Building on a year of focus to help IBM Power clients grow with hybrid cloud and AI

At the beginning of the year, we laid out a new strategy for IBM Power under the leadership of Ken King, who will be retiring by the end of 2023 after forty years with IBM. It is with immense gratitude that I thank Ken for his leadership not only across IBM Power, but for his service to IBM in various roles spanning IP, strategy and software during his distinguished IBM career.

I am excited to announce, therefore, that a few months ago I took on the role of IBM Power general manager. As Ken passes the baton, I want to take stock of the progress we’ve made — and point to where we are prioritizing — across four critical areas to help address our clients’ digital transformation imperatives:

  • Continuing to innovate key capabilities for core business workloads by strategically investing in three operating environments on IBM Power: AIX, IBM i and Linux
  • Driving growth with SAP HANA on Power on-premises and in the cloud
  • Supporting clients’ banking and industry modernization journey
  • Providing greater flexibility with subscription services and Power as a Service

Our value proposition is the ability to combine hybrid cloud and AI with clients’ trusted data on IBM Power to fuel business outcomes. Let’s dig in to some specifics.

Down to the core

We’ve continued to innovate and invest in operating environments on IBM Power to help ensure business continuity, reliability, availability, serviceability and security for clients. In the latest IBM i Technology Refresh — IBM i 7.5 TR3 and 7.4 TR9 — announced in October, we listened to feedback from our IBM i Advisory Councils and prioritized advancements in ease of use, productivity, and automation with enhancements to Navigator for i and new additions to SYSTOOLS for automating Db2 for i. 

We also have a new release of AIX — AIX 7.3 TL2 — building on Power10’s high availability leadership with performance and scale enhancements to Live Kernel Update (designed to give the ability to update AIX without unplanned downtime), optimized file system performance and enhancements designed to improve AIX encryption performance and audit event checking. You can learn more about this latest release on the AIX webcast on November 14.

We are expanding IBM Db2 Warehouse on Power with a new Base Rack Express at a 30% lower entry list price, adding to today’s S, M and L configurations, while still providing the same total-solution experience, including Db2 Data Warehouse’s connectivity with to unlock the potential of data for analytics and AI.

Oracle will be releasing Oracle Database 23c on Power, as part of their next Long Term Release as reported in April 2023. Separately, in 2024, clients will be able to look forward to continued enhancements to the AIX, IBM i and Linux roadmaps.

Accelerating business transformation with SAP HANA on Power 

As the 2027 end of mainstream maintenance for SAP’s legacy ERP is approaching, our customers are all in different stages of their business transformation journey. SAP is accelerating this journey by offering the current ERP, S/4HANA, as a managed service offering with SAP RISE. IBM Power is supporting our customers in their business transformation journey by offering customer infrastructure solutions designed to meet customers where they are. Whether they need Power10 systems on-premises to upgrade their SAP landscapes, Power Virtual Server capacity to accelerate migration to S/4HANA, or SAP RISE in IBM Cloud on Power, we are providing solutions on Power infrastructure.

In addition, IBM is also offering a hybrid cloud consumption model that will allow flexibility for both on-premises and cloud expenditures. Initially this program will allow clients to leverage the investment of on-premises hardware and, with a commitment to IBM Power Virtual Server, receive cloud capacity credits for IBM Power Private Cloud.

With this hybrid cloud consumption program, clients can leverage the benefits of cloud while also nurturing their on-premises SAP on Power environments as they build out their long-term hybrid cloud strategy.

To continue our momentum on AI with SAP, in 1Q24, as we announced in September, we will also be delivering the first release of SAP ABAP SDK for watsonx, which is intended to simplify and accelerate customers’ ability to consume watsonx services from their custom ABAP environments.

Driving industry modernization

Whether clients need to deploy large language models (LLMs), integrated with watsonx, close to their data and transactions, or integrate mission-critical data into their data fabric architecture, Power10’s powerful core can help embed AI-driven insights into business processes and safeguard AI workflows.

For instance, a Thai hospital chain was facing a challenge with its current pathology process which prolonged the overall workflow, resulting in delayed responses to diagnosis, patient management, and support for more patients. By deploying an AI inference solution for both Speech-to-Text and Image analysis on Power10, the pathology unit was able to increase sensitivity in detecting lesions to prioritize higher probability cases. These are important steps for their mission to achieve better clinical outcomes, a faster time to treatment for patients, and an efficient reduction in pathologist workloads.

Later this month, clients will be able to take advantage of expanded data science services with the release of IBM Cloud Pak for Data V4.8, which will deliver the underpinnings for, IBM’s next-generation AI studio. To further help our clients on their AI journeys, we continue to double-down on hybrid cloud with Red Hat so that workloads can run in a best-fit environment. To that end:

  • Red Hat OpenShift 4.14 has just been released and is available to run natively on IBM Power, providing support for multi-architecture compute (MAC) worker nodes across Power, IBM Z, ARM, and x86 environments.
  • Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform components now run natively on IBM Power. Clients can consolidate their environments and run Ansible Automation Platform on the same Power servers where their business-critical workloads are already running, instead of having to run Ansible automation hub and automation controller on separate x86 processor-based servers to manage Power endpoints. Read more here.

A vibrant ecosystem enables a range of use cases for our clients running software on Power. Finacle is a leading digital banking suite from Infosys. With Finacle solutions on Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Power, IBM and Finacle are expanding on our 20+ year collaboration. I’m happy to share that clients can soon leverage solutions from the Finacle Digital Banking Suite using Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Power to meet evolving customer demands, regulatory, and market dynamics.  

Power as a service

To meet client demand, throughout the year, we’re focusing on transforming the Proof of Concept (PoC) experience for IBM Power Virtual Server. We’re simplifying the process, making network configuration easier, adding power edge routers, and implementing a step-by-step automated modernization approach for IBM i, AIX and Linux that’s designed to be as straightforward as an on-premises migration from Power9 to Power10.

We’re also moving away from a “Do It Yourself” (DIY) model for High Availability/Disaster Recovery (HA/DR) solutions to a prescriptive and automated one. The goal is to provide clients with a clear path forward for business continuity, ensuring a smoother and more efficient process.

For more on our fourth quarter plans to meet clients’ expectations for running production workloads effectively on IBM Power Virtual Server, read here.

IBM Power backed by IBM Expert Care

We’re also making strides in our service offerings for IBM Power. IBM Power10 can be sold together with IBM Power Expert Care, a tiered support model that makes it easier for clients to choose the right level of support for their needs and budget at the time of sale. Earlier this year, IBM adjusted the IBM Power E1080 Expert Care Premium tier to align to client expectations for proactive support. IBM Power Expert Care Remote Support and Parts is also now available in many countries with no physical IBM presence.

Additionally, all IBM Power support contracts come with access to IBM Support Insights, which provides clients with actionable insights for multivendor IT infrastructures to proactively assess and remediate IT risks. The IBM Support Insights Pro subscription, announced on September 12, is designed to expand and strengthen the scope of security risk coverage to include community open source, provide prioritized actions by vendor and product family to speed IT lifecycle decision-making, and further address reliability with an extended case history and analysis to better learn from previous support issues.

What’s next for IBM Power

We’ve listened to our community and advisory councils, and we’re dedicated to creating solutions with partners and clients so we can continue to strive to provide the most trusted and open computing platform for mission critical, scalable transaction processing, and data serving workloads. Our goals include making it easier for clients to run AI workloads closer to their data with on-chip AI acceleration, improving total cost of ownership and performance, increasing availability with up to 8x9s (99.999999%) for mission-critical workloads and fewer outages as compared to x86 servers, and enhancing security and sustainability features.

I’m extremely excited for the road ahead. We’ll continue to meet our clients where they are in their digital journey and strive to make the path to success as simple as possible, whether it’s by making more aaS options available, increasing pathways for workloads to move across hybrid environments, or helping to extract even more value from SAP workloads on Power.

Reach out to your IBM Power representative or Business Partner to discuss how we can keep making progress together.

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Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.

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