At their core, all companies must be careful investors.
Editor's Note: This article is an introduction to the white paper "Building a Sound Investment Strategy Through Technology" free for download from the MC White Paper Center.
Combining IBM Power Systems hardware (System i, iSeries, AS/400) and reliable automation software is a powerful investment strategy for companies that increases revenue, reduces expenses, improves their bottom line, and enhances customer experience.
At their core, all companies must be careful investors. They need to invest in stable growth commodities and carefully monitor their return on investment (ROI).
The IBM Power Systems server hardware platform (System i, iSeries, AS/400), with its operating system software (IBM i, i5/OS, OS/400), is a sound investment strategy for a number of reasons:
- It is stable and available, with more than 99.9% reliability.
- It can be expanded to meet future needs (known as scalability) from a basic 2-core processor, up to a massive 256 processor server, in many cases without having to invest in a new server.
- It can balance resources and workload between applications running on the same system, and between physical systems, to maximize the efficiency of processing resources.
- It has solid, built-in security features, like auditing, in its operating system. This was the first general-purpose system to attain the Department of Defense (DoD) C2 rating. And its operating system (IBM i) has never been successfully attacked by a virus.
- It offers high availability (HA) and hardware mirroring (redundant hardware) tools, such as IBM PowerHA technology, to prevent downtime and speed up disaster recovery.
- It provides multilingual capability for international markets.
- It is easily automated, with a rich command set and programming interfaces (called application program interfaces, or APIs) that simplify customization.
- It offers many integrated vendor solutions for companies.
Solid Hardware: Invest in a High-Tech World
It's a strange paradox: most institutions should be careful, conservative investors, yet they must provide their customers with a high-tech, leading-edge experience. Complete online banking solutions, secure online retail experiences, and electronic healthcare records are just a few features that customers now rely on constantly.
The Power Systems platform running IBM i is the “behind the scenes” system that makes these customer conveniences possible. This platform can host a website, support sophisticated software applications, provide AIX (UNIX) or Linux operating systems in separate partitions (physical or logical disk space areas), and offer powerful hardware and software functions such as virtual partitioning and shared processors, memory, and disk resources.
Meanwhile, the platform continues to support legacy applications that organizations have used for years to process and analyze the data that results from customer interactions.
Mergers and consolidation are a way of life in business. The Power Systems architecture offers an easily scalable platform to help organizations grow cost-effectively. For example, a single partition can manage a huge workload; a single system can manage a large number of partitions that share a pool of CPU and disk resources. That means efficiency and lower hardware costs, both in manpower and energy requirements. And that ultimately translates to a lower cost of ownership with an easy-to-manage, integrated, secure system.
Another cost-saving factor is the platform's ability to balance resources (and workload) between applications running on the same system (using subsystems), between system partitions, and even between physical systems (servers).
Commands can move memory and processing resources between workloads on a single system by taking advantage of the subsystem structure, the operating system's built-in performance tuner, and the hardware's capacity-on-demand feature. For example, capacity-on-demand can automatically activate and deactivate processor resources based on processing times, such as peak daily processing, or month-end or year-end processing. This helps institutions meet service-level expectations, shorten response times, and maintain Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between other companies and themselves.
Security on this platform is powerful and easy to implement. By securing against unapproved data access from inside or outside an organization, companies guarantee that their customers' data remains confidential—good risk management.
Built-in tools (such as the DB2 database and secure system audit journals that track changes) work with vendor tools to enhance and organize built-in security features. Organizations can better secure and monitor their environment while they deal with strict regulatory requirements such as Payment Card Industry (PCI), Health Care Reform Act (HCRA), Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), and others.
The operating system (IBM i) is strongly virus-resistant because it is an object-oriented system. Unlike in the Windows or UNIX world, one object type cannot morph into another type, so viruses have a difficult time existing.