBM Power Systems™ Enterprise Pools, Capacity on Demand and Live Partition Mobility to deliver 24-7 availability. These IBM POWER processor-specific features enable compute resources to be efficiently managed and rerouted based on changing business needs without incurring the cost or overheard of x86 disaster recovery implementations that require dedicated (yet often idle) compute resources.

• Red Hat® supercharges IBM’s Linux on IBM POWER capabilities with the addition of the OpenShift® family of container software development and management tools. Red Hat’s recognition within the cloud and open-source communities has enabled IBM to provide integrated IBM POWER processor-based cloud offerings and IBM Cloud Pak® solutions with notable cost savings. 

• According to a survey conducted by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, Linux on IBM POWER users experienced 99.9996% uptime. Linux on x86 users experienced anywhere from 2.1 to 47 minutes of unplanned downtime per server, per year within the same time frame. This equates to as much as a 235% advantage for Linux on IBM POWER in terms of unplanned downtime, or $235,000 in savings per server, per year.

• When making a platform selection to host Linux workloads, examine the technical and financial benefits of the IBM Power Systems platform. For many organizations, Linux on IBM POWER is the top contender for the job. 

—John F. Ryan and Susan Proietti Conti


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