IBM Is Rolling Out Power Updates Aimed At SMBs
Wade Tyler Millward
“We’re sharing a framework for what we see as opportunities for success,” Steve Sibley, IBM vice president of Power Systems offering management, tells CRN in an interview.
To improve and simplify digital transformation adoption for partners and their customers, IBM has announced a series of updates for its Power product suite and promised more regular investment in areas where partners participate.
Those areas include containers, working with smaller businesses and more integrations with third-party vendors, Steve Sibley, IBM vice president of Power Systems offering management, told CRN in an interview.
“We’re sharing a framework for what we see as opportunities for success,” Sibley said. “And so helping our partners know where they can position Power is really important.”
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Upcoming IBM Power Updates
Updates due in the coming weeks include the ability for clients to modernize core banking workloads with Temenos Transact using OpenShift from IBM subsidiary Red Hat on Power10.
Use of containers for modernizing IT is “an area where we‘re looking for particularly service providers or partners who are investing in helping from a skill standpoint,” Sibley said.
“The key from a partner standpoint is we need them investing alongside us to help clients deploy those DevOps (development operations) environments, to understand how they manage OpenShift across a heterogeneous environment,” he said. “So that’s a key area we need our partners to invest alongside with us going forward.”
IBM is investing in more demonstrations and education of new technology for partners learning how to run report programming generator (RPG) on OpenShift, managing multi-cloud environments and other areas.
Another upcoming update is the roll out of a 24-core dual chip module on IBM Power S1014 for small and midsize customers running core workloads on Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 (SE2). The modules work for more applications as well, including IBM Db2.
According to IBM, Oracle Database SE2 on the S1014 has less total application cost per database instance compared to Intel’s fourth generation Xeon scalable processors and reduces the total number of servers needed for sustainability.
CRN has reached out to Intel for comment.
This and other offerings aimed at smaller businesses should help IBM’s ecosystem of resellers, managed services providers (MSPs) and other partner business types, Sibley said.
“Particularly the resellers and MSPs that are growing right and trying to fuel their business, they want to move beyond just the, ‘OK, I‘ll upgrade that client again (business)’ to the next generation.”
Accelerators built into every core also aim to improve adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) applications, such as pricing analytics and supply chain management, Sibley said.
Phil Godwin, president and chief operating officer of Addison, Texas-based IBM partner Clear Technologies – No. 469 on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 – told CRN in an interview that he saw “significant growth” with Power from 2021 to 2022.
“We’re seeing growth in two areas,” Godwin said. “One is the refresh business. And then we put a big focus on the SAP Hana space. So that‘s really what we’re seeing – competitive wins in the Hana space.”
Clear Technologies has invested in growing its security portfolio with IBM and other vendors and expects “significant growth” in that area in 2023, Godwin said. Security offerings should help Clear grow its small and midsize customer base as well.
“We built a pretty strong SDR program – a sales development rep program – so a lot of the focus that we‘re focused on is not only our current clients but really growing our client base,” he said.
IBM Power Updates Now Available
Already available updates for the Power suite include a subscription option for the Merlin modernization tool subscription, live partition mobility for the entire Power10 portfolio and scalable 2-to-6 terabyte (TB) bundles for SAP Hana on Power10. The pricing should come to about $20,000 a TB depending on configurations, Sibley said.
Also available are Hyper Protect Crypto Services for IBM’s Advanced Interactive Executive (AIX) proprietary Unix operating systems and Linux on Power Virtual Server, according to IBM.
Merlin, a shortened form of IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration, is a modernization and application development tool that now offers a subscription for customers, according to the Armonk, N.Y.-based vendor.
Developers building applications on IBM i with Merlin can access automated conversion of fixed-format to free-format report programming generator (RPG) and built-in security. The developers also gain access to Git, Jenkins and other modern development tools for faster provisioning, modernized apps, reduced time to market and a single pipeline for DevOps.
Live partition mobility with virtual persistent memory dynamically moves SAP workloads between systems while allowing fast SAP Hana restart with no additional cost. This feature aims to eliminate downtime for server maintenance.
The 2-to-6 TB bundles are aimed at customers with smaller SAP Hana workloads. The bundles are available through business partners and feature Power L1022 and Power L1024 servers, memory and services aimed at smaller Hana workloads, according to IBM.
SAP Hana is “a key area that we‘re seeing huge growth in from a power standpoint,” IBM’s Sibley told CRN. The bundles should also better compete against Intel and other vendors in the space while bringing larger enterprise level security to smaller companies, Sibley said.
Pricing offerings for lower market customers not only should entice those customers, but ones looking to save money in the high inflation environment, Sibley said.
“Our customers tend to, as the environment gets tougher from a financial standpoint, double down on what they know and what really works, which is good for us,” he said. “New customers, though, do kind of the same thing, there. They tend to buckle down into their own environments that they‘ve been used to. So we’re trying to penetrate that, some, with some of these offerings.”
And with IBM’s Hyper Protect Crypto Services for AIX and Linux on IBM Power Systems Virtual Server, users gain the ability to securely store and protect encryption key information for AIX and Linux. This integration aims to prevent the compromise of AIX file systems encryption and Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) encryption keys.
Hyper Protect Crypto Services is the single point of control for enabling or disabling data access across an enterprise, according to IBM.
Investment in the Power Systems Virtual Server speaks to customer desire for more IT as a service, Sibley said.
“We know more clients are moving in this direction of wanting to purchase in a flexible way, wanting partners – whether, again, it‘s the vendor or the MSP – doing more of the services and support for them, that’s a key strategic element you‘re going to hear more and more about from IBM through 2023,” he said. “But our key (message) is we need to do that with our partners.”
IBM is also investing in more demonstrations and education of new technology for partners learning how to run RPG on OpenShift, managing multi-cloud environments and other areas, he said.
IBM made its Power10 microprocessor family generally available in 2021. During the company’s latest quarterly earnings report in January, executives reported that Power helped fuel the 7 percent year over year constant currency revenue growth in IBM’s infrastructure segment.
Infrastructure brought in $4.5 billion during the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, according to IBM.