18
Sat, May
7 New Articles

IBM Puts Finishing Touches on eServer i5 Models

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

Last Tuesday, IBM took its eServer i5 models and tuned them up in several key areas. At the same time, the company pledged that it would neither add new eServer i5 models nor boost the performance of existing models for the rest of this year. While IBM's announcements were modest in scope, their impact will be significant for iSeries customers who are considering an eServer i5 purchase.

Among IBM's announcements last week, one of the most important was the unveiling of two high-performance configurations of the Model 520 Express Edition. The configurations, which offer 2,400 CPW of batch performance and 60 CPW of interactive performance, have twice the memory and more than twice the throughput of previous high-end Express Edition models. The first configuration comes with two 35 GB mirrored disk drives and will be sold by IBM Business Partners at a suggested list price of $42,000. The second configuration sports a RAID-5 array of four 35 GB drives and costs $48,000.

The new Express Edition configurations could prove highly popular among iSeries Business Partners and customers, and for good reasons. Both configurations can support up to 10 logical partitions (LPARs) versus the four LPARs of the previous high-end Express Edition models. This lets them act as consolidation platforms for multiple workloads running on other servers, especially workloads that can run on Linux. Indeed, IBM priced the configurations so that they can compete with Intel servers for such workloads. With its $42,000 price tag, the 2,400/60 CPW configuration with two 35 GB disks costs $17.50 per batch CPW. By my accounting, that is the lowest cost per batch CPW of any fully configured eServer i5 model that supports interactive 5250 workloads.

While the new Model 520 Express Editions could vie with Intel servers for workloads, they could also compete with a similar Model 520 Enterprise Edition configuration. That configuration--the 520-0903 with processor feature code 7453--costs around $60,000 more than the new Express Editions even though it has the same batch CPW rating as these models. That extra $60,000 does buy unlimited interactive CPWs, a 20-user license to WebSphere Portal Express Plus, and a voucher for one IBM service. However, customers who are considering this Enterprise Edition may choose the new Express Edition configurations if they have less than 60 CPW of interactive workloads. At a savings of $60,000, they would be wise to do so.

Speaking of savings, IBM also announced a new eServer i5 Solution Edition that costs considerably less than the previous model. As many of you know, the current Solution Edition is a Model 550 that hosts applications from selected vendors. Customers who run these applications on a Solution Edition receive a $60,000 price break on the Model 550. Since many customers cannot afford a Model 550, IBM announced a Solution Edition that is based on a Model 520 Enterprise Edition running at 1,000 CPW. At its list price of $39,500, the Model 520 Solution Edition represents a discount of $8,500 from the Enterprise Edition upon which it is based. To qualify for the discount, customers must purchase at least $25,000 in eligible software from vendors that participate in the Solution Edition program. These vendors include Agilysys, Clear Technologies, CommercialWare (which is new to the program), International Business Systems, Infor Global Solutions (by virtue of its purchase of MAPICS), Jack Henry & Associates, Lawson Software, Manhattan Associates, Oracle Corporation (via its acquisition of J.D. Edwards), Retalix (through its purchase of Integrated Distribution Solutions), and SSA Global. Intentia and SAP also participate in the program, but only on the Model 550 Solution Edition.

Software Maintenance Gets a Makeover

Last Tuesday, IBM also changed how it prices software maintenance to make it easier for customers to run multiple operating environments on eServer i5 models. Effective July 22, the company will change the way that eServer i5 users pay for Software Maintenance (SWMA) contracts on i5/OS and i5/OS licensed programs. Under the old system, customers paid a fixed price on a per-server basis that was tied to the software price tier of the server. Under the new system, customers will pay a fee for each active processor that is running i5/OS. The change to per-processor SWMA pricing will apply to eServer i5 customers only, not to iSeries or AS/400 models.

IBM is taking this action because growing numbers of eServer i5 customers are paying SWMA on processors that are not running i5/OS--for that matter, are not running anything because they are inactive processors. For instance, consider the case of a 5/8-way Model 570 in the P40 software tier. Under current per-server prices, customers must pay $42,290 for a one-year i5/OS SWMA contract whether they have one active processor running i5/OS or eight active processors doing the same thing. If they choose to run AIX or Linux on some or even most active processors, they still must pay the same fee for i5/OS SWMA. As a result, SWMA prices on many eServer i5 models are out of alignment with the value they provide. By contrast, IBM and other system vendors typically charge per-processor fees for maintenance on their Unix operating systems.

By tying i5/OS SWMA prices to the number of active processors running the operating system, IBM is making its maintenance pricing more flexible and as equitable as possible for the largest number of customers. As the following table indicates, many or even most eServer i5 users--especially those running servers in the lower software tiers--will end up paying less under the per-processor price system than they do under the current system. However, IBM will give customers the opportunity to purchase or renew their i5/OS SWMA contracts on a per-server basis until September 30 of this year if doing so makes financial sense for them. The company is also limiting the number of i5/OS SWMA instances that Model 595 users must purchase or renew to 16 processors through the end of this year.

Per Processor Prices for i5/OS SWMA Versus Per Server Prices
Software Tier
Model(s) in Tier
# of CPUs
Old System
New System
1-Year Price per Server
3-Year Price per Server
1-Year Price per Processor
3-Year Price per Processor
P05
520
1
$1,200
$3,240
$1,200
$3,240
P10
520
1
$4,040
$10,910
$3,000
$8,100
P20
520, 550
1 to 4
$11,250
$30,375
$4,000
$10,800
P30
570
1 to 4
$25,590
$69,095
$6,000
$16,200
P40
570
5 to 16
$42,290
$114,153
$6,000
$16,200
P50
595
8 to 32
$55,690
$150,365
$6,000
$16,200
P60
595
33 to 64
$69,695
$188,395
$6,000
$16,200

In a related announcement, IBM also changed the number of active i5/OS processors that come standard with Model 570 servers in the P40 price tier. Until last week, such servers came standard with four active i5/OS processors. That created a problem for customers with significant AIX and Linux workloads, as many of them did not require four i5/OS processors. In response, IBM is reducing the number of active i5/OS processors that come standard on these servers to one, the same number offered on all other eServer i5 Standard and Enterprise Edition servers except the Model 595. Since the change removes the cost for three i5/OS licenses from the Model 570, it will make the server more attractive as a Linux and AIX workload consolidation platform.

While IBM's latest announcements will have significant implications for companies buying the eServer i5, there is one thing they will not do. They will not put buyers through the confusing process of sorting through a slew of new models to understand what they should purchase. IBM purposefully avoided saddling the market with new models or "performance kickers" to existing ones. That decision says two things about the state of the market. First, it indicates that customers and Partners are not telling IBM that they need more powerful models at this time. Second, it indicates that server sales must be humming along fairly well, as Big Blue would have made more dramatic changes to the eServer i5 product portfolio if that were the case. It will be interesting to see how iSeries sales are faring when IBM announces its second quarter financial results later today.

There were a number of other details in last Tuesday's announcements that I do not have space to discuss here. I'll examine those details and take a closer look at the new SWMA pricing system in a future article, so stay tuned.

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

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 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. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • 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 company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY 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. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) 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:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. 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:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot 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:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business 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.

  • 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:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic 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.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? 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: