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Moving AIX Workloads to the Cloud

Technical

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Q: I’m interested in moving my on-premises IBM AIX workloads to the public cloud. What are my options?

Most major public cloud providers have IBM Power® hardware offerings that can run AIX®, IBM i and Linux® workloads. With the growth of hybrid cloud environments, you likely recognize the value of these solutions, but you may be unsure how to proceed.

Let’s start with migration options and tactics. Depending on network bandwidth, your process may be as simple as creating a NIM server in your cloud environment, then deploying by creating and moving mksysb images to the cloud. Assuming your rootvg data is static, you can build the VM and then work on migrating the remaining datavg data.

It may also make sense to use IBM PowerVC, IBM’s advanced virtualization and cloud management offering, to export and import OVA images between your current data center and new cloud provider. Here’s a closer look at more options for migration.

Build a Better VM

Cloud providers typically have a basic OS template that can be used to build and deploy VMs. But moving existing OS images and data to the cloud can be complex and require extensive preparation.

Identify a provider that understands your unique environment and the tools and options you’ll need. Even though non-IBM providers will run your cloud on IBM Power Systems™ servers, their technical personnel may be more familiar with x86 platforms. Finding a partner that’s knowledgeable about Power Systems infrastructure is especially critical if you don’t have the staff or the available cycles to handle both existing operations and migration. Expect to run some proofs of concept and test migrations to allow stakeholders to get comfortable with the migration process and the operational changes that will occur once you start running in the cloud.

The document “Migration Strategies for IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers” details several migration options. These include using IBM PowerHA® SystemMirror® Enterprise Edition with GLVM to sync data in real time ahead of the actual cutover (ibm.co/2YUMJPy). It also examines application-specific replication tools such as IBM Db2® HADR and Oracle® Goldengate. Most databases have specific migration requirements, but you may be able to ship logs to your new server or export and import data. Iron out details and conduct thorough testing.

Familiar tools such as rsync, savevg and restvg can also help with this process. It may be easy enough to migrate most of the data, then run rsync to sync the last bit before the final cutover. Built-in AIX tools savevg and restvg are used to backup and restore non-rootvg volume groups. These commands can simplify the creation of your new volume groups and filesystems on your new VM.

Chris Gibson, AIX and Power Systems consultant with IBM Lab Services, also suggests checking out the “IBM Cloud Mass Data Migration FAQ” (ibm.co/2ZCeOeH). This document, which lists common questions and concise answers for the IBM Cloud Mass Data Migration solution, is a physical data-transfer service (with up to 120 TB of usable capacity) that accelerates migration into the IBM cloud. The solution is an option if over-the-network data transfer options are cost-prohibitive, slow or unavailable.

A smooth journey to the cloud starts with careful planning. Evaluate multiple providers and their solutions, and take the time to understand the various migration options. 

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