IBM's Arranged Marriage Between OpenShift and Power Aims at Hybrid Cloud Crown

Its new Power-based hardware appliance for IBM cloud on premises ships with Red Hat's container orchestration platform. Power Systems and IaaS now feature expanded OpenShift support.

Christine Hall

March 2, 2021

3 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

Big Blue these days often looks like a Red Hat vendor. Which is not surprising, given that it spent $32 billion to get to look that way.

IBM recently doubled down on its big bet on Red Hat's hybrid cloud moxie by announcing that it's shedding itself of all its businesses that aren't hybrid cloud-related. Sharing the limelight was IBM's homegrown Power architecture, which the company would like to entice Red Hat OpenShift users to purchase. 

IBM announced it has expanded support for OpenShift in Power Systems servers, added support for OpenShift to its Power Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud offering. Additionally, the new IBM Power Private Cloud Rack appliance will offer an easily way to run metered OpenShift and Power compute from within on-premises or colocation data centers without having to bother with installation or configuration.

Expanded OpenShift Support on Power Servers

IBM Power System servers already support OpenShift and since December IBM has offered to pre-install and configure OpenShift on Power servers before shipping in order to ease deployment when the hardware arrives at customer's data centers.

Last week, IBM announced that its expanded Power's support of OpenShift by adding Red Hat's CodeReady Workspaces and OpenShift Application Runtimes on Power boxes. This should be good news for DevOps teams, since they can now more easily collaborate and contribute code through Workspaces while taking advantage of the tools and developer platforms that Runtimes brings to the table when working in Power environments.

"We enabled Red Hat's CodeReady Workspaces and Runtimes so that clients can develop on Power just like they do on Intel," Steve Sibley, a VP with IBM Systems, told DCK. "Same experience, same capabilities, and yet they can [get] the advantages that Power can provide from the resilience, scale, and performance side of things."

OpenShift on Power in the Cloud

OpenShift is now also available on IBM Power Virtual Server, the Power-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering on IBM's cloud that was launched about a year ago.

Sibley said that with only about 100 users, Power Virtual Server might seem like a niche offering, but he expects to see that number grow, especially since the service last year added support for SAP HANA and with OpenShift bringing Kubernetes into play.

"We anticipate clients who haven't used Power before will take advantage of the capabilities we have," he said. "Our resiliency that's built into the architecture and our scale and performance, those type of things are very flexible in our Power cloud and they can take advantage of those as well."

Metering Power and OpenShift On-Prem

Big Blue has brought IBM Power Private Cloud Rack Solution to the table, a new pre-configured on-premises appliance with compute, storage, networking, and pre-installed software to match any existing infrastructure, whether it's based on Linux, IBM i, or AIX.

"Not only the compute and storage but the Red Hat OpenShift deployment, with the master node, management nodes, and worker nodes set up for the client as well, so that they can get started very quickly," Sibley said.

Although located on premises, the Private Cloud Rack Solution has a cloud-like elastic pricing model.

"We give clients extreme flexibility in a pay-as-you go consumption model -- just like they would see in the cloud -- where we only charge them for what they're using," he said. "We've driven some new capabilities there and are now metering Red Hat and SUSE Linux, as well as IBM's AIX and IBM i operating environments, giving them one place that they can purchase their infrastructure."

Sibly said that capacity is metered by the minute and can include Rack Solution devices located in multiple data center locations and use IBM cloud with unified billing.

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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