Sun, Dec
0 New Articles

IBM Continues to Leverage Open Technology

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Adapt or die. IBM is no longer the big, lumbering, proprietary beast of old.

I was asked to write a piece on the future of Linux and IBM. After thinking about the subject matter, I came to the conclusion that it’s really open technology, not just Linux, that needed some discussion. I say this because it seems that open systems play a large part in how IBM is structuring a lot of their business. It didn’t get as much airtime as CAMSS (Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social, Security). It’s vague to the layman. It’s scary to the CFO. Open. It sounds unprotected. In reality, open technology may be the best protection a business could have.

The future of Linux on POWER continues to be shown by IBM’s commitment to melding technologies together—and most recently, even with an IBM i angle.

A bit of background: For years, IBM has been selling a physical Hardware Management Console (HMC) to manage Power Systems servers. I thought LAN Console was fine until I started experimenting with partitioning IBM i and Linux servers. You really need the HMC in order to fully experience partitioning, in my humble opinion. The interface has its issues, but the ease of use when partitioning is far simpler than using Virtual Partition Manager. I became a big fan quickly, but it has always struck me funny that I was managing my Power Systems boxes with a System x box. That aside, I’ve been known to muse now and again that an HMC should be shipped with every Power Systems order. IBM just had to get that cost down, which could be done by way of offering a virtual HMC deployed as a virtual machine.

In 2015, IBM realized that by announcing a virtual Hardware Management Console. While still relatively expensive, it cost about half as much as a physical HMC. It was a RedHat virtual appliance, but you still had to have a separate environment for it. Wouldn’t it be great to have it all under the same POWER iron?

Last month, IBM announced the IBM Power Systems Hardware Management Console virtual appliance for Power-based Systems. It can service systems supported by the 8.8.7 version of the HMC, including POWER6, POWER7, and POWER8 processors. The cost for the virtual POWER HMC was not announced; however, we can assume that it costs more than a virtual appliance sitting on x86-64. That’s entirely speculation. I just don’t see it coming in lower. I’d bank on it being exactly the same price or just a little higher. Still, it’s far less expensive than a standalone. Now you can manage all partitions on your Power Systems hardware with a Linux virtual appliance running on the same physical machine.

IBM also announced a Linux on POWER–based standalone HMC that can be used to manage your Power Systems environment. It’s a 1U POWER8 with 32 MB of memory and 2 x 2 TB SATA drives. I’m left scratching my head at this one a little as the virtual and physical HMC functions are pretty much the same. Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the x86-64 HMC if IBM will be building POWER-based HMCs. If the price and cost to produce is comparable, then I just don’t see any other reason for it as it just reinforces the “POWER is better than x86” mantra. It’s similar to the Linux on POWER mindset of competing against an inferior processor in a commodity market, but in the end, it’s just an HMC. Fearless prediction: The x86-based HMC will end before the POWER-based HMC does.

I think the real value is in the virtual HMC, especially if you can easily migrate from physical to virtual. Then you can save a little rack space, a little excess heat, and a little electricity. Either way, it reinforces IBM’s commitment to Linux and at a higher level: open source.

The news that IBM i would be getting a package manager makes the operating system more Linux-like in that the ability to download and install open-source utilities will be far easier than ever before. IBM i is no longer a closed system. Maybe it hasn’t been in a long time with the advent of PASE and the like. I would argue that PASE was the evolutionary equivalent of opposable thumbs. It opened OS/400 into a new world of possibilities, albeit relatively controlled. With a package manager, the reins are off. This further preps IBM i for the next generation of developers and administrators.

The embracing of open source is what’s necessary for IBM i to grow, and yes, that goes for IBM as a whole. The OpenPOWER Foundation was no accident. Open sourcing research and development of the POWER processor makes sense from a business perspective as it’s inclusive. Member organizations have to view IBM as a partner, rather than the big, lumbering, proprietary beast of old. That model would’ve continued to work if the world hadn’t changed. But it has. When you buy a TV, you check the online reviews. When you book a flight, chances are you’re using an aggregator to check reviews of the airline, flight rating, price, and such. If you’re a modern developer, it’s a good chance you’ve used GitHub or Slack or SourceForge. It’s a collaborative world. OpenPOWER is an example of IBM converting into a modern business. From my perspective, it is the example. From the OpenPOWER website:

The OpenPOWER Foundation Board of Directors is chartered to set the tactical and strategic direction of the organization. It has established the following 2017 goals for the Foundation with four technical areas of focus on Machine Learning/AI, Database/Analytics, Cloud, and Containers:

Build member offerings/solutions and customer testimonials

  • Provide compelling workload examples (product offerings, client testimonials) to inspire adoption of OpenPOWER technology
  • Showcase broad and deep set of OpenPOWER solutions (hardware, software, combinations, workgroup output, tools/resources, etc.) through OpenPOWER
  • Continue to build on workgroups/products across solution areas, industries, and software layers

Build and engage our Developer community

  • Cultivate active and grow the developer community, leveraging meet-ups across OpenPOWER and other communities for geo focus as well as specific contests, plugfests, engagement with workgroups, and a strong ambassador program

Build and engage our Member community

  • Strengthen value proposition at Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels with clear value distinction at each level. Continue to grow membership and engagement at all levels.

Whether it’s Linux or OpenPOWER or package managers or global innovation centers to fuel Linux on POWER, the point is that IBM has been evolving. This trend will continue into the foreseeable future.

Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher works with iTech Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner. He is a specialist in IBM i and IBM Power Systems solutions since 2001. Feel free to contact him directly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: