Following up on its major iSeries announcements last January, IBM announced a variety of products and enhancements on May 13, with the highlights being a new entry-level Model 810 and the option to prepay processor on demand for a considerable discount.
Other high points of the announcement were the unveiling of new tape drive options, new enhancements to ESS ("Shark") storage via PTF, new xSeries adapter support, and the availability of DB2 UDB 8.1 for Linux partitions.
New "Baby" 810
The new entry-level Model 810 has a 2465 processor feature that provides a lower-cost route for SMB customers to gain entry to the plethora of software and features included in Enterprise Edition. The 2465 processor feature is rated at 750 CPW for batch workloads compared to the 1020 to 2700 CPW for the three other processor features available in the 810 (2466, 2467, and 2469).
The new 810 at 750 CPW overlaps in performance with the processor features available in the Model 800 (rated from 300 to 950 CPW), yet provides the option to take advantage of the features of Enterprise Edition at a lower price (including unlimited interactive capability) and have a formidable growth path within the 810 series of processor features.
The new 810-2465 in a minimum configuration costs $11,000 for Standard Edition and $55,000 for Enterprise Edition, which reduces the entry cost for Enterprise Edition by $23,000 or 29%.
Especially enticing with the new 810 announcement are additional upgrade points announced along with it for 720 and 820 shops seeking to get into the new iSeries machines. This makes upgrading less of a leap, especially among the smallest 720 customers who, along with other 700 series customers, are facing an October 7 upgrade deadline. Speaking of upgrades, several other new upgrade points were also announced for the 810 and 825 models, making the upgrade path easier for 720, 730, and 820 customers.
The new 810 will be available for shipment on May 23, 2003, and comes with the same minimum configuration as the other 810 models: 512 MB of memory (upgradeable to 16 GB) and a top DASD capacity of 14 TB (although no disk is included with the base configuration). The model has the P10 software pricing tier--same as the existing 2466 and 2467 processor features of 810
New Prepayment Option for CPU on Demand
To entice more takers for Capacity Upgrade on Demand (CUoD) amongst shops on the 825 to 890 models, IBM announced an option to prepurchase CPU days in 30 CPU/day increments for 25% off the CPU/day rate. For example, the normal per-day rate for CUoD on the Model 825 is $1100, but the prepay discount drops the rate to $827.
Of course, having the option to prepay at a discount--rather than be billed monthly after the fact--can have significant budgeting benefits, especially for companies that have seasonal spikes. If you have a good idea when you will need the added CPU juice, you can have your "power days" at the ready and pay for those days out of a quarterly budget that is more flush than the leaner quarter(s) when they will be actually used.
IBM was mum when asked about whether iSeries would eventually manage the use of prepaid CUoD in same way it is currently managed on the pSeries--by having the internal hypervisor countdown the on-demand processor days as they are used, rather than having Big Brother at Big Blue monitoring your system. With the hypervisor managing the process, if you go over your 30 days, you are on the honor system to turn it off; however, if for some reason you forget, then the extra CPU automatically stops when you reboot the system or restart a partition.
Other News from the May 12 AnnouncementIBM made some other announcements on May 12 as well. Here are the ones I think it's most important to share:
- IBM announced two new high-performance Ultrium LTO 2 tape drive offerings that tout an improvement on cartridge capacity and data transfer rates that's up to double what was previously available. The two models--the 3582 and the 3583--both provide flexible additions to tape libraries for mid-size and large enterprises. On the lower end, a new VXA-2 tape drive is available, providing a good replacement to QIC tape solutions. The VXA-2 has an 80 GB capacity (up to 160 GB with compression).
- For SAN fans, PTFs were announced that improve IBM Enterprise Storage Server (ESS) performance. Plus, there is enhanced SAN connectivity to McDATA switches and directors. This includes 4500 and 3232 Fabric Switches and 6064 and 6140 Fabric Directors.
- Linux middleware options were extended, allowing the consolidation of up to 10 Linux partitions on a single processor, DB2 UDB 8.1 for Linux is available for Linux partitions on iSeries, and IBM acknowledges that WebSphere Application Server (WAS) for Linux on iSeries is still on target for Q3 2003.
- Support is now available for Microsoft Windows 2003 with iSeries-integrated xSeries cards that allow Windows machines to connect directly to the iSeries I/O bus and use iSeries DASD for storage.
- IBM announced significant performance improvement for SQL queries running on V5R2 (plus latest DB2 PTFs), providing an improvement of 2 to 5 times for read only, complex queries (i.e., business intelligence and CRM analytics).