With Dave Perco, Director of Power Server Sales at Able-One Systems, and Kyle Foster, Leader of IBM server Business in Canada.
As the IBM Power System is currently in its 8th generation (Power8) and IBM i 7.3 was rolled out this April, IBM is committed to maintaining its history of developing new generations for both hardware and software. The commitment to deliver Power9 has set IBM with a deadline to begin rollout of the next generation Power System in 2018 and Power 10 is well into the research & development process. From a hardware perspective, IBM’s roadmap extends over many, many years. On the other hand, IBM i updates will continue to have the features and capabilities that clients love. The current public support roadmap for the most recent version of IBM i lasts 10 years (2026). These outlooks and commitments are not new and are based on the standard IBM has stood by for over 25 years now – ensuring comfort and security from IBM and its partners towards customers. Among mid-range servers, IBM i total cost of ownership (TCO) has gotten better with every generation of Power/IBM i. The enduring value proposition of IBM i is that it’s a system that allows clients to focus on running their business and not have to focus on IT. Due to the fact that IBM i is an integrated and automated solution with operating systems, database, web server, security, workload management, virtualization, storage management, etc., you can truly let the system do its thing while you focus on growing your business. Compared to other platforms in the market: windows SQL, Linux, Oracle all running on x86, Power and IBM i deliver savings across many categories, including:
- Hardware & hardware maintenance costs
- Software licenses costs
- Support for software licenses
- Personnel costs
- Facilities costs
The reason these costs are less on Power/IBM i are due to the aggregate multiplier effect from the advantages of having a Power/IBM i infrastructure. First, is the advantage derived from being able to do the same amount of work on fewer servers. Commonly referred to as a “higher workload density”, this allows for more workloads on one system, driving much greater utilization from each individual asset. Second, is the advantage of superior virtualization that allows to consolidate more and more workloads. And finally, the lower personnel costs that ultimately stem from tight integration in the IBM i OS stack with its integrated database, web serving, integrated security and integrated/automated workload management. The kind of savings that can be generated compared to other platforms are substantial and has been documented by many industry analysts and researchers over the years. For example, the International Technology Group (ITG) published a research paper 18 months ago comparing the 3-year TCO of IBM i/Power vs 2 other platforms (Windows SQL on x86, Linux/Oracle on x86). On average, IBM i on Power was 45% less costly over 3 years then Windows SQL on commodity x86 hardware and 51% less costly that Linux/Oracle on commodity x86 hardware. The study shows even the total cost of acquisition (TCA) was 35% less than windows and 46% less than Linux. The savings therefore truly start on Day 1 and continue into the future. While some people say that Power servers are old proprietary technology, Kyle explains that old is only an issue if the platform is not constantly innovating. For the past 25 years IBM has made huge investments in IBM i to bring in all disruptive technologies of today to the over 150,000 clients relying on IBM i everyday to run critical business workloads and recording systems. Over the years, IBM has
- Introduced mobile computing and mobile access capabilities
- Expanded and modernized the Devops capabilities to include C/C++, Java, PHP and other open source tools/languages in order to match the skills and programming knowledge of university graduates today
- Integrated PowerVM (virtualization) into hardware firmware of every Power/IBM i system leading to the best virtualization and cloud technology available on any platform
Although arguably proprietary, innovative and integrated stacks remain 35-45% less costly than Windows/Linux and the over 150k clients don’t mind since they have choice of more than 2300 registered solutions for more than 850 registered ISVs around the world (i.e. top solutions like SAP, Infor, Oracle JD Edwards, Fiserv, Epicor, etc.). “Old” and “proprietary” are more or less subjective words but stack-up very well in today’s economy and technology choices. Customers can also run multiple applications on an IBM OS while running a different application on a different OS – on the same Power server. This remains a huge differentiator of IBM Power Systems. For example, if you need to run a new Linux workload that only runs on enterprise Redhat Linux, you can create a partition on the same Power system that runs IBM i and run it no problem. It will be fully partitioned, fully secure and fully isolated while sharing processing, memory, storage and I/O dynamically. Therefore, all the infrastructure you have integrated into IBM i can be used for new workload on same system at little or no additional cost. Kyle explains that no other system “that I know of” can run multiple applications on 5 different operating systems at the same time. With PowerVM (virtualization technology) you dynamically assign system resources to the application workload that needs it the most. For example, IBM i workloads can be done for the day, while Linux jobs run over night… this will not be a problem for a reassignment of (otherwise) idle capacity to get work done quickly. Furthermore, Linux can access IBM i system data if needed through the backplane (internal networking) of the Power server. No external network, no new switches and no new connectivity or security is required to do this – it’s done fast and at the speed of memory. While multiple applications and multiple operating systems are running on the same server, any company can save money by consolidating and virtualizing all its IBM i workloads, AIX workloads and Linux workloads on to the same system and get those great TCO benefits to effectively run and support its business through Power.