Volume 23, Number 37 -- October 28, 2013

Big Data, OpenPower Are Big Levers For Power Systems

Published: October 28, 2013

by Dan Burger

Doug Balog, the general manager for IBM Power Systems for right around three months, was the big data evangelist at last week's Enterprise2013 conference in Orlando, Florida. In the context of his presentation, he referred to data as the "new national resource" and described Power Systems as "a great box for data analytics."

Although he lauded Power Systems hardware for its ability to do high performance analytics and its "massive compute capabilities" with parallel processing, plenty of cores, lots of threads per core, and high I/O, he followed that up by adding that "conversations with customers are about problems and solutions," a line that finds its way into nearly every conversation with IBM executives.

Power Systems as an open platform received the greatest amount of attention during Balog's presentation, along with Linux on Power, KVM virtualization, OpenStack, and the OpenPower Consortium, formed in August to open up the Power processor to innovation from the outside of IBM. He described OpenStack as a source for new workloads built for an open infrastructure and commented that the OpenPower Consortium was in the beginning stages of becoming a broad ecosystem.

Balog was just hitting the highlights during his brief keynote, but he took time to explain the consortium was created because of "disenchantment with a single-vendor driving the innovation agenda solely based on the X86 platform. When you have community-based solutions, it is good for everyone. When you have single-vendor-based innovation, that's not usually the best way forward."

Balog said IBM will bring systems to the market based on open systems innovation and will partner with other vendors in the consortium. "This is in the formative stages, but expect things to happen in this quarter," he said.

Without mentioning any specific objectives, Balog said the future of Power Systems includes a commitment to new innovation that includes IBM i, AIX, and Linux on OpenPower machines; new clients and added value; and an emerging community that is youthful and ready to innovate.

For Balog's answers to specific questions, see his IT Jungle interview with Timothy Prickett Morgan in the October 7 issue of The Four Hundred.

At the conclusion of his presentation, Balog introduced Roxanne Reynolds Lair, CIO for Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), who explained how innovation on Power Systems is being accomplished using IBM i. Reynolds Lair and FIDM have received multiple awards for IT innovation during the past decade. The awards were presented by IBM and the COMMON user group.

"We don't have a big IT budget or a lot of staff," Reynolds Lair said. "So we had to make this work with existing infrastructure and the skill set that we had on our staff."

The end users for the mobile and Web projects that FIDM has produced are mostly students who are tech savvy, mobile, and under 30 years old. The challenge was to provide an intuitive user experience that allows users to be more productive while collaborating with peers and professors and accessing secure personal information.


Q&A With Doug Balog, Power Systems GM

IBM Forms OpenPower Consortium, Breathes New Life Into Power

IBM Names New GMs For Power Systems And System z

PureSystems Sales Break 6,000, And IBM Names New GM

What Is IBM Going To Do With Its Systems Business?

Speaking of IBM i Innovation . . .

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Victor Rozek,
Jenny Thomas, Hesh Wiener, Alex Woodie
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