Organizations looking to both scale their operations and simplify their IT infrastructures have typically done so by migrating their on-prem workloads to the public cloud.
But even the rapid, widespread shift to public cloud hasn’t eliminated the need for organizations to preserve their existing IT assets and retain operational flexibility, hence the strategic importance of hybrid cloud as well as the ongoing search for optimal technologies that support it. Red Hat and IBM are positioned to provide the most coherent overall hybrid cloud experience, especially now that Red Hat solutions are available on IBM Power Systems.
Public cloud, hybrid cloud, and the growth of complexity
First things first, though: The public cloud route mentioned earlier is now so popular that end-user spending on public cloud services could reach almost $305 billion in 2021, up 18% just since 2020, per Gartner. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated cloud growth as more organizations have sought scalable, flexible resources and services to support their remote workforces.
At the same time, cloud migration is almost never as simple as flipping a switch to move something from on-prem Point A to Cloud Point B. And complexity can actually increase in the wake of a cloud move, for two overarching reasons:
- Even when a successful migration is completed, chances are that the organization still has endpoints like databases and servers on-premises, and these systems must be carefully managed, to ensure proper services for internal users and/or external customers.
- In the hunt for the optimal combo of architectural components, cloud architects select services (e.g., containers for building cloud-native apps) from multiple cloud providers. This approach is called multicloud, and it’s become standard practice for organizations trying to maximize cloud value and versatility. But it adds complexity.
The right hybrid cloud can provide a practical solution to these challenges. A hybrid cloud gives organizations the core benefits of a public cloud while helping them also integrate and manage the complexity of other systems (like their own private clouds) within a multicloud environment. Red Hat, a leading maker of software for hybrid clouds, estimated in 2020 that 63% of IT leaders had a hybrid cloud in place at the time, and 53% of those who didn’t planned to build one in the next two years.
What is a hybrid cloud, exactly?
Though definitions vary, “hybrid cloud” usually refers to an architecture that spans at least one public and one private cloud and offers orchestration and management of the different workloads involved. It may also connect bare-metal and virtual infrastructure. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has described hybrid clouds as a phenomenon driven by IT and operations, compared to the more developer- and line-of-business-driven public cloud, and stated that both of them exist within the larger context of multicloud.
Traditional hybrid cloud use cases have included using public cloud infrastructure as needed to “burst” into additional capacity. However, hybrid cloud has become much more expansive than that over time and now plays an important role in allowing, for instance, a company to run a Kubernetes-based container platform across its different IT footprints — a key benefit highlighted by Red Hat.
In early 2021, IBM announced that additional Red Hat software was coming to IBM Power Systems servers, and also that new IBM Power Systems hardware would be available simultaneously. For many organizations, the pairing of Red Hat’s widely used open-source hybrid cloud software with IBM’s servers provides the best blueprint for a hybrid cloud architecture that delivers business value.
Understanding Red Hat on IBM Power Systems
IBM, which owns Red Hat, offers a complete and synergistic hybrid cloud stack through the Red Hat on Power Systems combination. Everything from the underlying processors (i.e., the POWER microprocessor line) to the Linux-based software further up are from the same set of vendors, namely IBM and Red Hat.
What can you do with Red Hat on Power Systems? A few of the recently added capabilities include:
OpenShift on IBM Power Virtual Server
OpenShift is Red Hat’s set of containerization technologies, combining numerous platform, application, developer, and cluster services for managing Docker containers using Kubernetes. Underneath it all is Red Hat Enterprise Linux. IBM Power Virtual Server is an IaaS offering that connects to over 200 IBM services. Using OpenShift, organizations can now easily spin up new clusters from IBM Power Virtual Server to support a variety of data-intensive containerized applications.
Red Hat Runtimes on IBM Power Systems
Red Hat Ansible Content Collections on IBM Power Systems
Ansible became available on IBM Power Systems in 2020. Since then, IBM has published numerous Ansible modules, which are plugins containing discrete units of code that can be executed by Ansible playbooks or directly on a host. There are now over 100 of these modules, designed to streamline the automation of tasks such as configuration, patch, and security management, plus virtual machine provisioning and management.
Beyond these additions, IBM also announced new hardware that should help simplify hybrid cloud setup. The IBM Power Private Cloud Rack Solution is a comprehensive on-prem system that comes pre-configured with computer, storage, networking, and Red Hat software. It is also designed to be compatible with existing IBM Power Systems infrastructure running AIX, IBM i, or Linux.
The IBM Institute of Business Value has estimated that a hybrid cloud can deliver 2.5 times the value of a single public cloud - and with these Red Hat and hardware-related additions, it’s easier to see how a hybrid cloud provides exceptional flexibility and power. As an experienced Red Hat and IBM partner in North America, InfoSystems has the expertise to guide you on your hybrid cloud journey. Connect with us to get started.