IBM Adds Another Sibling to the eServer i5 Family

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Last Tuesday, IBM unveiled a new server that could meet the needs of many iSeries customers. That server is the eServer i5 Model 550, a 1/4-way system that comes with some unique packaging and attractive prices. In addition, IBM fulfilled earlier promises to deliver several new technologies for the eServer i5 product family.

The eServer i5 Model 550 provides many mid-sized iSeries customers--particularly those that would buy an iSeries Model 825 or 830--with a system that fits their unique requirements. Such customers need more "in the box" scalability than they can get from entry-level servers, but they want that scalability at a lower cost than typical high-end systems.

Until last week, the eServer i5 product family lacked a system that catered to such customers. As the following table shows, however, the Model 550 effectively fills that gap. It offers 3,300 CPW of performance with one active processor and scales up to 12,000 CPW as the user activates its standby processors. By comparison, the 3/6-way iSeries 825 scales from 3,600 to 6,600 CPW, while the older iSeries 830 scales from a 2-way model running at 1,850 CPW to a 4-way running at 7,350 CPW. The new Model 550 offers the same fourfold processor growth path of the discontinued iSeries 830, but with the broader range of capabilities that comes with every eServer i5 model.



The eServer i5 Product Family and the New Model 550

Model 520
Value & Express Editions
Model 520
Model 550
Model 570
Processor
1-way
POWER5
1.5 GHz
1/2-way & 2-way
POWER5
1.5 & 1.65 GHz
1/4-way
POWER5
1.65 GHz
1/2-, 2/4-, 5/8, 9/12, 13/16-way
POWER5
1.65 GHz
Processor CPW Range
500–1000
1000–6000
3300–12000
3300–44700
Editions
Value, Express
Standard, Enterprise,
High-Availability
Standard,
Enterprise,
Solution, Domino
Standard, Enterprise,
High-Availability,
Capacity BK
Capacity on Demand Hardware
None
None
Processors
Processors
Memory
Memory (Max.)
32 GB
32 GB
64 GB
512 GB
I/O Towers and Drawers (Max.)
6
6
12
30
Disk Storage (Max.)
19 TB
19 TB
38 TB
96 TB
IXS/IXA Cards (Max.)
18 / 8
18 / 8
36 / 16
48 / 60
Max. LPARs
10 per processor
10 per processor
10 per processor
10 per processor
Software Tier
P05–P10
P10–P30
P20
P30–P40

While the Model 550 shares much in common with its eServer i5 siblings, it has some unique qualities that deserve attention. One of these is its attractive pricing compared to the Model 570. Much of this price advantage is due to two facts. First, the Model 550 is in the P20 software tier; by contrast, comparable Model 570 configurations are in the P30 tier. Second, the Model 550 Enterprise Edition costs significantly less than equivalent Model 570 1/2-way and 2/4-way configurations. As a result, customers will pay significantly less per CPW for a Model 550 Enterprise Edition than for a comparable Model 570 Enterprise Edition. If you will not need more than 12,000 CPW over the next several years, this could make the Model 550 your best financial bet.

The New eServer i5 Model 550: A Comparison to Other n-way Models
Model Number
Active/Standby
Processors
Performance
Standard Edition
Base Offering
Enterprise Edition
Base Offering
Active Processors2
Processors with i5/OS Licenses3
Base
Price
Active Processors2
Processors with i5/OS Licenses3
Enterprise Enablement Features4
Base
Price
520-0905
2-way
6000 CPW
2
1
$59,000
2
1
1
$175,000
550-0915
1/4-way
3300-12000 CPW
1 + 11
1
$74,000
1 + 11
1
1
$266,000
570-0930
1/2-way
3300-6000 CPW
1
1
$71,000
1 + 11
1
2
$300,000
570-0921
2/4-way
6350-12000 CPW
2
1
$82,000
2 + 11
1
4
$450,000
570-0922
5/8-way
15200-23500 CPW
5
4
$276,000
5 + 11
4
4
$662,000
570-0924
9/12-way
25500-33400 CPW
9
4
$339,000
9 + 11
4
4
$970,000
570-0926
13/16-way
6350-44700 CPW
13
4
$404,000
13 + 11
4
4
$1,358,000

1 The number of active processors includes one additional processor activation provided in the Enterprise Edition (on all models) and the Standard Edition (Model 550 only).
2 Additional processors may be activated at a cost of $7,700 per processor.
3 Additional i5/OS licenses are available for $45,000 per processor.
4 Additional Enterprise Enablement features may be purchased if required. The cost is $50,000 per feature for the Model 520 and $150,000 for the Model 570. On the Model 570, customers can also purchase maximum 5250 capacity on all active processors for $250,000.

Another key difference between the Model 550 and the rest of the eServer i5 family is its packaging. Besides coming in Standard and Enterprise Editions, the Model 550 sports two new editions. The Solution Edition is a Model 550 that runs applications from selected software vendors. The package includes many of the items found in the Model 550 Enterprise Edition, including an Enterprise Enablement feature that provides 3,300 CPW of 5250 application performance. However, the Solution Edition costs significantly less than a comparable Enterprise Edition. The Solution Edition currently supports selected products from Clear Technologies, IBS, Integrated Distribution Solutions, Intentia, Lawson, Manhattan Associates, MAPICS, PeopleSoft, and SSA Global. Additional software vendors may become Solution Edition partners in the future.

The Model 550 is also the first eServer i5 to offer a Domino Edition. The package, which is the follow-on to the iSeries for Domino offerings on the 8xx models, supports Domino at a list price that is over 40% less than that of the Model 550 Standard Edition. The Model 550 Domino Edition comes with two active processors running i5/OS and two standby processors. It should support the same number of Notes users as a comparably configured two-way Model 520, which IBM has already benchmarked at 24,000 active mail users.

If the Model 550 sounds like a server that could meet your needs, there are many ways you can upgrade your existing iSeries to the new system. The following table shows all of the iSeries 8xx and eServer i5 models and the processor upgrade paths that are currently available for them. If a model is not on the table, it cannot be upgraded. In addition, please note that all of the "to" models in this table are Standard and Enterprise Editions. It is not possible to perform a processor upgrade into any of the other editions.

Currently Available iSeries and eServer i5 Processor Upgrade Paths

"To" Models
"From" Model
iSeries 810
iSeries 825
iSeries 870
iSeries
890
eServer
i5 520
eServer
i5 550
eServer
i5 570
iSeries 270
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
iSeries 810
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
iSeries 820
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
iSeries 825

N/A1
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
iSeries 830

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
iSeries 840


Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
iSeries 870


Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
iSeries 890



Yes
No
No
Yes
eServer i5 520




Yes
No
No
eServer i5 550





N/A1
No
eServer i5 570






Yes

1 Since the Models 825 and 550 have only one processor feature code, there are no upgrades
within the models.

As the above table indicates, there are many upgrade paths into the eServer i5 models in general and the Model 550 in particular. Once customers upgrade to the Model 550 or any Model 5xx, however, they can upgrade within that model but not to a different model number. As such, you should carefully consider whether the Model 550 and its four processors will meet your capacity needs over your planning period. If it does not, an upgrade to a Model 570 may make more sense.

There's More to Come

While the Model 550 was the star of last week's announcement, several other announcements played important supporting roles. Earlier this summer, IBM mentioned many of the offerings in these announcements in statements of direction and product previews. They include the following:

  • Support for Linux distributions on the Integrated xSeries Server (IXS) and Adapter (IXA) cards
  • The formal announcements of IBM Director Multiplatform--a systems management tool that will ship with all eServer i5 models and editions--and the Enterprise Workload Manager
  • The availability of attractive leasing terms for both iSeries and eServer i5 models as well as a rebate promotion for High-Availability and Capacity BackUp Edition servers

I will say more about these announcements in future articles. For the moment, however, be aware that the new software products and Linux support become available on August 27, while the Model 550 itself starts shipping on September 10. As for the new leasing terms and rebate promotions, they became available immediately.

Lee Kroon is a Senior Industry Analyst for Andrews Consulting Group, a firm that helps mid-sized companies manage business transformation through technology. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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