Volume 23, Number 9 -- March 4, 2013

Reader Feedback On Big Blue Jacks SWMA For IBM i, Application RISC Machine System/500

Published: March 4, 2013

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Hi, Timothy:

What I am guessing IBM is referring to in your story, Big Blue Jacks Software Maintenance Prices For IBM i, with the "45 other products" covered by SWMA are the Licensed Program Products (LPPs) that most i clients use. It is rare for a machine running a business app to not use a combination of WebSphere Development Studio, iSeries Access, Query/400, SQL Kit, Performance Tools, BRMS, etc. However IBM does not charge extra maintenance for these products.

Compare that to a Windows or Unix system, where you have to buy all these features as standalone products from third party vendors, and then pay SWMA on each of them.

IBM charges the same whether the customer has just OS/400 on the machine, or each and every LPP as well.

I'm not saying that IBM is correct in upping the charges so steep, but for most users, it's not just based on the cost of the operating system only.


It is funny. I have been doing this for years now, and I never realized that IBM is not charging maintenance on all of those add ones. I asked for more clarification, but it has not come as yet.

In any event, if this is true, I have some suggestions. First, cut the price of the core IBM i Application Server operating system and DB2 for i database, and license each independently from each other on all machines. Then, charge a 20 per cent maintenance fee per year if this is indeed normal. After that, cut the prices on all of those 45 products and charge the same maintenance fee of 20 percent on them, and so the math so that three years of maintenance on them costs the same as just buying the features. Make the money all be the same, but make it be more consistent with how the world consumers software.

After all of the software prices are lower--and presumably much more competitive with database and development tools for Windows, Linux, and Unix machines--then make it up in volume and get every one of those 150,000 customers still using OS/400, i5/OS, or IBM i onto a shiny new Power7+ server and IBM i 7.1. This matters more than anything else.

I would go even further, of course, and do what I suggested back in November 2011 and then do some math and allow customers to pay for IBM i based on CPW usage per month and get modern with the cloudy world. Take the license and fees for three years and divide by 36, average it across all of the machines and their different tiers to come up with one simple number.


Hey, TPM:

In the last line of your article, The Application RISC Machine System/500, you mentioned Fort Knox and Future Systems. Neither of them made it, though what the iSeries has today utilizes some of these systems' features.

To redesign, I'd go after the two people who, very early on, set the direction and affected the architecture and design. Glen Henry (overall architecture guidance) and Perry Taylor (database). By the way, Dr Frank didn't do any of this type of work. Then I'd find the folks that implemented all of the improved features and task them with re-architecting and redesigning of the SLIC capabilities and extending them to properly support arrays of processors doing commercial processing.


That sounds reasonable enough to me. But you may have to toss in a slew of ARM experts, considering that I advocated for IBM to shift to ARM architectures. And, by doing so, we can finally get a native Web client for the OS. Perhaps a KDE or Gnome interface.



Big Blue Jacks Software Maintenance Prices For IBM i

The Application RISC Machine System/500

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