IBM Leverages Power Systems, SoftLayer to Harness Big Data

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-02-25

IBM Leverages Power Systems, SoftLayer to Harness Big Data

LAS VEGAS—IBM is leveraging its Power Systems and mainframe technology to better support big data applications in the cloud.

At the IBM Pulse 2014 conference here, Big Blue announced that SoftLayer is integrating IBM Power Systems into their cloud infrastructure that is expected to deliver a level and breadth of services beyond what has traditionally been available over the cloud. IBM also announced new services and tools that will help organizations deploy hybrid and private cloud environments.

Taking advantage of IBM's Power Systems line of servers built for big data demands, SoftLayer can help clients seeking cutting-edge technologies and tools to help them better capture, understand and leverage increasing volumes of data, IBM said. Additionally, the IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service will deliver a simplified management and a seamless user experience for hybrid cloud deployments.

Further bolstering the IBM cloud portfolio, IBM Wave for z/VM will provide rapid insight into an organization's virtualized infrastructure with intelligent visualization, simplified monitoring and unified management.

Last month IBM publicly committed $1.2 billion to expand its global cloud footprint. In particular, IBM plans to deliver cloud services from 40 data centers worldwide in 15 countries and five continents globally, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Beginning next quarter and continuing over time, SoftLayer's first service built on Power Systems will be IBM Watson solutions followed by additional offerings leveraging Power Systems' advantages of optimization for data and analytics performance.

The preliminary set of planned offerings includes Watson solutions such as the Watson Discovery Advisor, Watson Engagement Advisor and the Watson Development Cloud, which is a platform as a service that contains the technology, tools, SDKs and APIs that enable third parties to design, develop and deploy cognitive applications. There will also be software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, including a range of data services optimized on Power Systems such as IBM's DB2 BLU with Acceleration and IBM Cognos analytics solutions, and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings on bare metal Power Systems that will be offered to clients as an on-demand infrastructure platform.

IBM said this news comes less than a year after IBM acquired SoftLayer. Shortly after the acquisition was complete, the IBM Power Systems and SoftLayer development teams came together to rapidly design and test Power Systems optimized for the SoftLayer environment.

"Once our development teams began testing Power Systems in the SoftLayer environment, Power's competitive advantage immediately became clear," Lance Crosby, IBM SoftLayer CEO, said in a statement. "The performance and efficiencies inherent in Power Systems are a real game-changer—particularly, when it comes to building out modern, adaptable cloud environments that can handle the next level of big data coming our way. The combination of SoftLayer and Power Systems will allow us to take cloud computing to a new level, providing customers with services they hadn't thought were possible."


IBM Leverages Power Systems, SoftLayer to Harness Big Data

Meanwhile, the second element of this announcement is the new IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service, a ready-to-run cluster in the cloud that comes complete with workload management, SoftLayer infrastructure and the support of a dedicated cloud operations team. With IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service organizations can rapidly extend resources to physical, non-shared infrastructure in the SoftLayer cloud to quickly accommodate peaks in demand without being concerned about performance.

Advances in high performance applications are enabling analysts, researchers, scientists and engineers to run more complex and detailed simulations and analyses in a bid to gather game-changing insights and deliver new products to market, IBM said. This is placing greater demand on existing IT infrastructures, driving a need for instant access to resources – compute, storage, and network – as well as high performing workload and resource management.

With the IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service, organizations can access SoftLayer’s cloud resources on a temporary basis without the need to acquire, install and configure the infrastructure in-house. IBM Platform LSF or Platform Symphony software is provisioned on SoftLayer and the on-premise infrastructure, expanding capacity as needed by seamlessly bursting jobs from on-premise to secure off-premise resources. With on-demand access to additional resources, organizations are able to quickly adapt to changing business needs and get their products or research out of the door faster.

IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service will provide an end-to-end hybrid cloud environment to organizations running compute-intensive analytics and technical computing applications. With the acquisition of SoftLayer and Platform Computing, IBM offers clients the benefit of providing both in one complete solution, with the addition of industry expertise to provide support.

Moreover, IBM also introduced IBM Wave for z/VM, a virtualization management tool for managing IBM z/VM and Linux virtual servers, which makes first-time private cloud deployments easier. IBM acquired the technology with the purchase of Israeli-based virtualization company CSL International. IBM Wave makes tasks in Linux on System z environments easier with automation, intelligent visualization, simplified monitoring and unified management.

IBM Wave can help improve productivity and operational efficiency of managing complex server environments. It offers policy-based virtual server provisioning and scaling to handle the most complex installations. Internal tests conducted with IBM Wave demonstrated that it reduced time needed to conduct common and administrative tasks by more than 50 percent.

As a component of the IBM Enterprise Linux Server, IBM Wave will also make it easier for new clients to take advantage of mainframe qualities of service. With 78 of the top 100 System z customers running Linux on the mainframe, this ability will become increasingly critical for IBM clients, IBM said.

IBM Systems and Technology Group offers a full range of offerings supporting public, private and hybrid cloud implementations that integrate with IBM's cloud software and services. The portfolio includes IBM System x racks and BladeCenter, NeXtScale, PureFlex, Power Systems, System z servers, and IBM Storage solutions.


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