Taking your IBM System to the Cloud

For decades, countless organizations have put their faith in IBM Power to lay the framework for their entire IT architecture. The name IBM has become synonymous with innovation and reliability. When it comes to this technology – the sky is the limit, which is why so many companies are considering cloud migration for their IBM Power Systems.

Well, that might not be the only reason. 

The truth is that IBM Power Systems are incredibly complex, requiring certified expertise to keep the proverbial wheel turning. This talent pool is not easy to come by, and many organizations have difficulty retaining or obtaining these experts. Plus, there’s a premium on these positions, making on-premise IBM Power expensive. Combine this with the costs of maintaining IBM Power servers on-premises, and you have a recipe for migration. But anyone who has worked within this environment knows just how difficult that route can be - regardless of whether you choose a public or private cloud.

Let's address concerns about migrating to the cloud and the steps to take to quell some of those anxieties.  

The Harsh Truth:
Migration might be necessary

Sure, there are a handful of common instigators for IBM Power cloud migration. Whether it’s outdated hardware, limited certified expertise, security concerns, or scalability restrictions – cloud migration is often touted as a necessary expressway for success. However, many organizations fail to take the leap.

Let’s explore some of the most influential motivators for migrating your IBM Power systems to the cloud.

Value-Added Cloud Native Services

Cloud migration has evolved beyond the conventional “lift and shift” approach. Organizations recognize the enduring value of moving traditional workloads to the cloud, extending well beyond the initial migration phase. The transition unlocks access to value-added cloud-native services, such as:

  • Advanced analytics
  • AI and ML learning capabilities
  • Quicker DevOps to accelerate development

These enhanced capabilities not only prolong the relevance of traditional applications but also empower intelligent decision-making, providing a necessary edge across various industries.

project manager reviewing application design with coworker

Modernization of Business Applications

Revitalizing modern business applications for improved integrations with cloud-native services has become the goalpost for many enterprises spanning many industries. Some are in the midst of migrating to cloud-based ERP systems, necessitating the relocation of ERP-adjacent workloads to the cloud. Traditionally, IT teams hesitated to migrate or refactor business-critical, highly customized applications built on IBM Power systems. However, the impetus for digital transformation and modernization has prompted organizations to migrate these workloads to the cloud, oftentimes leveraging offerings from major public clouds or specialized private clouds to run IBM Power unchanged.

Strengthened Disaster Recovery Planning

In a world still impacted by a global pandemic, political unrest, and worsening natural disasters – robust disaster recovery plans are absolutely critical. These plans and infrastructures ensure the continuity of operations even during extreme situations or unexpected events, like the Texas Power Crisis in 2021.  Cloud-based disaster recovery is an attractive option for businesses to back up and recover data in a third-party cloud computing environment, offering advantages over on-premises solutions.

  • Reduced cost
  • Ease of use
  • Geographical distribution and resilience

employee accessing cloud application on smartphone with secure login

Dying Support Channels and EOSL

A significant portion of the total IBM i is installed on Power8 or later generations – and unfortunately, IBM announced End of Service Life (EOSL) for select Power8 scale-out and scale-up systems. What does this mean for the majority of customers? There are essentially three avenues:

  1. Refresh to Power10
  2. Continue running Power8 hardware with third-party maintenance
  3. Migrate to a public or private cloud

For organizations looking to achieve some of the benefits we discussed earlier, like value-added cloud native services, modernization, and improved DR – IBM cloud migration is often the ideal long-term solution.  

technician support employee in data center power room

Upcoming End of Support for IBM Power Systems

The IBM Power Systems listed in the chart below have already reached their end-of-life stage and are scheduled to reach End-of-Support in the near future.

Machine typeModelDescriptionEoS effective date
800112CPower Systems S821LC31-Oct-24
800122CPower Systems S822LC for Big Data31-Oct-24
824721LPower Systems S812L31-May-24
824722LPower Systems S822L31-Mar-24
824742LPower Systems S824L31-Mar-24
828422APower Systems S82231-Mar-24
828641APower Systems S81431-May-24
828642APower Systems S82431-Mar-24
8335GCAPower Systems S822LC31-May-24
8335GTAPower Systems S822LC31-Mar-24
8335GTBPower Systems S822LC for HPC31-Oct-24
834821CPower Systems S812LC31-Mar-24
840844EPower Systems E850C31-Oct-24
9080MHEPower Systems E880C31-Oct-24
9080MMEPower Systems E870C31-Oct-24
9119MHEPower Systems E88031-Oct-24
9119MMEPower Systems E87031-Oct-24

How to Start Your Cloud Migration Journey

The next step is selecting an IBM Power partner, which is critical in ensuring a smooth and successful migration from on-premises legacy systems to off-premises cloud alternatives. Here's a guide on choosing the ideal partner who comprehensively understands the intricate nature of IBM Power environments and can expertly navigate the complexities of the IBM cloud migration process.

Partner checklist for your IBM migration journey: 

  • Transparent Pricing
    Choose a partner with a clear pricing that aligns with your IT budget. As IBM Power pricing continues to rise, organizations are looking at migration for a more sustainable long-term solution. Make sure to factor in all the costs associated with on-site hosting when determining which private or public cloud makes sense for you. 
  • Long History in IBM Power Environments
    Look for a partner with a deep understanding of IBM Power Systems. This includes certified professionals who possess the requisite skills and knowledge to manage, optimize, and troubleshoot IBM Power environments. A partner with specialized expertise in IBM technologies can effectively address the unique challenges associated with these complex systems.

  • Proven Track Record in Cloud Migrations
    Evaluate the partner's track record in successfully migrating on-premises legacy systems to off-premises cloud alternatives. A reputable partner should be able to showcase previous successful migrations, highlighting their ability to handle the intricacies of IBM Power migration projects. Case studies and client testimonials can provide valuable insights into their past performance.

  • Comprehensive Support and Services
    Choose a partner that offers end-to-end support throughout the migration journey. This includes assessing the existing on-premises infrastructure, developing a tailored migration strategy, executing the migration process, and providing ongoing support post-migration. A comprehensive approach ensures a seamless transition and minimizes disruptions to your business operations.

  • Understanding of Compliance and Security
    Given the sensitive nature of data and regulatory requirements, opt for a partner well-versed in compliance standards and security best practices. Ensure they can address your organization's specific compliance needs and implement robust security measures to safeguard data during and after the migration. This is especially important for industries or organizations with specific regulatory needs regarding their data transfer, hosting, and management. 

  • Scalability and Future-Proofing
    Select a partner that considers scalability and future requirements in their migration strategy. A forward-thinking approach ensures that the chosen cloud solution can accommodate your organization's growth and evolving needs. The partner should provide insights into how they plan to future-proof the migrated IBM Power environment.

  • Clear Communication and Collaboration
    Effective communication and collaboration are key elements of a successful migration partnership. Choose a partner who communicates transparently, keeping you informed at every stage of the migration process. A collaborative approach ensures that your organization's goals align with the migration strategy, fostering a strong and mutually beneficial relationship. 

Your IBM Cloud Migration Journey Starts Now

The IT landscape will only continue to grow and evolve. Organizations looking at the big picture and long-term success will need to consider migrating their IBM Power Systems to the cloud from both a strategic and modernization point of view.

The decision isn’t whether or not an organization should migrate their IBM Power Systems to the cloud, it’s when and with whom. The choice between public and private cloud migration unfolds a spectrum of considerations, each with its unique advantages and potential concerns. We hope we’ve armed you with enough information to help you find the right IBM Power Systems partner to help you begin your cloud migration journey.

Embracing this shift is not just a means to future-proof a legacy-burdened IT infrastructure. It’s a necessary strategic positioning for the entire organization.

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