IBM Power-based cloud instances available… from Google

IBM’s high-performance RISC processors are now available to Google Cloud Platform users as a service.

summit supercomputer 3
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

IBM and Google may be competitors in the cloud platform business, but that doesn't prevent them from working together. Google is partnering with IBM to offer "Power Systems as a service" on its Google Cloud platform.

IBM’s Power processor line is the last man standing in the RISC/Unix war, surviving Sun Microsystems’ SPARC and HP’s PA-RISC. Along with mainframes it’s the last server hardware business IBM has, having divested its x86 server line in 2014.

IBM already sells cloud instances of Power to its IBM Cloud customers, so this is just an expansion of existing offerings to a competitor with a considerable data center footprint. Google said that customers can run Power-based workloads on GCP on all of its operating systems save mainframes — AIX, IBM i, and Linux on IBM Power.

This gives GCP customers the option of moving legacy IT systems running on IBM Power Systems to a hybrid cloud and the option of using Google or IBM, which have their respective strengths. IBM is focused on IBM customers, while Google is more focused on containerization, AI and ML, and low latency.

IBM gains because its customers now have a second option, and customers like choice. GCP wins because it gives the company access to legacy IBM customers, something it never had as a relatively new company. It has no on-premises legacy, after all.

"For organizations using a hybrid cloud strategy, especially, IBM Power Systems are an important tool. Because of their performance and ability to support mission critical workloads—such as SAP applications and Oracle databases—enterprise customers have been consistently looking for options to run IBM Power Systems in the cloud," wrote Kevin Ichhpurani, GCP's corporate vice president of global ecosystem in a blog post announcing the deal.

"IBM Power Systems for Google Cloud offers a path to do just that, providing the best of both the cloud and on-premise worlds. You can run enterprise workloads like SAP and Oracle on the IBM Power servers that you’ve come to trust, while starting to take advantage of all the technical capabilities and favorable economics that Google Cloud offers," Ichhpurani added.

Ichhpurani also noted several other benefits for customers:

  • Integrated billing: GCP customers can deploy the solution through the Google Cloud Marketplace and get a single bill for their GCP and IBM Power use.
  • Private API access: IBM Power resources can access Google Cloud’s Private API Access technology securely and at low latency
  • Integrated customer support: Customer support for both GCP and IBM have a single point of contact for any issues.
  • Rapid deployment: An intuitive new management console enables quick ramp-up and rapid deployment of the solution.

IBM Power is available to GCP customers now.

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