Sunday, April 14, 2024

IBM Offers Processing Power As Utility

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IBM on Monday took the next step on the
road toward realizing its vision of computing as a
utility when it drew the curtain on Linux Virtual
Services, which allows customers to utilize Big Blue’s
computing network to access server processing, data
storage and resources on a pay-as-you-use basis.

“We think this is very much a major step in the next
evolution of computing,” IBM spokesman Warren Hart

Utilizing zSeries mainframes located in IBM
datacenters, Linux Virtual Services allow companies of
all sizes to consolidate server workloads, centralize
management and instantly add computing capacity as
needed. Using its virtual machine operating platform,
IBM said it “carves” the mainframes into virtual
servers, each of which runs a copy of Linux.

By partitioning the processing, storage and network
capacity for each customer, IBM said it can isolate
individual demand on the system and map resources to
that demand, while providing the same level of
separation between customers that a physical server
would. Each customer has its own operating
environment, database and applications.

“IBM advances in technology now permit the
virtualization of computing, networking and storage
components within the data center,” said Jim Corgel,
general manager of e-business on demand services, IBM.
“By creating a virtual, yet resilient
infrastructure, customers can consolidate workloads
and free themselves from the management of physical
servers. With Linux Virtual Services, cutting edge
technology can now be delivered in a cutting edge way
— on demand.”

Reducing Points Of Failure

IBM is offering a 99.99 percent service level
agreement to guarantee the service, and claims that
customers can improve performance and reliability and
simplify system administration through the service
because complexity is significantly reduced by
performing server-to-server communication internally.
This, Big Blue said, cuts the number of potential
points of failure.

Customers purchase processing power through Linux
Virtual Services by the “service unit,” which is a
measure that equates to the processing power being
utilized. Each service unit costs $300 per month,
which includes capacity, operating systems licenses,
power and floor space, and the labor and skills
required to keep the service running. The service
allows customers to burst up to 10 percent over each
virtual server’s capacity at no extra charge, allowing
customers to adhere to steady-state requirements while
maintaining the flexibility to cope with unscheduled
surges in demand.

Additionally, Hart said adding new virtual servers is
as simple as making a phone call, explaining that Big
Blue chose not to enable automatic provisioning,
because of the possibility that an error in coding
could cause vast consumption of resources for
non-productive work.

“We give you a cap on the server side, that’s all you
pay for,” he said. “You can burst 10 percent above
that for free. If you want more than that, literally
it’s a phone call.”

Hart described a number of example scenarios. In one,
a customer was running four Sun servers, which were
replaced with 18 service units. He said the customer
would see savings of about 45 percent on a typical
monthly basis. In another scenario, a customer ran 35
Intel NT-based servers and replaced them with 95
service units. He said the customer saw a monthly
savings of about 55 percent.

On-Demand Storage

In addition to processing power, the service includes
on-demand storage capacity, allowing customers to
optimize their storage by eliminating separate,
underutilized hard drives housed on physical servers
or underutilized storage arrays. The service also
offers network capacity and other managed services.

Hart said IBM chose Linux as the basis of the service
because of the large customer demand for the platform,
as well as the large base of independent software
developers and ISVs offering Linux applications.

“One of the customers we have is, not surprisingly,
IBM itself,” Hart said. “We have literally hundreds of
customers that have implemented Linux on a zSeries

One of IBM’s first customers for Linux Virtual
Services is Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance
Corp. (WPS), a private non-profit health insurance
company based in Madison, Wisc. WPS, one of the
largest Medicare carriers in the U.S., recently
consolidated e-mail, Web and directory applications
from its distributed Linux servers to an IBM zSeries
mainframe running Linux, and plans to have 25 servers
operating on the zSeries Linux environment in the
third quarter of 2002. The company’s z900 mainframe
collectively processes 370,000 claims each day.

“The IBM eServer and Linux will help WPS to
consolidate more than two dozen Intel-based servers
onto a single mainframe,” said Jim Hwang, director,
Enterprise Network Systems, WPS. “The introduction of
Linux Virtual Services from IBM takes this capability
to the next level, offering the flexibility to add
computing capacity as business needs dictate. It’s a
significant breakthrough for customers running Linux
applications who want to turn up the power at a
moments notice.”

This story was first published on InternetNews, an site.

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