IBM packages its Power cloud into 'pods' that run on-prem

Zero bucks to start but then the meter runs on everything – for years

IBM has decided the time is right to bring its Power-powered cloud on-prem.

The IBM Power Virtual Server Private Cloud – announced Tuesday with little fanfare – is based on the IBM Power Virtual Servers Big Blue rents out in a manner that will be familiar to users of IaaS services.

"IBM Power Systems clients who have typically relied upon on-premises-only infrastructure can now quickly and economically extend their Power IT resources off-premises," enthuses Big Blue's brochure for its off-prem virtual server service, which adds that the cloudy Power servers are identical to on-prem boxen and therefore don't require any adjustments to software or fresh licenses.

IBM Power Virtual Server Private Cloud again replicates Power machines, but sends them to your preferred location where IBM operates them as managed infrastructure as a service.

Even though the servers and associated networking and storage kit are on-prem, the Private Cloud is managed from IBM Cloud.

IBM has cooked up "pods" of Power servers for this service. Small pods can run between two and four servers packing eight terabytes of memory apiece, for a total of up to 340 usable CPU cores and 438 terabytes of usable storage space. All that kit fits in a single rack.

Medium-sized pods can house up to 40 servers, some capable of handling 32 terabytes of memory. Some pods can run 1,615 usable cores, and around 3.5 petabytes of storage. Medium pods sprawl across multiple racks.

AIX, IBM I, and RHEL are the supported OSes.

Big Blue will sign you up for this stuff for one, three, or five years – but there's no upfront payment required, just pay-as-you-go fees depending on your level of resource consumption. Compute, memory, storage and operating system licenses are fully metered.

IBM is not alone in bringing its cloud – hardware and all – on-prem. Oracle and AWS already do so. Microsoft's approach to on-prem cloud has many variations, with the Azure Stack subset of its public cloud running on commodity hardware its closest offering to the sort of rigs offered by IBM, AWS, and Oracle.

Google's approach is different: Its Anthos product is a Kubernetes distro tuned for hybrid operations and runs on commodity hardware from the usual gaggle of enterprise-grade server slingers.

IBM Power Virtual Server Private Cloud is suggested for those who need sensitive or regulated data to stay on-prem, and a desire to make IT an operating expense. That's the same argument advanced by IBM's rivals.

Big Blue, of course, has done this sort of thing for decades: Mainframes were often offered with consumption-based pricing.

The difference this time around is management from the cloud.

IBM's cloud has not been a strong suit. Yet Power systems remain impressively resilient and … erm … powerful. So much so that the IT giant touts them as ideal for critical applications, but also offers cloudy x86 for what it describes as "trivial" workloads in a promo video. ®

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