Wow, time flies -- it's been more than two years since I last wrote up a feature on IBM's cool Virtual Loaner Program (VLP) -- which was, even back then, "Cloud before the Cloud." Meanwhile, today the VLP still lets IBM Business Partners reserve a slice of a Power System server with various operating systems and versions -- AIX, IBM i, and PowerLinux -- as well as some IBM software to help them virtually test, certify, port, and demonstrate their applications.
To get access, you need not be a big and important partner -- just a member of IBM PartnerWorld, which essentially can open up the VLP program to small developers and consultants. Particularly for independent experts and consultants with small companies, VLP is an awesome resource.
According to a post on IBM developerWorks by IBMer Ralph Nissler, VLP announced support for the latest IBM Power Systems hardware using POWER7+ processors in the VLP, starting late last month.