IBM Turns to SAP to Promote Mainframes
Published: August 9, 2006
by Dan Burger
IBM has enlisted application software giant SAP to help promote System z mainframes and has come forth with a combination of investments in tech centers and rebates to customers as its primary plan to help SAP. To get things under way, Jim Stallings, the general manager of System z division, says IBM is earmarking $40 million over five years for the testing and support of SAP applications on System z and for enhancing the existing SAP technical centers.
Stallings calls this investment "mostly incremental" based on IBM's current level of involvement with SAP through the tech centers. An exact number that identified new money being spent in this effort was not offered by IBM.
However, Stallings did say the tech centers would be instrumental in helping both new and existing mainframe customers understand the capabilities and the cost efficiencies of running SAP on Big Blue's System z mainframes. He particularly zeroed in on the advantages pertaining to DB2 running on the z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP), which is a mainframe engine setup as a DB2 accelerator, and the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL), which is an engine set up to run Linux. The zIIPs and IFLs are expected to play a prominent role in server consolidation programs at SAP accounts, mainly because these specialized engines cost a lot less than real mainframe engines (and do not need to be running z/OS, either, which isn't cheap.) SAP is frequently seen in data centers running on Unix and X64 servers that are prone to multiplying like rabbits and thereby introduce costs relating to power, cooling, and software maintenance and management. You can bet that SAP applications running on a single system provides an advantage that IBM will continue to heavily promote.
Another advantage that Stallings wants to put on the front burner is that for high-end SAP application environments, with features like concurrent backup and highly efficient reorganization capabilities, mainframe performance shines. Stallings claims that the introduction of the zIIP provides at least 20 percent improvement in price/performance on DB2 workloads, such as supporting a set of SAP databases. zIIP processor, which takes certain DB2 routines and offloads them from the mainframe engines running z/OS and DB2, is available in both the System z9 BC and its larger and older sibling, the z9 EC. The zIIP was designed to increase general computing capacity and lower software costs for selected workloads. IBM does not impose IBM software charges on zIIP capacity.
Because customers are not familiar with advancements like the zIIP, Stallings says IBM is putting more money into the tech centers, where IBM and SAP can lead customers through the proof of concept and testing phases for such new technologies and get them ready to deploy them onsite. Part of the additional money IBM is committing to the mainframe tech centers will go toward increasing the engineering staff and adding customer training opportunities, which are considered to be a critical customer service.
Stallings also announced a new incentive plan aimed at companies that are moving to newer, bigger mainframes, coming into the mainframe fold for the first time, or considering SAP applications on System z. The incentive is a rebate program that offers rewards of up to $250,000. Of course, to get that kind of money, you'll have to spend a considerable amount as well.
To be eligible for the grand prize of a quarter million dollar rebate, companies need to invest in each category of hardware, software, and services IBM sells on the mainframe. In addition to the new or upgraded server and the $50,000 of SAP software, IBM also wants you to either purchase system storage or services, too. This offer is a three-legged stool, and you're ability to get milk from the rebate cow depends on getting comfortable with the stool IBM gives you. The rebate is calculated as a percentage of the server price. This rebate only applies to those of you located in the United States and its territories, Canada, and the Caribbean north district.
The System z9 hardware component of this deal is defined as a new System z9 server, a new model conversion to a System z9 server, or a new processor feature conversion on an existing System z9 server. All the z9 servers with list prices of $250,000 or less are eligible for some portion of the rebate. Selected models above that price range are also involved in the promotion, but you'll have to ask questions before you finalize any purchases or leases. The z9 hardware can be purchased or leased, but all contracts must be signed or dated August 8 or later. For the intricacies of various contracts and dates and which high-end severs (or conversions) qualify for rebates, please refer to announcement letter 306-174.
A single z9 serial number can qualify for more than one rebate, as long as it was newly purchased or leased and subsequently upgraded, or upgraded more than once, and each System z9 hardware component acquired is accompanied by an eligible new SAP software license(s) with that minimum $50,000 SAP invoice price. And you should be aware that this is not the only way to get a rebate on a System z server. Inquire with IBM or your mainframe dealer about other offers unrelated to this deal.
The list of eligible service engagements that IBM wants you to choose from includes on demand assessment workshops that look at on demand technologies and IT management practices; server and storage environment studies designed to develop cross-platform or platform-specific technical solutions and business cases for consolidation; and infrastructures studies that examine the support of large scale, multi-tier applications, and service areas such as Web, file/print, e-mail, and branch applications. The length of these engagements vary from a few days to a few weeks to a few months, and the cost varies from approximately $15,000 to $1 million.
The list of eligible storage hardware products that you can fit into this promotion includes the TS1120 tape drive model E05; the TS1120 tape controller model E06; the 3584 tape library models L23, D23, L53, and D53; the Enterprise Tape Library models LXX; the Virtual Tape Server model B20; and the Total Storage DS8300 disk array.
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