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IBM Cloud Private Helps Clients Tackle Consolidation, Modernization

IT consolidation is about more than server consolidation. The scope of these cost-saving and simplification projects can range from a small number of devices to consolidation projects involving multiple data centers. A well-documented example of a mega project is when IBM consolidated from 270 data centers in 1997 to just 12 in a project that was completed over a decade.

IT consolidation has received a boost from virtualization technologies that started in early mainframe systems; however, opportunities remain to do a better job of reducing costs. A recent IDC whitepaper ( ) points out that most one- or two-socket servers installed today run at very poor utilization rates even when they are virtualized. Virtualization where the OS isn’t shared has an impact on operating expense as every instance of the OS must be provisioned, managed and protected separately.

Server Consolidation With Power Systems

In spite of consolidation efforts over the years, server sprawl is increasing. The aforementioned IDC whitepaper estimates that from 2010 to 2020, server sprawl will cause a quadrupling of server management and administration costs, as well as power, cooling and data center footprint expense increases.

Consider IBM Power Systems* servers instead of x86 tech-nologies for Linux* instances, specifically OpenPOWER LC servers. These servers can support high utilization rates employing fewer servers. IBM OpenPOWER LC servers are price-advantaged over comparatively configured Intel* x86-based servers, costing 30 percent less in some configurations, according to IBM.

IBM Systems Workload Estimator

Tools are important to the success of any consolidation project and are critical for not only managing the current system, but also sizing the new consolidated environment. For server consolidation, the IBM Systems Workload Estimator (WLE), which is a web-based sizing tool for IBM Power Systems, is essential to complete early project sizing and planning (

You can use this tool to size a new system, size an upgrade to an existing system or size a consolidation of several systems. WLE will characterize the projected workload either using your measurement data or by using one of the many workload plug-ins, which provide the necessary sizing guidance. The tool will provide current and growth recommendations for processor, memory and disk (whether internal or SAN) that satisfy the overall performance requirements. WLE can support estimates dealing with multiple systems, multiple partitions, multiple OSes and multiple sizing intervals.

Consolidation Coexisting With Modernization

At the same time that organizations are consolidating their IT infrastructure, they’re also modernizing application workloads. For many, the monolithic application is moving to a microservices-type architecture. An important element of this transformation is using cloud technologies, which are a natural fit with IBM Power Systems enterprise servers running the software mix provided with IBM Cloud* Private.

Some organizations’ initial foray into a private cloud was a DIY effort. Because Power Systems servers have strong built-in virtualization and a rock-solid software stack, it’s possible to make a straightforward catalog of services supported by scripts written in-house to spin up or tear down a standard software image.

When you use your imagination, you can see other possibilities like exploiting open-source software to provision a database or other middleware image. This may be a necessary proof-of-concept step for some organizations but it doesn’t have the potential to make a significant impact on innovation when compared to IBM Cloud Private.

Embracing IBM Cloud Private

IBM Cloud Private makes it possible to jump into cloud with both feet with its diverse software stack. It’s a private cloud platform for developing and running workloads on your systems. IBM Cloud Private is an integrated environment that makes it possible for you to design, develop, deploy and manage cloud applications behind your firewall.

It includes the container orchestrator Kubernetes, a private image repository, a management console and monitoring frameworks. Even if you’re not sure what all of this software is used for, after a little research, you get the idea quickly. Consider the five examples in Figure 1 from the software mix in IBM Cloud Private.

The Right Infrastructure

Today, IT consolidation, especially regarding servers, continues and is needed more than ever in spite of the many projects that have already been completed. This need is driven by volume server growth that continues at a rapid pace and is expected to do so through 2020. At the same time, application modernization is happening in many organizations driven by digital transformation projects and other needs like embracing newer programming models and languages.

IBM Power Systems servers meet the needs of both consolidation and modernization projects. They’re uniquely positioned to compete favorably with one- or two-socket x86 servers for consolidation projects, while at the same time IBM Cloud Private software provides a rich and robust environment for application modernization on cloud. It’s rare in the fragmented IT industry for a product line to have this flexibility and longevity, but it’s possible with IBM Cloud Private.