Present Blog – IT Thought Leadership

Should you migrate your Linux from X86 to Power serversIf you have a business in Quebec, you probably have a Linux operating system on Intel x86 servers. In fact, for the majority of SMBs, this is possibly the best option.

However, for businesses with high workloads, it may be more advantageous to migrate Linux on x86 to an IBM Power system.


1. Power servers and x86: two different philosophies

Power servers operate on the principle of linear scalability, making them highly efficient. With an output directly proportional to the number of processors that are added to them, performance is predictable.

On their side, although x86 servers become more powerful when adding processors, the gain is not nearly as significant. Power servers are often called "enterprise servers", particularly recognized for the following three characteristics:

• Reliability
• Accessibility
• Serviceability

Highly predictable, they are extremely reliable and resilient to different types of failures. They can perform multiple tasks simultaneously, which allows for maintenance without having to shut down the operating system. Therefore, applications running on a Power server have a very high rate of availability.

Finally, it is important to note that the portability between Linux on x86 and Linux on Power is much more direct than before. Contrary to what was available in the early 2000s, the transfer of applications from an x86 server to a Power server is much easier and greatly simplified.


2. When and why migrate Linux to a Power server?


1. Need for more power

Power servers are highly efficient and, consequently, support very high workloads. They are therefore suitable for all analytical tasks that require a high transaction throughput, such as the processing of relational databases, for example OLTP (Online Transaction Processing).


2. Need for a better response time

Businesses that depend on the response speed of their IT systems would benefit from turning to Power servers for their Linux applications.

Take the example of an online business to illustrate the need for a very quick response time in a high transactional setting. When a consumer makes a purchase online, several websites almost instantly offer other products that may be of interest, according to the techniques of cross-selling. In this situation, speed is paramount, otherwise the client may move on before seeing the new incentive.


3. Cost savings (for large workloads)

Large companies could reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO) by migrating Linux to a Power server. To do this, their workloads would need to be quite high.


• High availability

First of all, resilience to breakdowns and the elevated rate of availability on Power servers can lead to human resources savings and increase ROI.


• Maintenance costs

Moreover, as it is more powerful, it generally requires fewer processors to operate the same number of applications, which contributes to reducing maintenance costs.

• Licensing costs

Most relational database operating systems, such as Oracle, have a license cost by core. Having Power servers that require less processors, for the same performance, compared to x86 servers allows significant savings on the purchase of licenses.


3. When and why to conserve Linux on x86 servers?


1. Low or medium workloads

It is mainly the importance of enterprise workloads that is the decisive factor to be taken into account to migrate the Linux operating system to a Power server.

For example, a company that uses its x86 servers at only a quarter of their capacity, have absolutely nothing to gain by doubling the capacity of its servers’ performance.

2. No significant gain in having faster and more available applications

If the fact that gaining speed has little or no impact on the profitability of the company, it will not help to migrate from x86 to Power servers. This applies as well if the company does not require higher availability of its services. In these cases, the expenses generated by the acquisition of equipment would exceed the potential financial gains.


3. Absence or lack of knowledge of the Power environment

The environment of Power servers being specific, it requires having specialised resources in this type of infrastructure. Usually this type of competence is not present in companies that operate in x86 environments, consequently, a migration to Power would mean a sustained employee training to be able to operate an entirely new infrastructure.

It therefore requires that the efficiencies and profitability of the company are potentially increased to make it worthwhile.



The decision to migrate Linux from x86 servers to Power servers needs to be dictated by the company's business needs and be anchored in the medium-term objectives.

With the constant increase in the production of data by businesses and a growing need to exploit this data, the need for workloads on Power servers will continue to grow.


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