IBM Withdraws Various iSeries and System i5 Features
Published: August 14, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Last week, IBM announced that it would be withdrawing from marketing a number of iSeries and System i5 features. A bunch of software is also being torn out of the System i product catalog, too. All of these products have replacements, so don't get too nervous.
The most significant announcement is that starting on May 1, 2007, IBM will no longer sell 35.2 GB, 15K RPM disk drives (features 4326) on the iSeries or System i5 for supporting OS/400 and i5/OS, and that similar (and lower cost) 36.4 GB disks for supporting AIX and Linux partitions on the iSeries and i5 platforms will also be removed from the catalog. IBM is telling customers to use 70.6 GB disks for OS/400 and i5/OS (feature 4327) and 73.4 GB disks for AIX and Linux (feature 1897). IBM already withdrew its 17.54 GB, 10K RPM disks (feature 4318) on September 1, 2004, and killed off the 35.2 GB, 10K RPM variants (feature 4319) on July 15, 2005. With this latest withdraw, customers looking to use cheaper 35.2 GB disks--cheaper being an extremely relative term--will have to pony up more money. The 35.2 GB disks spinning at 15K RPM, which are perfectly suitable for the System i5 line since disk arms, not capacity, is the important factor in online transaction processing performance, cost $1,199 at list price, while the 70.6 GB, 15K RPM units cost $1,999. IBM is still selling a 141.1 GB, 15K RPM disk for $2,999. Disk features for AIX and Linux in the same i5 box cost half as much, and for no good reason.
IBM is also phasing out an old set of PCI-X iSCSI TCP/IP offload engines with copper and fiber optic cables for a new line with the same technical characteristics, and an older 4 Gb/sec Fibre Channel host bus adapter card for the i5 has been replaced by a new one as part of the July 11 announcements. A bunch of i5 Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, HA Edition, and CBU Edition machines based on older Power5 technology are also being removed from the IBM catalog on October 3. (You can read the full product list in this announcement letter. Believe it or not, IBM has finally killed off some older 4 MB, 8 MB, 16 MB, and 512 MB memory cards from vintage AS/400s, effective August 8, 2006. (That's the day the announcement was made.) Feature conversions from many vintage AS/400s were also killed off on August 8.
IBM also said that on September 30, it will no longer support Integrated Domino Fax for iSeries V4.4, which is currently being supported under a contract through Lotus or Global Services. Integrated Domino Fax for i5/OS V4R5 is the replacement product for this older fax software.
Finally, the old Software Subscription support services, which debuted many years ago, will also bite the dust on December 1. Software Subscription, you will remember, predates the current Software Maintenance agreement (which rolls software support and hardware support into a single, annual contract). Basically, Software Maintenance is your only option now.