Resilience In The Platform, Resilience In The Business
November 30, 2020 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The coronavirus pandemic is making it clear just how dependent much of the global economy is on mobility, entertainment, travel, and hospitality. But it is also making it clear that many parts of the economy, thanks to IT infrastructure, are resilient and are coping with the stresses and strains.
“The need to rapidly innovate has clearly become apparent,” Steve Sibley, vice president and offering manager for the Cognitive Systems division at IBM, explained in his keynote at the recent Common Europe Online vCEC 2020 event. “And we will continue to do that for AIX, IBM i and Linux,” Sibley said, adding that what companies really needed out of their mission-critical infrastructure was a “cloud-like experience” with it all running on “scalable, secure, and resilient infrastructure.”
To its credit, as we have reported throughout the year, IBM has been adding cloud-like capacity flexibility and cloud-like pricing for its Power Systems line, and mimicking as much as possible similar offerings for Power Systems slices running IBM i, AIX, and Linux on its eponymous public cloud. As it turns out, there are three different ways to buy Power Systems machines for these platforms, and Sibley brought them all together in one place:
When talking about the middle column, which is called the Power Private Cloud with Dynamic Capacity and which gives cloud-like pricing on CPU, memory, and storage for on-premises gear, Sibley added a few more details than we saw when this was first announced back in May and was clarified a bit in August.
As part of his keynote, Sibley clarified some of the benefits of the updated entry Power9 machines that came out in July. Take a look:
This chart above sums up the benefits of the new machines rather succinctly, which is why we are bringing it to your attention.
Sibley gave a number of examples of the resilience of IBM i customers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and as someone who speaks to lots and lots of customers in the course of his day job to try to understand their needs, their behavior in the face of adversity has been admirable.
“There has been no greater evidence of the importance of a resilient, high performing compute architecture that has flexibility and agility than this particular time that we are in right now,” said Sibley. “We have retailing clients that have had dramatic surges in their supply chains and they have been able to respond seamlessly to their needs for additional capacity in their Power Systems. The healthcare industry has gone through many challenges – the medical records, the shift in the kinds of things they need to do. And some of the biggest pharmacies in the world saw a 9X increase in the amount of prescriptions being processed in the United States. And many companies needed to add the capabilities of contactless payments and add new delivery services to clients as well.”
It is really a testament to the people who are programming the IBM i platform and who created its underlying hardware and software architecture that these and other companies have been able to respond so well.
This is something we can all be proud of. And we are.
There is another pocket of resilience that Sibley spoke of. While we all know full well that Power Systems sales have been hurt by the pandemic, IBM i software is a bright spot. “Our IBM i business continues to be a foundation for IBM as a whole,” said Sibley, “and we saw growth again in the third quarter for our IBM i software business.”
How much growth, and against what base, we do not know. But in this climate, across such a diversity of industries and customer sizes, any growth is a good thing. So hooray for that, too.