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Blog January 4, 2022

What IT Modernization Really Means for IBM Power Systems Users

In some organizations, “IT modernization” is a touchy subject. Managed poorly, IT modernization can become an expensive, risky, and sticky mess. On the other hand, failure to update business systems and applications can leave the organization struggling under mountains of technical debt.

Technical Debt is On the Rise

We’ve written about the concept of technical debt before. As a refresher, technical debt is the cost to the organization that accrues as the company decides to put off upgrading critical applications, infrastructure, and systems. As systems grow increasingly outdated, the cost to modernize grows. So, too, do the risks to the business, such as lost competitiveness and heightened security vulnerabilities.

Thanks to the backward and forward compatibility of successive generations of hardware, IBM Power Systems users are especially susceptible to technical debt. As one generation of hardware or software replaces another, IT executives engage in a balancing act, wavering between either leaving older technology in place or making the decision to replace – and maybe even replatform.

IT Modernization: Staying True to the Blue

Replatforming refers to the process of migrating an existing application to a new platform, e.g., IBM i to X86. Because the IBM Power processor has been around for more than three decades, IBM Power Systems are often talked about as though they are outdated technologies. Nothing could be further from the truth.

IBM AIX is an integrated environment, ideal for enterprise-level organizations, with a long-standing reputation for flexibility, exceptional security features, virtualization capabilities, and business resilience. IBM i is the preferred platform for industries running critical applications and processing large volumes of data such as banking, financial services, insurance, retail, and more. With the imminent release of the IBM Power10 processor, these systems keep getting more efficient, powerful, and secure.

In 2020, IDC compared businesses that modernized their existing IBM platforms by upgrading their hardware with those that replatformed by replacing their IBM hardware with a different system. In this study, businesses that modernized but remained on the IBM platform were more satisfied than those that replatformed to a different system.

While this was true for a variety of platform characteristics, including performance, customer experience, and agility, the most notable difference was in the area of “security, availability, and disaster recovery.” This is not too surprising as IBM systems tend to score higher than other server systems in these areas. For example, in this 2021 ITIC Security Survey, 92% of IBM Power Systems users said they were able to detect security attacks immediately or within the first 10 minutes. At a time when attackers can remain undetected for months, this is a significant platform advantage.

Cost-Effective Modernization

When considering an IT modernization strategy, cost is almost always a factor. Interestingly, IDC found that IBM i users who modernized spent 3.5% less on software, staffing, consulting, and business disruption than those who replatform. Nevertheless, upgrading your IBM Power Systems hardware can be expensive. As one of the largest IBM service providers, Connectria can help you cost-effectively modernize in a variety of ways:

  • Remote Monitoring and Management – If you decide to upgrade your on-premises IBM Power Systems, we can help you cost-effectively fill staffing gaps through our remote monitoring solutions. We also offer additional managed services for the IBM platform, including managed security and Disaster Recovery as a Service. Using outside resources can help you lower overhead costs while ensuring a high-performance/high-availability infrastructure.
  • Hosted Private Cloud – Many IT leaders include migrating workloads to the cloud as a key pillar of their IT modernization strategy. Often, this doesn’t sit well with IT because migrating to the cloud can be seen as synonymous with replatforming. It doesn’t have to be. Connectria can help you migrate and house your IBM workloads on IBM Power Systems hardware in one of our purpose-built data centers. This approach allows you to enjoy the latest hardware advancements without the overhead of maintaining your own data center facilities or incurring hardware upgrade and maintenance costs.
  • Hybrid Cloud – Hybrid environments are another way to modernize your IT infrastructure. Connectria offers a hybrid architecture that allows clients to house their IBM i workloads in our data centers with connection speeds of <2 ms between the IBM i and x86 workloads. For IBM Power Systems users that want to leverage AWS, we also offer IBM with AWS, an ultra-low-latency direct connection to AWS US-East and US-West regions. To learn more, download the Solution Brief.

Connectria Solutions and Support

Using tools like SAN-to-SAN replication and logical replication software, we leverage this same hybrid architecture environment to deliver high-availability disaster recovery options for our IBM i users. Many customers find SAN-to-SAN replication particularly cost-effective as it allows them to avoid the costs of entitling IBM i or AIX operating systems in the recovery data center.

Connectria’s Edge Connect service enables you to bring devices to Connectria data centers where we can provide the rack, power, cooling, and connectivity needed. This includes things like SD-WAN appliances, MPLS Routers, or hardware that cannot be virtualized. Running each IBM LPAR is current generation IBM Power Systems (POWER9) hardware. Connectria can provide this hardware in a number of different fashions. We have a cloud-based offering that leverages the S922 platform and licensing can be provided on a pay-as-you-go basis. With our cloud offering, we can provide Power Systems cores and OS entitlements in increments as small as one-tenth of a core.

If you have LPAR requirements that exceed our standard cloud sizes, we can provide dedicated environments based on the S914, S924, and even the E950 and E980 platforms. In some cases, we’ve had customers who have wanted to retain ownership of their Power Systems hardware in the environment. This isn’t a problem. We can provide the same level of management, colocation space, as well as ping, power, and cooling to meet those needs.

Ready to take the next step? Contact us and one of our IBM Power Systems specialists can help you get started on the IT modernization journey that’s right for your organization and budget.

For more on IBM i and AIX disaster recovery solutions, read:

For more information about our hybrid cloud, read:

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