Price Changes, New Peripherals, and Other i5 Announcements
May 24, 2004 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Buried in the back of major announcements from IBM, like those on May 4, is a collection of price changes and peripherals announcements. While these are not usually earth-shattering, they are worth going through in order to get a complete picture of what IBM has done. This time around, IBM has tweaked a few software and hardware prices, and it has added two new peripherals for iSeries and eServer i5 machines.
On the price cut front, IBM first of all announced that memory conversion prices for memory cards used in the iSeries Model 800, 810, 825, 870, and 890 server lines had been cut by 40 to 59 percent, to more or less match the price cuts announced a month ago on new memory cards for these machines. With the price cuts on feature conversions, companies can upgrade their memory for less money than before, but they also are getting lower takeout prices on the memory they turn back in to IBM. This is how the market has always worked. (See our table of the revised memory upgrade prices.)
IBM also jacked up the price on its Job Scheduler for OS/400 by 40 percent, in conjunction with the May 4 announcements. Job Scheduler was first announced in April 2001 with OS/400 V5R1, and it provides a way of automating batch jobs so different workloads don’t bump heads and mess up each other’s performance. The software also has reporting functions and can integrate with IBM’s SystemView and Candle systems management programs. (See our table of revised Job Scheduler prices.) It looks like the price increase reflects in part some of the enhancements IBM has made to the program in conjunction with i5/OS V5R3.
On the peripherals front, IBM has announced the 7210 Model 030 VDV-RAM drive for the iSeries and the pSeries. This DVD subsystem is specifically geared for archiving data so it can be moved between logical partitions on Power-based iSeries and pSeries servers. The device can read and write to DVD disks (both one-sided and two-sided) as well as less capacious CD-R and CD-RW discs (which are more common in the PC world). IBM says that, using two-sided DVD discs, customers can pack up to 9.4 GB of storage on a single disc, and with 3:1 data compression, customers can cram up to 28 GB of data on a single platter. (Compression won’t work that well for application binaries that have already been compiled or other types of digital information such as pictures and audio files). The 7210 Model 030 drive can use both 12 centimeter and 8 centimeter discs. With DVDs, the subsystem has a data transfer rate of about 2.77 MB/sec, which is akin to that of a 32X CD-ROM drive. The unit is supported on iSeries Model 7XX and 8XX machines running OS/400 V5R2 or higher and on i5 machines running i5/OS V5R3; it is also supported on RS/6000 and pSeries machines running AIX 5L 5.1. The drive costs $1,500.
IBM also announced that the 7212 Model 102 is a multifunction unit that combines an SLR tape drive and a DVD drive in a single rack-mountable unit. IBM supports two SLR tape drives in the box. The SLR60 tape drive is now supported on the AS/400, iSeries, and i5 server lines. SLR is a modern version of the quarter-inch cartridge tape technology that IBM used with the entry machines in the AS/400 line. This unit can move data at 4 MB/sec and can support up to 37.5 GB of data on a single tape (75 GB with 2:1 compression activated). The SLR100 unit that slides into the 7212 Model 102 can support up to 50 GB of data on a single tape (100 GB with 2:1 compression activated). The base unit comes with the DVD drive outlined above for $800, with the SLR60 unit costing an additional $1,700 and the SLR100 unit costing an additional $2,500. This unit requires i5/OS V5R3 or AIX 5L 5.1 or higher.