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IBM PowerVM OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM PowerVM is #8 ranked solution in best Server Virtualization Software. PeerSpot users give IBM PowerVM an average rating of 8 out of 10. IBM PowerVM is most commonly compared to VMware vSphere: IBM PowerVM vs VMware vSphere. IBM PowerVM is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 63% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 26% of all views.
IBM PowerVM Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM PowerVM Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2022

What is IBM PowerVM?
Power is server virtualization without limits. Businesses are turning to PowerVM server virtualization to consolidate multiple workloads onto fewer systems, increasing server utilization and reducing cost. PowerVM provides a secure and scalable server virtualization environment for AIX, IBM i and Linux applications built upon the advanced RAS features and leading performance of the Power Systems platform.

IBM PowerVM was previously known as PowerVM.

IBM PowerVM Customers
Sto, Soitec, SNO, Bundesrechenzentrum GmbH, Al Mansour Holding, Baptist Health of Northeast Florida, Huhtamaki, ELK Group, IT-Informatik, Arkansas Tech University, Pneuhage
IBM PowerVM Video

Archived IBM PowerVM Reviews (more than two years old)

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Elvis Lau - PeerSpot reviewer
Technical Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Enables us to migrate servers from a standalone server to a VM server

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to migrate the server from a standalone server to a VM server. 

What is most valuable?

The case fileserver on the webserver is the most valuable feature. 

What needs improvement?

The performance should be improved.  They should reduce the cost to purchase the hardware of the physical server.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a stable solution. 
Buyer's Guide
IBM PowerVM
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about IBM PowerVM. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
609,272 professionals have used our research since 2012.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's easy to scale. 

How are customer service and support?

I have never contacted customer support. We have a service provider that we contact to help with the implementation and support.  

How was the initial setup?

I didn't have any issues with the deployment. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

My colleagues are the ones who deal with pricing. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. I would recommend IBM PowerVM to someone considering it.  I wouldn't rate it a ten because it has things it can improve on. 
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PrimozBergant - PeerSpot reviewer
System Engineer at Unistar
Real User
A stable solution that offers good control over hardware resources
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the flexibility in terms of managing the hardware resources such as RAM, CPU, and the network."
  • "The interface is not user-friendly in places, so it could use some improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We are a system integrator and IBM PowerVM is one of the solutions that we implement for our clients. I am not a solution architect, but I provide assistance with PowerVM.

It is primarily used for business-critical operations like SAP or Oracle databases.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the flexibility in terms of managing the hardware resources such as RAM, CPU, and the network. 

What needs improvement?

The interface is not user-friendly in places, so it could use some improvement.

If PowerVM were cheaper then it would better compete with VMware vCenter.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for five or six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not seen any issues and I think that stability-wise, this is quite a good solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution architect in our team has not complained about the scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have involved technical support in the past when we have had issues and I think that they are good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are also supporting VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Customers generally choose IBM PowerVM when they have a great demand for stability. However, they sometimes choose VMware because it is cheaper.

How was the initial setup?

With respect to the initial setup, if you know the terminology then it isn't too complex. It should nonetheless be done by somebody with a technical background.

The deployment takes approximately 14 days.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price varies from case to case and you have to negotiate it for every project. Pricing and licensing policies are not completely transparent.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is researching this type of solution is to choose PowerVM if they want something that is really stable. I think that it is the only answer because the other solutions have perhaps evolved too quickly. We have seen issues with VMware and especially with Hyper-V. Hyper-V is not a mature platform.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Buyer's Guide
IBM PowerVM
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about IBM PowerVM. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
609,272 professionals have used our research since 2012.
MohamedGaber - PeerSpot reviewer
Unix Team Lead at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Makes the control environment more flexible, easier, more stable, and easy to recover after issues
Pros and Cons
  • "It's in English, so its exceptional qualities make the control environment more flexible, easier, more stable, and easy to recover after issues."
  • "I would like for IBM to be more focuses on the cloud."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of PowerVM is for our core banking system. We split our servers into multiple partitions, each one has a specific task for the project. 

How has it helped my organization?

It's in English, so its exceptional qualities make the control environment more flexible, easier, more stable, and easy to recover after issues. Overall, it has many advantages over using different servers.

What needs improvement?

IBM now makes provides us with quality GUI tools to make the experience easier and successful.

I don't have an issue with the current configuration or with the GUI. I worked on both with the team. 

I would like for IBM to be more focused on the cloud. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using PowerVM for the last six years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. 

How was the initial setup?

It's easy to set up. It has easy protocols to setup. To some extent, it can be difficult. If you follow the guide provided by IBM I think it would be easy to undermine the environment. 

You have to implement it in two phases. You have to implement partitions which carry our loads of our function of our environment. Implementation of this is easy. To adjust administration, according to the requirements of publication of the organization, you have to consider some steps for it to work as storage. If you have the steps you should follow, it will be easy.

It took one week to fully deploy. 

It took two people to deploy the solution. 

What other advice do I have?

I think everybody is going to be migrating to cloud and I think that IBM can make things easier if they also did this. 

I would rate IBM PowerVM nine out of ten. 

In the next release, I hope to see an extension of both the end part with the GUI.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
System Engineer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Powerful and stable platform with good scalability

What is our primary use case?

PowerVM is used to virtualize IBM Power Servers. It is for IBM Power Servers. It needs specific experience and needs to be professionally managed. Our customers needed proficiency and practical experience with it and it's not easy to find experienced engineers for it. 

What is most valuable?

The stability is the most valuable aspect of this solution. IBM is the most powerful and stable platform.

What needs improvement?

The price is high. 

I would like for them to add more automation features. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We use IBM technical support mainly for critical cases. Their response is very good from their side. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. 

To make it a ten, I would like for them to add automation and configuration tools in order to help use the manager. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user1195593 - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of IT at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A versatile, secure, and flexible solution for our virtualization
Pros and Cons
  • "The feature that I like most is the versatility."
  • "Any improvements that can be made in the interface will go a long way to helping us work better."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for virtualization in an on-premises deployment.

What is most valuable?

The feature that I like most is the versatility. 

This solution is very secure when compared to others.

This is a very flexible solution.

This is a portable solution that you can locate wherever you want.

What needs improvement?

Any improvements that can be made in the interface will go a long way to helping us work better.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for fourteen years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are very happy with the scalability of this solution.

We have this solution deployed countrywide, so we have a lot of people using it at one time.

In terms of administration, there are only a few of us.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have been in touch with the technical support for this solution, and support from IBM is always the best. Once you log a service request, they get back to you as quickly as possible. We get the results we want, mostly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is straightforward whether you do it from the interface, or instead type in commands.

What about the implementation team?

We began with this solution by ourselves, but we have enlisted the assistance of a partner who does all of the updates.

What other advice do I have?

This solution is by IBM and they are a vendor who does what they say they're going to do.

I recommend IBM and this solution any day. Without hesitation, I would suggest to anybody that they try it.

Overall, I am happy with this solution, although more research and any new additions are always welcome.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
ICT Business Solution Architect at Cloud Technology
Real User
Top 20
Stability of this solution is very high and you don't have to be afraid that you may lose data

What is most valuable?

What I like about this solution is that it is easy to configure.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see an improvement in the management of the program.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using IBM PowerVM for seven years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is very high and you don't have to be afraid that you may lose data.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would say the technical support is average - it isn't bad, but it isn't good either. I am used to technical support in Europe and America, where it is very good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite complex, because I use the solution for visualization. 

What other advice do I have?

The program has very limited solutions for the virtualization of containers, so I the next version I would like to see that improved. I will still, however, give a nine out of ten rating.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
it_user234747 - PeerSpot reviewer
Practice Manager - Cloud, Automation & DevOps at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
System p is capable of running “Linux for Power” in addition to AIX as a Guest Operating System, but PowerVM is a complicated beast to manage and operate.

Originally posted at vcdx133.com.

If you are unfortunate enough to be tasked with the design and implementation of an IBM PowerVM virtualisation environment for System p and you normally work with vSphere, then this is the post for you. This entry has been written as a high-level overview of PowerVM and provides context via vSphere comparisons.

Next to vSphere, PowerVM is convoluted, finicky and difficult to implement. My PowerVM implementation (4 hosts) took four months from start to finish, when an equivalent project with vSphere takes mere days. In addition, PowerVM is approximately 8-20 times the cost of a comparable vSphere solution. PowerVM is similar to any other IBM product, where the management interface exposes every single option available and you have to work out which permutation or combination is best for you.

However, if you have a Data Center full of physical System p servers (Frame or Blade) then PowerVM will allow you to consolidate and save money by virtualising those workloads. With SystemsDirector and Tivoli, you can achieve automation with advanced operations as well. And once you get it working, it is very stable and reliable.

Here is a comparison of vSphere and PowerVM terms.

Compute & Management Design

System p servers have an “Advanced Services Module” that provide hypervisor services. System p is capable of running “Linux for Power” in addition to AIX as a Guest Operating System. The “Hardware Management Console” provides advanced virtualisation infrastructure management services such as “Live Partition Mobility”. It is possible to run a budget PowerVM configuration with “Integrated Virtualisation Management” which is a Web-based service on the Virtual I/O Server (no HMC required). IBM SystemsDirector can also be deployed as a “Cloud services” overlay to link multiple HMCs together. PowerVM has no concept of “automated” vSphere HA or DRS.

High-level decisions to be made:

  • Single or Dual HMCs or IVM only?
  • Frame or Blade?
  • SystemsDirector/Tivoli overlay?
  • PowerVM Licence Edition? – Enterprise is required for LPM

Network Design

PowerVM does not have the concept of “VDS”, the closest is “VSS” manually built by hand within each VIO Server and via the HMC. This is the most complicated part of the puzzle, so bear with me. The Virtual I/O Server is responsible for network and storage I/O virtualisation. It uses “Shared Ethernet Adapters” with the VIOS and “Virtual Ethernet Switches” within the ASM to provide network connectivity to Virtual Servers. For Uplink redundancy, Link Aggregation is configured to bind two interfaces into one.

High-level decisions to be made:

  • Single or Dual VIOS or Dedicated Uplinks to each Virtual Server?Redundant Uplinks (LAG) to each VIOS?

Storage Design

PowerVM has a version of “Datastores” which is the Shared Storage Pool, the other alternative is the equivalent of “pRDMs” where a LUN is bound to a Virtual Server.

High-level decisions to be made:

  • FC or iSCSI?
  • Which Multi-Pathing software?
  • Raw Devices or Shared Storage Pools?
  • If Raw Devices: Dedicated HBAs to Virtual Server?

Security Design

The “vShield” equivalent for PowerVM is PowerSC, otherwise Endpoint security can be implemented with agents from your favourite vendor that supports AIX.

Backup/Recovery

There is no “VADP” for PowerVM, so Backup/Recovery is implemented with agents from your favourite vendor that supports AIX. However AIX does have a “NIM” server function that provides image-level backups of AIX.

Other IBM Products

  • PowerHA (aka HACMP) for OS Clustering of AIX Guest OS – Equivalent of Microsoft Clustering Services
  • Tivoli and SystemsDirector for automation, monitoring, patching, accounting, recovery and security

“Gotchas”

  • Firmware/Software versions of IBM software: make sure you get the correct matching set: Frame/Blade firmware, Network/Storage Adapter firmware, VIOS software, HMC firmware
  • If using P7 blades, the ASMI is enabled from the AMM (BladeCenter) or CMM (PureFlex)
  • Enable the ASM on each PowerVM “Host”, otherwise it will appear as a “Server” and not a “Host” within the HMC.
  • Setup the HMC management platform then connect each Host via the ASMI
  • Deploy the VIO Servers from the HMC, especially important if “Dual VIOS” are a requirement (you have to assign ownership of hardware to the VIOS LPARs)
  • Virtual Server “RMC” needs to be connected to HMC and each “hdisk” requires the SCSI “reserve policy” to be set to “no_reserve” for LPM to work
  • Operational procedures: before going into Production, ensure that your SOPs for adding, migrating, deleting, upgrading virtual servers, networks, storage, hosts, adapters, VIOS are written and tested. Otherwise you will be burned in the future. Be warned – PowerVM is a complicated beast to manage and operate

Resources

As usual, IBM have loads of good documentation, but you have to plough through a lot of Redbooks/Whitepapers/Forums to find what you want:

Summary

If you are implementing a large PowerVM farm, then you must have a large budget; especially when you add SystemsDirector, Tivoli, Enterprise licensing and HMC/Frame hardware. Seriously consider using IBM professional services and a Resident Engineer (for first year of operations) to get the job done, it is too complicated to execute and operate on your own.

PowerVM is a valid option for the following use cases:

  • Consolidating a massive farm of legacy physical AIX servers to PowerVM, where you do not have the time or budget for Application transformation to Linux on Intel with vSphere
  • Customer requirement specifies a particular Application that is only available on AIX and the deployment is too big for a small number of physical AIX servers
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user7410 - PeerSpot reviewer
Owner with 51-200 employees
Vendor
IBM Powers Up New PowerLinux Products, Strategy

IBM’s latest PowerLinux servers and strategy are clearly well thought-out from a price, performance and business standpoint. IBM has clearly covered all its bases and done its homework in terms of market research in sizing the current and future market for industry standard Red Hat and SUSE Linux distributions on its Power servers. It has also polled customers on requirements for workloads and TCA pricing. IBM’s announcement has all the elements: brand recognition and respect; demonstrable experience in performance, technical service and support and a new pricing model to up sell current customers and drive new wins, to make the PowerLinux platform a success.

The biggest challenges IBM faces in the near term are:

-- To distinguish and differentiate the PowerLinux solutions from its PowerAIX offerings
-- To challenge VMware’s dominance in the server virtualization market.

IBM is is aggressively addressing the challenges via marketing, high performance and price leadership. IBM will emphasize the differences between the AIX and Linux customers from both a technology and cost standpoint to both existing customers as well as potential new customers. Handy noted that presently, 66% of IBM’s potential PowerLinux opportunities have no IBM Power servers in use at their organizations. Additionally, IBM will not recommend that current PowerAIX customers migrate to PowerLinux, Handy said.

Virtualization is a key part of IBM’s latest PowerLinux initiative. Big Blue will contest VMware on experience, price and performance. IBM actually developed virtualization for its mainframes and cluster servers in the 1970s. It will also use its economies of scale to undercut VMware pricing. According to Handy, the PowerLinux solutions will list for 16% less than VMware pricing and offer customers 30% better TCA. Specifically the IBM PowerVM for PowerLinux retails for $7,840 which includes licenses and a 3 year 9×5 SWMA agreement. By contrast, Handy claimed VMware’s comparable vSphere 5.0 Enterprise lists for $9,374.

PowerVM delivers scale-up efficiency that outperforms VMware’s vSphere 5.0 by up to 131%, running the same workloads across virtualized resources, according to IBM’s own internal benchmark tests. The IBM benchmark results also found that PowerVM performed 120% better than vSphere 5.0 on 16 vcpus (virtual CPUs) and 131% better on 32 vcpus.

ITIC recognizes that all vendors showcase benchmark test results that favor their products. Corporations ultimately must perform their own comparative due diligence under workload conditions that closely replicate their individual infrastructures. Based on the breadth and depth of IBM’s technical expertise with highly efficient, scalable and reliable hardware, IBM’s claims are credible. Additionally, IBM Power servers regularly register the least amount of downtime in ITIC’s Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability surveys. The survey data showed that IBM leads all vendors for both server hardware and server OS reliability as well as the fewest number of overall Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 unplanned server outages per year. Some 75% of survey respondents said they experienced less than one of the minor Tier 1 outages on the IBM AIX v7.1. And 78% of IBM AIX on Power Systems customers experience less than one unplanned outage per server, per year. Finally, 61% of IBM Power Systems users experience less than 10 minutes of unplanned server downtime annually or 99.99% and 99.999% availability.

From a competitive standpoint, IBM has scored impressive new customer wins – particularly from among legacy Sun Microsystems customers who are disaffected over the changes Oracle has made to pricing, licensing and support contracts since 2010. IBM will have to work harder though to lure customers away from other server rivals like HP and Dell and VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and other x86 vendors in the virtualization space. All of these competitors have extremely, loyal committed customers who are generally very satisfied with pricing, service and support.

IBM does have a clear cut advantage when it comes to the intelligence that powers its systems. The much heralded Watson is leagues ahead of all comers in intelligent data analytics and is at the heart of IBM’s “Smarter Planet” initiative. IBM is adapting Watson for all of its servers to perform accelerated, predictive analysis. The fact that IBM is now harnessing the power of Watson and making it available to the masses at an affordable price point augurs well for the mainstream success of its PowerLinux strategy.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user7407 - PeerSpot reviewer
Owner at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
PowerVM Virtualization: 7 Ways PowerVM Can Meet Your Business Needs

One of the most impressive features of the IBM Power Systems line of servers is their support for IBM’s PowerVM virtualization system. Through PowerVM, you can run multiple machines, or even multiple OSes, on the same server with an extraordinarily low performance hit. Here are seven reasons that PowerVM virtualization may be right for your business.

1. The best performance in the industry. PowerVM virtualization is vastly more efficient than competing VM systems. In tests, PowerVM can outperform VMWare by 50% or more, scaling to make full use of all the processors – real or virtual – you have.

2. Guaranteed security. Security on PowerVM is built directly into the hardware, running checks on all system files at bootup looking for malicious changes. PowerVM-run machines are at least as secure as physical boxes, and possibly more – there has never been a reported vulnerability in the PowerVM system.

3. Superior configuration flexibility. PowerVM virtual machines can be configured to use as much or as little of the overall system as they need. VMs can be set up to use as little as 10% of a single core, or to take over the entire systems’ resources. Similarly, they can freely mix and match physical and virtual devices as well.

4. Consolidation saves money. Why run four physical servers when you can get nearly the same performance on a single server running four virtual machines? More and more businesses are taking advantage of PowerVM virtualization to reduce their hardware needs and overhead costs.

5. Dynamic workload balancing. IBM’s POWER Hypervisor dynamically monitors and balances system resources to ensure all virtual environments are working at peak efficiency. You also get dynamic power-saving features, spooling down system usage when there’s no need for it.

6. Easy multi-machine rollout. You can quickly and easily create virtual machine setups for any need, then export them to a single file that can be deployed on any PowerVM system. A dozen identical virtual machines can be rolled out with only slightly more work than it takes to set up the first.

7. Move live partitions to prevent downtime.  Need to operate on one of your servers? Running VMs can be transferred, live, between physical servers without ever interrupting their users. Make server upgrades invisible!

You can do more with far less physical equipment on the IBM Power line.


Disclosure: My company is partners with several vendors.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.