IBM has announced that leading Internet hosting provider OVH has launched an on-demand cloud service based on IBM's POWER8 processor, tuned specifically for Big Data, high performance computing and database workloads.

In addition to introducing this new cloud service, OVH has become the newest member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community over 60 members strong worldwide collaborating to further leverage the POWER processor's open architecture for broad industry innovation.

OVH serves 700,000 customers with 180,000 hosted environments in 17 data centers around the world. The company was looking to provide current and future clients with a fast, robust public cloud service that could specifically meet the needs of clients who manage large amounts of data or require extreme scalability. OVH turned to IBM and its new Power Systems for the release of the newest version of its cloud service, RunAbove.

RunAbove is OVH's public cloud offering that provides on-demand services at an hourly rate. The newest RunAbove service, enabled by PowerKVM virtualization and the Fedora Linux open source operating system, OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service software and POWER8 processor-based Power Systems is specifically designed to allow developers access to high performance hardware for their Big Data and analytics workloads in a public, scalable cloud environment.

"OVH needed a platform that would be able to perform well with specific workloads that would help our clients achieve faster results and manage large amounts of data," said Maxime Hurtrel, RunAbove marketing manager, OVH. "By providing our customers with a public cloud powered by IBM Power Systems, we are able to offer a service that is designed to handle all types of data workloads while scaling to meet changing needs and development cycles."


A range of RunAbove services

To cater to specific customer requirements, OVH has developed two cloud offerings that deliver advanced technology with IBM Power Systems. The S offering is based on shared virtual servers hosted on a single POWER8 system and the set up is ideal for developers who want to test the characteristics of the POWER8 architecture to fit a range of their applications. While the 2XL service, which offers one virtual server per physical host, provides customers dedicated access to the power of the IBM POWER8 architecture and is well-suited for workloads that require compute-intensive resources. This specific offering is designed to service high-tech research and development efforts. These two offerings take advantage of both OVH infrastructures and data centers in North America and Europe.


The power of IBM POWER8

IBM Power Systems offer customers leadership performance, reliability and scalability, making it ideally suited for RunAbove integration along with other MSP installations. POWER8 is the world's first processor to be designed and optimized for Big Data1, allowing organizations to manage their staggering data requirements.

The benchmark results of POWER8, based on real use cases of analytics workloads performed by OVH, shows multiple times improved performance over analytical queries running on x86-based commodity servers2. POWER8 also allows applications to parallelize up to 8 threads per core, four times more than commodity x86 architecture.

"As the world's first processor designed for Big Data, POWER8 is a natural choice for any service provider looking to offer their clients high performance capabilities to analyze, move and manage significant amounts of data," said Doug Balog, general manager, IBM Power Systems. "The work by the OVH Group to create a cloud service that is architected with IBM Power Systems and their membership in the OpenPOWER Foundation is another validation of how open architecture is leading to new innovations."


Expanding ecosystem of developers

RunAbove attracts a wide community of developers and interest continues to grow, with many players in the open source community expressing interest in the new RunAbove architecture. RunAbove includes the provision of a test platform for developers, which provides insights on how to adapt the distribution to get the most out of POWER8.

POWER8 is currently offered within OVH's RunAbove Labs, an online portal where customers can test the latest functionalities of the newest public cloud service at no cost, as well as future RunAbove products. This new resource strengthens the collaboration between IBM and OVH and complements the RunAbove portfolio.



OVH also announced today it has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open technical community that enables members to innovate at all levels of the hardware and software stack on top of IBM's POWER8 processor architecture. Founded in 2013 by five global companies, the OpenPOWER Foundation now consists of more than 60 members worldwide, with OVH marking the 12th member based in Europe. Member companies may use POWER for open innovation, including custom open servers and components for Linux based cloud data centers as well as optimizing Linux software on POWER.

As the newest member to join OpenPOWER, OVH intends to provide its expertise to the foundation and develop the full potential of POWER8 in its offerings.

To test the RunAbove compute-based POWER8 services, please visit

IBM and OVH Group will showcase the new RunAbove service during the OVH World Tour San Francisco event on October 20. For more information or to register, please visit:

1.  By Big Data, IBM means handling both extraordinary large volumes of structured (relational databases) and unstructured (noSQL, Map Reduce) data from which customers derive analytics and insight. The POWER 8 processor is the first processor with differentiated capabilities designed to handle both structured and unstructured data. Such capabilities include:
  • The CAPI (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface) Architecture with key data capabilities e.g.: a). CAPI Flash Access Efficiency, b). Storage reduction via CAPI Attached Compression Accelerator, and c). Throughput and latency advantage of CAPI Attached Mellanox RDMA Fabric.
  • DBMA (dynamic balanced memory architecture) in the form of key capabilities, e.g. a). Internal Processor Data Flow b). Memory Bandwidth advantage c). Cache capacity advantage
2.  Benchmark based on internal testing conducted by OVH with this particular benchmark being a SQL example, x3 faster than an x86 equivalent architecture. All client examples cited or described are presented as illustrations of the manner in which some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual client configurations and conditions. Generally expected results cannot be provided as each client's results will depend entirely on the client's systems and services ordered.


This article was originally posted “OVH Launches On-Demand Cloud Service” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.