fhg
Volume 10, Number 25 -- August 25, 2010

Admin Alert: One Year Out--Preparing for Your Next Power IBM i Upgrade

Published: August 25, 2010

by Joe Hertvik

Recently I wrote several articles about some IBM i upgrades my shop performed this year. Such is the way of things in i shops that I'm already planning for another set of upgrades next year, in July 2011. If you're in the same situation where new Power i boxes are just over the horizon, here's some tips to help you plan your upgrade.

Your BP and You

Before you do anything else on your upgrade, first evaluate your business partner (BP). This is a moot point for many people but you should ask yourself if you're happy with your business partner's service. IBM generally considers a business partner to own all hardware upgrades, maintenance, service, etc., for its Power i machines for three years or the life of the machine's lease. This makes it difficult, but not impossible, to change business partners during that time. And if you're not happy with the service you've been getting from your business partner, the perfect time to evaluate their service and look for changes is now before you hand them a big check for another machine.

Evaluating your business partner is a fairly subjective issue, but here are some of things I've evaluated BPs on in the past.

  • How often does the BP call? Does the BP ask what projects are coming up that they can help you with? Or does she only seem interested when there's a sale on the line? I've had BPs who hardly ever contacted me until they knew I was ready to buy something. Conversely, I've had other BPs who made it a habit to check in and become a part of the team. Which you prefer is a matter of taste.
  • What kind of deals did they get you? Have you ever double-checked their prices to determine whether you're getting the best deals or not? Do you feel that they could have done better?
  • How well do they understand the Power i platform? Is the organization technically proficient in supporting the i or does their expertise lie more in Windows, networking, Unix, etc.
  • How creative are they in finding solutions? What has been your experience in dealing with this partner? Do they only offer standard solutions or do they dig deeper to understand your situation to provide enhanced capabilities and save you money. One of the problems with an IBM-sanctioned long-term business partner relationship is that sometimes the BP starts taking you for granted and doesn't feel they have to earn your business or work hard for a solution.
  • What does the rest of the organization think of your BP? Are her contributions known to other significant personnel at your organization such as your CIO, key users, or even the CEO? Do you need to worry about the BP's rep with your company? You may be happy with them, but that doesn't mean everyone is happy.
  • If leasing, what's their role in the financing process? In a recent article, I discussed the importance of separating your business partner from your leasing company. If the BP has their own preferred leasing company that will take care of you (or if the BP is part of a leasing company), that could lead to a conflict of interest situation where you could be charged more than if you bid out the equipment and the lease separately. My preference is for a separation of functions in purchasing these items, but it's something that you may want to consider for your situation.

Even if it's only a formality, take a few minutes to consider your situation and whether you would come out ahead by trying to change BPs for the next box. Many people stay with the same business partner year after year out of inertia. The perfect time to evaluate your BP is a year out, before you start looking at a new buy or lease situation that will lock the BP into servicing your company for another three years. For more information, see this article on selecting a business partner.

Don't Forget the Budget

For my 2010 installs, I budgeted for the equipment in June of 2009. For the July 2011 upgrades, the budget was due in August. Here are some of the items that you may have to budget for a year in advance.

  • Power i hardware--Be ready to provide capital numbers, even if you're just leasing the machines.
  • Tape or other media drives--What will your backup and restore solution cost? Is it disk-based or media-based? Will you need to replace your current backup media?
  • Hardware Management Console (HMC).
  • Hardware and software maintenance for the new machine.
  • Other hardware that may be needed, such as switches, routers, UPS power supplies, etc.
  • Services for installing new and upgraded equipment.
  • Services to decommission and remove your old iSeries or System i equipment from service.

Extended Maintenance

Many Power i customers generally buy hardware and software maintenance for three years, but what happens if your lease is for 42 months? That means that you'll have to purchase additional maintenance for another six months until the old equipment goes away.

The problem is that some maintenance companies (including IBM) will sell you a one-year service contract even if you only need six months worth of maintenance. If that's your situation, try to either buy a short-term contract or determine what your options are for canceling the maintenance if the covered machined is no longer in service. Some companies will let you cancel maintenance on a machine that has been sold or returned to the leasing company. However, there may not be an option for canceling maintenance if your machine has only been upgraded and that serial number is still in service. Talk with your maintenance provider to see what can be done if you elect to replace your old machine with brand new hardware, complete with its own serial number. You don't want your hardware maintenance situation to affect your upgrade options.

Third-Party Software Vendors

You will want to budget for how much you'll need to spend to transfer current third-party software licenses to a new machine. This is dependent on the contract you signed with each provider, but you may want to start pricing this out now. There are at least a few third-party vendors who will charge a hefty premium when you transfer their software to new more powerful hardware with more CPUs.

What Kind of Performance Will You Need In the Next Three Years?

As good i/OS administrators, we should have a good handle on how well our machine is performing with the current workload. However, what kind of increased traffic can we expect to handle in the next one to three years? Is the company growing at 10 to 20 percent a year, or is it shrinking by 40 percent in a bad economy? At T-minus one year, you may want to hire someone or ask your business partner to perform a workload analysis on your current machine and have them scale current performance to calculate how much capacity you will need in the next three to four years.

For some upgrades I've worked on, we tried to budget performance to handle 15 to 20 percent growth per year, but your numbers and situations may call for drastically more or drastically less power than that number. If your company is willing to share those numbers, you may want to retrieve any long-term sales forecasts that are available to create some performance metrics to scale with the new hardware and software.


RELATED STORIES

Diary of a Production System Upgrade, Part 2

Diary of a Production System Upgrade, Part 1

Some Simple Ideas for Getting the Best System i Lease

A Skeleton Checklist for Performing Power i Upgrades

The Ins and Outs of Selecting an IBM Business Partner



                     Post this story to del.icio.us
               Post this story to Digg
    Post this story to Slashdot


Sponsored By
SYSTEM i DEVELOPER

Take it to the Summit!

Upgrade your skills - and your career - at the
next RPG & DB2 Summit. Delve into the latest
on RPG IV, embedded SQL, RPG & the Web,
PHP, RSE/RDi, DB2, SQL tuning and more!

Learn practical, use-it-today tips and techniques
and get 1-on-1 advice from top experts Susan Gantner,
Jon Paris, Skip Marchesani, Paul Tuohy, Scott Klement

& others in a highly interactive, invigorating, fun environment.

YOU have the power to keep the IBM i - and your skills - vital to your company.

Register by Sept 16 to stay at the luxury Sofitel for just $99/night!

Click to see the sessions.


Senior Technical Editor: Ted Holt
Technical Editor: Joe Hertvik
Contributing Technical Editors: Erwin Earley, Brian Kelly, Michael Sansoterra
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
Contact the Editors: To contact anyone on the IT Jungle Team
Go to our contacts page and send us a message.

Sponsored Links

Bytware:  Try StandGuard Network Security FREE for 30 days
DRV Technologies:  SpoolFlex transforms & distributes System i reports as PDF & Excel in REAL time!
COMMON:  Join us at the Fall 2010 Conference & Expo, Oct. 4 - 6, in San Antonio, Texas


 

IT Jungle Store Top Book Picks

Easy Steps to Internet Programming for AS/400, iSeries, and System i: List Price, $49.95
The iSeries Express Web Implementer's Guide: List Price, $49.95
The System i RPG & RPG IV Tutorial and Lab Exercises: List Price, $59.95
The System i Pocket RPG & RPG IV Guide: List Price, $69.95
The iSeries Pocket Database Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket SQL Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket Query Guide: List Price, $49.00
The iSeries Pocket WebFacing Primer: List Price, $39.00
Migrating to WebSphere Express for iSeries: List Price, $49.00
Getting Started With WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries: List Price, $89.00
Getting Started with WebSphere Express for iSeries: List Price, $49.00
Can the AS/400 Survive IBM?: List Price, $49.00
Chip Wars: List Price, $29.95


 
The Four Hundred
IBM Ducks i Pricing on Most Entry Power7 Servers

BladeCenter S Express i Edition Gets a Power7 Upgrade

The Power 795: Cheaper Performance, Expensive Software

As I See It: The Once and Future HP Way

An Encryption Horror Story

Four Hundred Stuff
PHP and JavaScript Come Together in Zend Studio 8

SafeStone Taps RSA for SIEM Expertise

SkyView Gets Tough on User Profiles

Profound Updates I/O Handler for RPG Open Access

IGEL Adds 5250 Emulation to Linux Thin Clients

Four Hundred Monitor
Four Hundred Monitor's
Full iSeries Events Calendar

System i PTF Guide
August 7, 2010: Volume 12, Number 32

July 31, 2010: Volume 12, Number 31

July 24, 2010: Volume 12, Number 30

July 17, 2010: Volume 12, Number 29

July 10, 2010: Volume 12, Number 28

July 3, 2010: Volume 12, Number 27

TPM at The Register
US puts $30bn of IT projects up for review

AMD nabs ex-Intel techie as server CTO

Oracle names self virtualization king

Big biz loved Dell servers and storage in Q2

Mobile PC buyers buying peppier boxes

HP rings up Hurd's final quarter

HP hires headhunter to replace Hurd

AIX 7.1 moves forward to Power7 iron

Amazon challenges cloudy startups

IBM whips out its TPC-C...cluster

SGI previews Q4 financials

IBM completes Power7 server arsenal

THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY:

SEQUEL Software
WorksRight Software
System i Developer


Printer Friendly Version


TABLE OF CONTENTS
An Introduction to Python on IBM i, Part 1

DB2 for i: Process Stored Procedure Result Sets as Cursors

Admin Alert: One Year Out--Preparing for Your Next Power IBM i Upgrade

Four Hundred Guru

BACK ISSUES




 
Subscription Information:
You can unsubscribe, change your email address, or sign up for any of IT Jungle's free e-newsletters through our Web site at http://www.itjungle.com/sub/subscribe.html.

Copyright © 1996-2010 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Guild Companies, Inc., 50 Park Terrace East, Suite 8F, New York, NY 10034

Privacy Statement