IBM Delivers Model 810 iSeries for HA Server
March 1, 2004 Timothy Prickett Morgan
When IBM launched the iSeries for High Availability line of machines back in September, these specialized, low-cost iSeries servers were only available in Model 825, 870, and 890 configurations. Smaller shops, in which a Model 810 was a more appropriate hot backup machine for applications and databases, were left out of the loop. After testing the market with rebates on Model 810s when used in conjunction with high availability software, IBM last week formally announced a Model 810 iSeries for HA server.
This adjunct line of iSeries machines, as we detailed last fall, are designed as auxiliary hot-swap machines whose sole purpose is to protect production OS/400 servers against outages related to planned downtime (during upgrades and data archiving, for instance) and for unplanned outages (usually caused by software crashes or human error). IBM announced five different iSeries for HA machines: one Model 825, two Model 870s, and two Model 890s. The iSeries for Capacity BackUp servers, which were announced at the same time, are only intended to be used to replicate data; the iSeries for HA machines are designed to be production machines. These servers are priced at a discount, compared with iSeries servers running the full-bore OS/400 Enterprise Edition, but they offer most of the same functionality of a real iSeries server, including full green-screen support. The iSeries for HA servers have list prices that are cut by between 21 and 38 percent compared with the full-blown iSeries machines on which they are based. This is real money.
And given the fact that IBM’s OS/400 installed base is dominated by machines in the Model 810 and Model 825 class (which is the traditional cusp between a big entry machine and a small midrange machine, and which has always been the bread basket of this line), it was time to make an iSeries for HA box a part of the regular line up, not part of a rebate plan that could be revoked at any time, as the one IBM announced late in October 2003 could have been. Rebates are inherently less attractive than actual lower prices because they mean customers have to shell out more money up front and have to put a machine on their books at a higher price than it is actually worth.
IBM is not just launching one Model 810 iSeries for HA, either, which means it is serious about chasing this market. There are four different high availability models, just like there are four different performance levels in the regular iSeries line. As you can see from the table showing the new high availability machines and comparing them with the regular iSeries boxes in the same class, the price cuts on the iSeries for HA servers are considerable–roughly 60 percent of the cost of a real iSeries machine. This will make high availability clustering more appealing to a larger portion of the OS/400 installed base, and in fact puts high availability within the economic grasp of small and midsized businesses.
There are some requirements before you can buy an iSeries for HA box, including the new Model 810 derivatives. The primary production server that the HA box is running cover for has to be a Model 270, a Model 7XX, or a Model 8XX server. This primary machine cannot be an iSeries for HA box; it must have some 5250 processing capacity activated, and it must have more aggregate processing capacity than the HA box. Finally, customers have to buy a new license for HA software from DataMirror, iTera, Lakeview Technology, Maximum Availability, or Vision Solutions.