Sidebar

IBM Launches System i5 Servers

Analysis of News Events
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Over the last several months, IBM has been quietly enhancing its current eServer i5 models to make them faster, more flexible, and less expensive. This morning, it is unveiling the revamped models with a new name: System i5. In addition, Big Blue is announcing i5/OS V5R4, a new operating system release that will make it easier for companies to modernize their applications. The refreshed server lineup and software will become generally available on February 14.

While the enhanced servers retain the same model numbers as last year's eServer i5 systems, they are significantly different on the inside. With the exception of the revamped Model 595, the new models sport faster POWER5+ processors and speedier DDR2 memory. In addition, the refreshed models are the first that can run without any I/O processors, though they can support IOPs from older servers. Since the System i5 models can run either i5/OS V5R3 or V5R4, current V5R3 license holders can upgrade to them without having to install a new operating system release.

The Model 520 Redux

To understand what IBM has wrought, let's review the System i5 models in order. At the entry level, the revamped Model 520 continues to come in Value, Express, Standard, and Enterprise Editions. However, all editions now pack POWER5+ processors with 1.9 GHz clock speeds. In addition, every processor comes with an L3 cache. This gives the Value and Express editions an extra performance boost, as these editions lacked an L3 cache.

Speaking of performance boosts, the refreshed Model 520 Value and Express Editions offer a new feature that lets users dramatically increase their batch performance with a flip of a virtual switch. The feature, known as Accelerator for System i5, removes the "governor" that prevents Value and Express Edition servers from utilizing their processor's full capacity. Removing the governor is as simple as applying an install key, which costs $13,500.

Once the Accelerator is turned on, batch performance skyrockets from 600 CPW to 3,100 CPW on the entry-level Value and Express Editions and from 1,200 CPW to 3,800 CPW on the "growth" configurations. This gives the models a Capacity on Demand (COD) capability that the original models lacked. The COD capability makes it easier for users to support Web-based applications that used to require the up-front purchase of a 2,400 CPW Value or Express Edition. Now, customers can buy a less-expensive configuration and accelerate it "on demand" when their Web-enabled applications require the extra horsepower.

The following table provides some Value Edition prices that IBM was willing to provide as this article went to press. As the table shows, the Value Edition now comes in four configurations. There are two "non-accelerated" models in the P05 and P10 tiers. Each of these models can be accelerated at a cost of $13,500.

Refreshed Model 520 Value Editions
Old Model
Batch/
Interactive CPWs
List Price
New Model
Batch/
Interactive CPWs
List Price
Old Value Editions
New Value Editions
520-0900
500/30 CPW
$8,200  
520 (P05 Tier)
600/30 CPW
$8,300  
520-0901
1000/60 CPW
$22,200  
520 (P10 Tier)
1200/60 CPW
$21,900  
520-0912
2400/60 CPW
$32,900  
520 (P05 Tier
with Accelerator)
3100/30 CPW
$21,700  



520 (P10 Tier
with Accelerator)
3800/60 CPW
$35,400  

While I do not yet have access to prices for the refreshed Express Editions, I can tell you that the 600/30 CPW configurations will cost the same as current 500/30 CPW models. In like fashion, prices for new 1,200/60 CPW configurations will match those of the current 1,000/60 CPW models. As a rule, the accelerated versions of these two configurations will cost roughly the same as the current 2,400/60 CPW models but may vary from them by as much as $2,000.

The Model 520 Standard and Enterprise Editions have also undergone important changes. IBM has reduced the number of processor feature codes for these editions and replaced the 2-way configuration with a 1/2-way COD model. Activating the second processor on the 1/2-way configuration costs just $1,800. Moreover, running i5/OS on that second processor now costs just $24,000 instead of $49,000, and that price includes one year of maintenance. The following table provides an overview of the original and refreshed models.

Refreshed Model 520 Standard and Enterprise Editions
Old Model
# of CPUs
Batch/
Interactive CPWs
List Price
New Model
# of CPUs
Batch/
Interactive CPWs
List Price
Old Standard Editions
New Standard Editions
520-0902
1-way
1000 / 0 CPW
$12,000  



520-0903
1-way
2400 / 0 CPW
$36,000  
520 non-COD
1-way
3800 / 0 CPW
$35,000 
520-0904
1-way
3300 / 0 CPW
$54,000  
520 COD model (1 CPU on)
1/2-way
3800 / 0 CPW
$40,000 
520-0905
2-way
6000 / 0 CPW
$63,000  
520 COD model
(2 CPUs on)
1/2-way
7100 / 0 CPW
$41,800 
Old Enterprise Editions
New Enterprise Editions
520-0902
1-way
1000/1000CPW
$51,000  
520 non-COD
1-way
1200/1200 CPW
$50,500 
520-0903
1-way
2400/2400 CPW
$106,000  
520 non-COD
1-way
2800/2800 CPW
$92,900 
520-0904
1-way
3300/3300 CPW
$153,000  
520 COD model
(1 CPU on)
1/2-way
3800/3800 CPW
$129,900 
520-0905
2-way
6000/3300 CPW
$179,000  
520 COD model
(2 CPUs on)
1/2-way
7100/3800 CPW
$131,700 

As the above table indicates, IBM has significantly improved the price/performance of the Model 520 Standard Edition. On average, the refreshed models offer a cost per batch CPW that is 34% to 39% less than that of their predecessors. This makes them considerably more competitive with Windows servers when it comes to running Web-based workloads. On the Enterprise Editions, the price/performance of the new 1/2-way model is especially attractive.

Pumping Up the Models 550 and 570

While IBM made extensive changes to the Model 520 lineup, it barely tweaked the Model 550. This model continues to be offered in a 1/4-way COD configuration. The only differences between the original and refreshed version are as follows:

  • The POWER5 processors running at 1.65 GHz have been replaced with POWER5+ processors running at 1.9 GHz.
  • The DDR memory has been replaced with faster DDR2 memory.
  • These changes boost the performance of the Model 550 by 15%.
  • IBM will ship a new High Availability Edition of this model.

Customers who purchase a new Model 550 Enterprise Edition will be pleased to learn that they will get a price break on additional Enterprise Enablement features. On the original Model 550, these features—which add one processor's worth of interactive performance—cost $100,000. On the refreshed model, they cost only $50,000. This significantly reduces the cost of supporting 5250 workloads on the Model 550.

Within the System i5 family, the one server that IBM really juiced up is the Model 570. On this system, IBM replaced POWER5 processors running at 1.65 GHz with POWER5+ processors that clock in at a screaming 2.2 GHz. This boosts performance by just over 30% and reduces the cost per CPW of the server by similar percentages. Besides turbocharging the Model 570, IBM made the following changes to the server:

  • It reduced the number of processor configurations within the model from five to three. This was accomplished by dropping the 1/2-way configuration (which the 1/4-way Model 550 replaces) and combining the old 9/12-way and 13/15-way configurations into a new 8/16-way model.
  • As it did on the Model 550, IBM reduced the cost of Enterprise Enablement features to $50,000. Moreover, it is reducing the number of Enterprise Enablement features that come with the Model 570 from four to one. These changes represent an enormous reduction in the cost of running 5250 workloads on the server. They also give customers more flexibility in running non-5250 workloads.

An Expanded Model 595

Unlike its refreshed brethren, the Model 595 will continue to run on POWER5 processors, but at a faster 1.9 GHz clock speed. This cycle time improvement helps to boost overall performance anywhere from 7% and 11%, depending on the configuration. In addition, the revamped model comes with expanded I/O capabilities. It can support more High-Speed Link loops: two more on the 8/16-way, three more on the 16/32-way, and nine more on the 32/64-way. The 32/64-way configuration can also support up to 96 I/O expansion units versus the previous limit of 72. High-end users will welcome the addition of High Availability and Capacity Backup Editions to the Model 595 lineup. These editions could significantly reduce the cost of securing the large volumes of data that such servers support. Speaking of costs, IBM has also reduced the price of Enterprise Enablement features on the refreshed configurations from $150,000 to $50,000.

Getting from There to Here

The System i5 models come with upgrade paths that are quite similar to those of the original eServer i5 models. As the following table indicates, owners of iSeries 8xx models can upgrade to the same Model 5xx configurations as before. As IBM promised back in 2004, the Standard and Enterprise editions of the original POWER5 models can be upgraded to POWER5+ servers that bear the same model number. In addition, original Model 570s can be upgraded to refreshed Model 570s, refreshed Model 595s, or original Model 595s.

POWER5+ Upgrade Paths
"From" Models
"To" POWER5+ Models
POWER4
520 Value/Express
520 Std/EE
550 Std/EE
570 Std/EE
595 Std/EE
800
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
810 Std/EE
N/A
Yes
Yes
Yes
N/A
825 Std/EE
N/A
N/A
Yes
Yes
Yes
870 Std/EE
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
Yes
890 Std/EE
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
Yes
POWER5





520 Value/Express
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
520 Std/EE
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
N/A
550 Std/EE
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
570 Std/EE
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
Yes (and to original 595)
595 Std/EE
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes

As IBM has stated in the past, customers can only upgrade their servers to like editions (for instance, from Standard to Standard). While the refreshed POWER5+ models support the same I/O devices as their predecessors, they do not support the same memory features. That is because the POWER5+ servers—the refreshed Models 520, 550, and 570—use faster DDR2 memory. As a consequence, customers must buy new memory when upgrading to these models. Since the refreshed Model 595 still uses DDR memory, upgrades to this model do not require new memory features.

The Big Picture

Whenever IBM makes a substantial hardware announcement, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture amidst all the details. With that in mind, let's step back to see if we can understand what Big Blue is really trying to do with this announcement. As I see it, the computer giant is trying to do three things:

  • By offering COD capabilities on entry-level Model 520 configurations, IBM is making it easier and less expensive for smaller companies to run Web-based workloads and Domino applications. That makes the System i5 more competitive with Windows servers and more attractive to software vendors that serve smaller firms.
  • By putting the fastest processors on the Model 570, IBM is positioning the server as a platform that can cost-effectively consolidate OS/400, UNIX, and Linux workloads. Companies that run these workloads will find the new Model 570 quite attractive.
  • By reducing the cost of Enterprise Enablement features on the refreshed models, IBM is acknowledging that its customers are tired of paying steep prices for 5250 workloads. The vendor is also acknowledging that these workloads will be with us for years to come. Having accepted these facts, IBM will focus on making it easier for customers to modernize their 5250 applications while reducing the penalties for not modernizing them.

To prove my final point about application modernization, I will need to discuss the software announcements that IBM made today. However, that discussion will have to wait until next week. Be sure to join me this coming Monday when I examine i5/OS V5R4 and some exciting Windows integration capabilities that the new operating system release will support later this year.

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..

Lee Kroon
Lee Kroon is a Senior Industry Analyst for Andrews Consulting Group, a firm that helps mid-sized companies manage business transformation through technology.
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

RESOURCE CENTER

  • WHITE PAPERS

  • WEBCAST

  • TRIAL SOFTWARE

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!

     

  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.

     

  • Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices

    LANSAProgressive Web Apps allow you to reach anyone, anywhere, and on any device with a single unified codebase. This means that your applications—regardless of browser, device, or platform—instantly become more reliable and consistent. They are the present and future of application development, and more and more businesses are catching on.
    Download this whitepaper and learn:

    • How PWAs support fast application development and streamline DevOps
    • How to give your business a competitive edge using PWAs
    • What makes progressive web apps so versatile, both online and offline

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.

     

  • UPDATED: Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    FortraIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails

     

  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    FortraRobot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    FortraRobot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.