Google Launches IBM Power Systems as a Cloud Service

The service is aimed at legacy enterprise workloads. Google is the second major cloud provider to offer the option besides IBM.

Christine Hall

January 15, 2020

2 Min Read
Power9, IBM Power System AC922
IBM engineer Stefanie Chiras holds a Power9 chip above an AC922 server in AustinJack Plunkett/Feature Photo Service for IBM

Google Cloud Platform announced this week that it has partnered with IBM and is now offering "Power Systems as a service" on its cloud. Google said that with the service, users can run their Power-based workloads on GCP no matter whether they're using AIX, IBM i, or Linux on IBM Power operating systems.

Power on GCP should be welcome news for cloud-bound enterprises dependent on legacy IT running on IBM Power Systems, because it opens the door for multi-cloud deployments of their legacy software. Until now, cloud-based Power processors have only been available in IBM's own cloud.

It's also good for IBM, because most of these enterprises are its long-time customers, and as part of its focus on hybrid cloud the company has been working to convince them to let it be the one to move them from all on-premises environments to hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure. It's hard to sell a multi-cloud solution when only one cloud is equipped to handle the workload.

GCP gains too. It gets to add a new potential source of enterprise customers for its cloud, which has struggled to take substantial market share away from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, neither of which has a Power option in its compute services catalogue. Sweetening the deal for Google, IBM will doubtlessly be selling Power on GCP from its end as part of the solutions it offers to its legacy customers.

Related:IBM Open Sources Its Workhorse Power Chip Architecture

"At one end of the spectrum, some organizations are replatforming entire legacy systems to adopt the cloud," Kevin Ichhpurani, GCP's corporate VP of global ecosystem, pointed out in a blog post. "Many others, however, want to continue leveraging their existing infrastructure while still benefiting from the cloud’s flexible consumption model, scalability, and new advancements in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics."

From the GCP side, users will be able to deploy IBM Power Systems through it's Cloud Marketplace to take advantage of integrated billing, which means a single bill that includes all GCP uses. In addition they'll be able to take advantage of GCP's Private API Access technology for private access to its cloud, as well as low latency between the Power servers and Google Compute Engine virtual machines.

"[E]nterprise customers have been consistently looking for options to run IBM Power Systems in the cloud," Ichhpurani said. "IBM Power Systems for Google Cloud offers a path to do just that, providing the best of both the cloud and on-premise worlds. You can run enterprise workloads like SAP and Oracle on the IBM Power servers that you’ve come to trust, while starting to take advantage of all the technical capabilities and favorable economics that Google Cloud offers."

Related:IBM Designs a “Performance Beast” for AI

The announcement comes only five months after IBM announced that it had open sourced the Power architecture specifications.

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About the Author(s)

Christine Hall

Freelance author

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001 she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and began covering IT full time in 2002, focusing on Linux and open source software. Since 2010 she's published and edited the website FOSS Force. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux.

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