OVH Builds Big Data Cloud on IBM Power8 Chips and OpenStack
Servers inside an OVH data center. (Photo: OVH)

OVH Builds Big Data Cloud on IBM Power8 Chips and OpenStack

French hosting giant preparing to launch cloud services for big data, HPC, database workloads

OVH, one of Europe’s largest hosting companies, has built a new big data cloud infrastructure service using IBM servers powered by Big Blue’s Power8 processors – an alternative to the commonplace x86 processor architecture Intel’s chips are based on.

Getting high-profile customers on board with Power8 is important today for IBM, which has been trying to expand its processor market share aggressively. The company recently sold its commodity x86 server business to Lenovo, and has been focusing resources on Power8.

Along with announcing OVH’s new cloud services, IBM also said the Roubaix, France-based company has become the latest member to join its OpenPower Foundation, an effort it started together with Google, Nvidia, Mellanox and Tyan in 2013. The foundation, now about 60-members strong, is promoting use of the Power architecture, which IBM licenses to others.

The big data cloud services are not in production yet, available only as a lab preview. Called RunAbove, they were designed as cloud services for big data, high performance computing and database workloads – in other words, performance-hungry applications.

There will be two flavors of RunAbove: S for testing how well applications do on the Power8 architecture and 2XL for prime time. S provides VMs that share a physical host, while 2XL offers a single VM per box.

IBM Power Systems General Manager Doug Balog said Power8 was designed specifically for big data. “As the world’s first processor designed for big data, Power8 is a natural choice for any service provider looking to offer their clients high performance capabilities to analyze, move and manage significant amounts of data,” he said in a statement.

The big data cloud infrastructure consists of IBM Power Systems servers and a lot of open source software. The cloud is built using PowerKVM (IBM’s distribution of the open source hypervisor KVM), Fedora Linux operating system and OpenStack, the open source cloud architecture.

OVH is deploying RunAbove nodes in Europe and North America. The company has 15 data centers, two in Canada, and 13 in France.

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