Logicalis Touts Cloud as IBM i Skill-Replacement Solution
May 20, 2014 Alex Woodie
Organizations that are having a tough time filling jobs for IBM i professionals may find that outsourcing their IBM i environment to a private cloud fills the gap, Power Systems cloud operator Logicalis said recently.
As the baby boomers who manage IBM i systems around the country reach retirement age, the skills gap is looming as a big potential hurdle for the continued longevity of the IBM i platform. IBM is trying to inject new blood into the platform with educational programs, such as its Global Skills Initiative.
But trying to convince kids to learn this thing called the IBM i is a tough sell, particularly when so many other areas of IT, such as big data analytics and mobile computing, are viewed as sexier and more lucrative alternatives. There are exceptions to this rule, such as Jim Buck’s program at Gateway Technical College, which generates job-ready graduates who are quickly snapped up by companies all over the country. So far, we haven’t seen this model scaled up to address the problem.
In the meantime, cloud operators like Logicalis will look to fill the skills gap by effectively enabling organizations to outsource the ownership, care, and feeding of Power Systems and IBM i environments into a managed service provider (MSP) or bureau model.
“A lot of our IBM Power customers still rely heavily on the IBM i platform for mission-critical applications. The platform itself is still a viable solution for these customers,” says Kevin Gruneisen, senior director of data center solutions at Logicalis US. “However, we are noticing that there are fewer people in the market today who can effectively maintain, manage, and operate that infrastructure on premise. As a result, CIOs who need to maintain these systems are looking for life-extending strategies and solutions.”
Logicalis is one of a handful of MSPs hosting private cloud environments on Power Systems hardware. The company supports IBM i and AIX operating systems in its Logicalis Enterprise Cloud for IBM Power Systems, which is housed in a Tier III data center that’s compliant with the latest ITIL, SSAE, and HIPAA standards.
On the IBM i front, Logicalis supports BRMS, Performance Tools, PowerVM Enterprise, SQL Development Kit, and other common tools. The company has been selling access to its IBM i cloud for the past three years, and charges on a pay-as-you-go pricing model (with minimum contract lengths, of course). It also provides the horsepower for cloud-based offerings by IBM i application vendors, namely HarrisData, with whom it announced a partnership two years ago.
“We already have customers who are using the environment for mission-critical and non-mission critical workloads as well as disaster recovery as a service. In the case of our ISV customers, our cloud provides a perfect environment for delivering software as a service,” Gruneisen says. “We want to provide the same class of service that our customers have in their on-premise environments in the cloud at a competitive price … [W]e give customers the ability to realign their workforce to take on today’s challenges while leaving the backroom, lights-on responsibilities to us.”