Finally, IBM i Cloud Dev Instances That Are Powerful And Cheap
October 24, 2022 Chuck Paolillo
Back in the old days, when IBM had relatively inexpensive entry AS/400 and iSeries machines and was willing to lease them at special low rates to developers, it was possible for software houses and independent code slingers to get their hands on machinery to create and modify applications. Those days are long gone, and it has been very difficult to replace that cheap and usable functionality in the marketplace.
With Windows Server and Linux platforms, things are a lot easier because developers can create a variant of their X86 server environment right on their desktops or laptops, and if need be these days, they can get pretty reasonably priced T2.micro or T3.micro instances on the Amazon Web Services cloud if they want to test applications on a proper server.
While the IBM i market has come a long way with a variety of hosting services and now cloud services – the latter with true a la carte features and utility pricing that scales up and down with capacity – it is still difficult for developers to get access to cheap, but still powerful, IBM i instances on Power Systems iron. And even those IBM i instances on developer cloud services that are free or very inexpensive often do not have enough CPW capacity to load the Navigator for i management and monitoring tool that is commonly used by developers. Ditto for the full enterprise Java stack, which often cannot run properly on the developer cloud instances available on the market today.
CloudFirst wants to change all that with its ezDev service for IBM i, which is being launched today through the auspices of The Four Hundred and which is available starting now.
With ezDev, developers will get access to the latest Power9 and Power10 systems, equipped with the latest IBM i 7.4 and IBM i 7.5 operating systems and development tools. These ezDev cloud partitions include modern IBM compilers as well as open source technologies that are increasingly used in IBM i shops. This will allow developers to access the latest development tools and have full systems control with QSECOFR authority. (It is important to be able to test applications for security vulnerabilities as they are being coded or refactored, and ezDev allows this to be done on a true developer system, not on a production environment and includes their custom ezSecurity SIP package to configure and manage system security.)
To be specific, the ezDev slices include traditional languages such as RPG, COBOL, C/C++, Java, and SQL, as well as the Db2 for integrated relational database and the Apache Web server. Open source languages such as Ruby, R, Node.js, Python, and PHP, and the Mono .NET runtime, are also set up as are IBM’s Rational development tools as well as Yum, Bash, Git, and the GCC open source compiler set.
Importantly, CloudFirst understands that a lot of IBM i customers are still on older releases, and we have the capability to support older releases such as IBM i 7.1, IBM i 7.2, and IBM i 7.3 on Power9 machinery and is even willing to create customized ezDev instances that run on even more vintage hardware and earlier IBM i 6.1 releases to help companies move their existing applications to the cloud to refactor them for more modern releases, where they can be tested at scale without a massive upfront investment to buy a new machine.
The ezDev partitions at CloudFirst are set at 1/10th of a CPU on a Power9 or Power10 core, which have roughly 1,500 CPWs and 2,500 CPWs of performance, respectively. And at any given time, when developers need a lot more compute and memory capacity – such as when they are compiling applications – the performance of the ezDev partitions will automatically scale up to a full Power9 or Power10 core to massively speed up those compile times.
The ezDev partitions on Power Systems running IBM i are pre-built and ready to run across the network of datacenters operated by CloudFirst, and customers can move their applications and data to the ezDev partitions using a secure VPN – all within a matter of hours. If the Internet is too slow and the size of the data is too large, CloudFirst can support LTO3 and higher tape cartridges and data can be shipped to the datacenter to be loaded onto partitions. Additionally, data on the production systems can be vaulted from the production machine and restored on the ezDev instance as well.
That’s a powerful setup, and now let’s talk about price.
Even a modestly configured entry Power9 and Power10 machine can cost between $25,000 and $50,000, depending on the features. With ezDev, the first six months of the cloud partition are free, and after that, depending on the configuration, the price will be between $100 and $200 per month, depending on the configuration. This represents an 80 percent discount off the full price of a cloud slice of IBM i capacity at CloudFirst, and is analogous to the deep discounting IBM used to offer on systems for developers back in the day. (The cloud offering is already like a lease that IBM used to give on developer systems in that it has a monthly payment over an extended period of time.)
One last thing, which it bears pointing out in the front end. These ezDev partitions are intended to be used for application development and testing and are not intended to be used in production. CloudFirst has competitively priced production partitions on its cloud for running the real applications and real databases, which are, of course, more expensive than the ezDev prices that are intentionally and artificially reduced.
To sign up for ezDev, click on this link and get started now.
Chuck Paolillo is chief technology officer at CloudFirst.
This content was sponsored by CloudFirst.