Good Things Come in Small IBM Packages

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In a previous blog I covered one of the findings from the annual Help Systems IBM i Marketplace Survey that indicated Security as the highest top concern for shops around the world. The survey results can be found here:

https://www.helpsystems.com/resources/guides/2017-ibm-i-marketplace-survey-results

The survey also had some statistics regarding the current release of IBM i and Power server models being used in most shops:

What IBM OS Version is your primary

While most shops are sitting at IBM 7.1 or higher (87.1%), good news for MSPs like Mid-Range who support and monitor a customer’s OS, there is still a high percentage of shops (52.1%) running on Power6 and older servers.

As new versions of IBM i are released and older versions are dropped from support, those customers sitting on older hardware are unable to take advantage of new functions in DB2 and IBM i. What is keeping those customers on the older hardware? Some of this may be the old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” view of the world, but the rest may be the fault of IBM itself providing more capacity in servers than what is needed. Timothy Pricket Morgan covers this well in an older IT Jungle article in 2015 found here:

https://www.itjungle.com/2015/08/17/tfh081715-story01/

He states that this gap (between what is needed and what is being provided) has existed for some time and is continuing with each new Power chip released. It started back in 1995 when the OS was migrated from CISC to RISC which provided a 3 fold increase in horsepower, and will continue with the Power9 processor being released in the second half of 2017. Most servers being sold today by MSPs and hardware vendors are 4 core Power boxes with only 1 core activated, and this same architecture can scale up to 192 cores with 16TB of main memory in a single rack. Who needs this kind of power? The result is that most shops are running around 10-15% of CPU capacity, and thus upgrading to an even larger box is difficult if not impossible to justify.

The solution is to “right-size” and IBM recently provided a possible solution to shops who want to get the latest IBM i release without buying capacity they may never use.  On Feb 14 2017 IBM announced a nice Valentine’s Day gift, the S812 server here:

https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/rep_ca/7/877/ENUSZG17-0027/ENUSZG17-0027.PDF

This server is a 1 socket 2U rack mounted server that can be configured as a 1 core 3.026 GHz for IBM i (up to 25 users) or a 4 core 3.026 GHz for AIX. It can be configured with up to 64 GB of memory for IBM i or up to 128 GB of memory for the 4 core. The software group is P05. IBM will also offer a CBU edition for this server. The GA date for the server is March 17, 2017

Check your current CPU utilization, IBM i release, and server model. If it’s an older Power5 or Power6 server running an older IBM i release like 6.1 and your P Group is P10, it may be time to consider the S812 Power Server. Your software maintenance costs will go down, and you will get the latest and greatest functionality. Mid-Range can help by doing the upgrade for you or even hosting your new S812. Good things do come in small IBM packages!

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