IBM Debuts "Bumblebee" Domino Servers

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As we went to press this month, Big Blue delivered the much-rumored AS/400-based Domino thin servers. The new Dedicated Servers for Domino (which AS/400 General Manager Tom Jarosh has jokingly nicknamed “Bumblebees” because they have a yellow stripe on their black boxes rather than the red stripe of a regular AS/400e server) offer considerably better bang for the buck when running Domino applications than the model 170 servers on which they are based. This should help AS/400 Business Partners (BPs) do a better job selling the AS/400-Domino combo against Windows NT, the market leader in the Domino space. While Kelly Schmotzer, the worldwide segment manager for Domino, has repeatedly contended that the development of these machines was driven only by BP requests, not as a direct assault against Windows NT, the fact remains that AS/400 BPs are interested in only a skinnied-down AS/400 running Domino. They know that OS/400 is (and will be for some time) a more reliable and scalable operating system than Windows NT. But they also know that NT wins because the initial sticker price on a PC server configured to run NT-Domino has been anywhere from a third to a fifth that of configured 170 servers. These new machines will compete against NT, and in many cases, they will win, just as the existing 170 and 7XX lines have been widely adopted by companies that might have otherwise chosen an NT or UNIX platform to support Domino.

There are three new Bumblebee models. IBM won’t say exactly what processor speeds and L2 cache sizes are used in the machines. Apparently, that would make it too easy for AS/400 shops to make comparisons between the 170 Bumblebees and the 170 Invaders. All it has said is that the new machines are Northstar processors and they are not running at the 340 MHz of the fastest Northstars available (and only in the RS/6000 H70 server, not the AS/400). The 170-2407 is the smallest Bumblebee, and it looks as if it is just a regular 170-2292, with its interactive and client/server performance cut back to compensate for carrying a much lower price tag. The 170-2407 supports 1,300 simple Domino Mail users and has a Commercial Processing Workload (CPW) interactive rating of 10 and a CPW client/server rating of 30. It costs $11,000, which is considerably less expensive than the $22,500 IBM charges for the 170-2292 Invader. (Those Bumblebee prices do not include the cost of the Domino software, which customers can get through the AS/400 Division as a licensed program product or through the Lotus Passport Advantage channel.) The 170-2408 can support 2,300 Domino Mail users; it has a CPW interactive rating of 15 and a CPW client/server rating of 60. It costs $16,500. The biggest Bumblebee

is the 170-2409. It has two Northstar processors, can support up to 4,300 Domino Mail users, and has a CPW interactive rating of 20 and a CPW client/server rating of 120, all for $22,500. This is considerably less costly than the 170 Invader it most closely resembles, the 170-2388, which costs $105,000.

For a more detailed analysis of the August AS/400 announcements, which also covered substantially improved internal disk arrays for model 170 Invader and model 7XX AS/400e servers and the software tweaks that are coming for OS/400 programs between now and the end of the year, please go to our Web site at www.midrangecomputing. com/mc/.