IBM Gives Killer Power System Deals Down Under
Published: July 23, 2012
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you are looking to buy a Power 720 or 750 server based on the current Power7 processors and your company happens to be located in either Australia or New Zealand, then IBM has a deal that you are probably going to want to take a look at and maybe not even refuse. Maybe IBM will start wheeling and dealing up here in the Northern Hemisphere soon, too, ahead of the Power7+ launch.
As you all know, the vast majority of customers who run IBM i on modern Power Systems machines find that a single-socket Power 720 is sufficient for the online transaction processing workloads that they run. While Big Blue still gets a lot more money from peddling larger boxes, the small machines make up the bulk of the volume. So it is no surprise that IBM is peddling this particular machine at a steep discount to IBM i shops Down Under.
The Power 720 Optimised for Business (they don't use Zs down there except in slang or when they are sleeping apparently) deal is detailed in announcement letter ENUSA312-097A in Australia and in announcement letter ENUSNZ312-097A in New Zealand. Under these deals, customers who buy a Power 720 system (one of the new ones announced last October with PCI-Express 2.0 peripherals and doubled up main memory) and specific hardware and software configurations can get the boxes at a pretty hefty discount.
There are two slightly different Power 720 setups, which will be available at the discounted price until December 16, giving IBM plenty of time to ship the boxes and therefore to book the revenue before the end of the year. The first configuration actives all four of the 3 GHz cores on the single processor card and loads up IBM i 7.1 on all four cores and activates it for 30 end users. The machine gets 8 GB of memory (probably not enough for most workloads), eight 283 SAS drives, and the 175 MB RAID 5 mezzanine card that snaps into the on-motherboard SAS disk controller. In addition to the IBM i licenses, the configuration includes PowerVM Standard Edition and three years of maintenance. In Australia, this machine has a list price of AU$61,621 (that's Australian dollars), not including local taxes, and with the discount, IBM is dropping the price to AU$28,636. That's a 53.5 percent price cut. By the way, the U.S. and Australian dollars are nearly in synch, and if you convert that machine's price to US dollars at current exchange rates, it works out to $29,790.
The second Power 720 configuration is the same except for its storage options. This configuration has two 300 GB SAS drives for local operating system storage and then adds a Fibre Channel adapter (feature 5729) to attach out to a storage area network. This configuration lists for AU$60,311 and has the same AU$28,636 price tag. That works out to a 52.5 percent discount.
In New Zealand, the first Power 720 setup under this deal costs NZ$69,703, while the second one costs NZ$67,933; both are being sold at a discounted price of NZ$32,500. The New Zealand dollar is a bit weaker than the U.S. one right now, and that discounted price converts to $26,107 at Friday's exchange rates.
If you are looking for a holiday in a cold, wintery place right now--which probably sounds good to a lot of people in the heat-weary United States--you might be thinking that taking a holiday and bringing one of these puppies back in your suitcase is a good idea. A Power 720 Express configuration with all four 3 GHz cores activated (with no operating system licenses), 8 GB of memory, and two 139 GB disks costs $6,409, and if you put IBM i on all four cores and toss on three years of software maintenance, then the price is $29,049. That's not an apples-to-apples comparison because the US price doesn't include the right disks or PowerVM Standard Edition on the cores. Let's get the configurations into parity. PowerVM Standard Edition costs $280 per core, so add on another $1,120. The RAID card is $1,800, and eight of those 15K RPM disks adds another $7,600. Take out the two 139 GB disks, and the total cost of the same configuration in the United States is $37,453. At current prices and exchange rates, therefore, the deal in Australia is 20.5 percent cheaper.
OK, so maybe you can get one in your suitcase after all. (Getting the machine certified for U.S. maintenance might not be trivial, so be careful.) Or, if you have operations in Australia and New Zealand and can legitimately move iron around your company's global operations, you might want to look into it.
For AIX shops, IBM has a beefier Power 750 system and equally steep discounts. The deal, which is in announcement letter ENUSA312-099 in Australia and in announcement letter ENUSNZ312-099 in New Zealand, runs until December 16 as well. It is available for a Power 750 box with two processor cards, each equipped with a six-core Power7 chip running at 3.7 GHz. The machine is set up with 96 GB of main memory, six 146 GB disks, and all of the cores in the box activated and configured with AIX 7.1 and PowerVM on all the cores. Software Maintenance for three years is also bundled in.
In Australia, this setup lists for AU$250,457 and has a discount price of AU$99,999. (Neither of those prices include sales taxes.) That's a stunning 60.1 percent discount. In New Zealand, the configuration costs NZ$289,030, and has a discount price of NZ$121,339, or 58 percent off list. It is a pity that there is not an IBM i 7.1 version of this deal.
It is also strange that there are not similar deals on the books for the United States, Canada, and Europe, but if the Power7+ announcements are slated for later this year rather than earlier, you can expect some wheeling and dealing to start soon.
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