Slashdot Flamefest Pits the iSeries Against Windows
January 23, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you have some time and you want to see what the open source intelligentsia–and I use that latter word somewhat sarcastically– is thinking about the iSeries and how it stacks up against Windows, you might want to check out this posting on the Slashdot Web site. A Slashdot reader called Rabid Cougar explained that he is a system admin for a small manufacturing company that has an ERP system that runs on an IBM AS/400, but that this ERP system is out of gas and needs to be upgraded. Rabid Cougar asked the Slashdot community what they would do: Pick an iSeries ERP system, or move to a Windows ERP system?
The responses Rabid Cougar got are illustrative of the benefits and the challenges that the OS/400 platform faces. I particularly liked this one: “AS/400s are some of the lowest TCO systems on the planet. My wife worked at a place that used an AS/400 system bought in 1989. When she told me about it I laughed, until we realized that the machine had nearly a decade of uptime with about 30 users hitting it every day and no IT staff of any kind. The machine eventually had to be rebooted when a hard disk died and the machine phoned home. . . an IBM guy showed up to replace it and nobody knew that there was a problem. The system was replaced about 18 months ago (because spare parts were no longer available) by an Windows/Oracle system that is complete garbage. Bugs in the IBM eSeries [xSeries] lights-out-management card caused the system to reboot every 60 minutes. Things like restoring backups are also much more complicated and error prone. On the AS/400, restoring the system from bare metal required you to insert the tape into the drive and holding down a function key.”
The observation I liked best was this: In the past, nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, and now, today, nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft; but nobody gets ulcers for buying an iSeries. Why this and other similar, sensible comments are not part of an iSeries marketing campaign is something I cannot fathom. By the way, the Slashdot community came down heavily on the side of sticking with a legacy solution because, let’s face it, Unix and its baby brother, Linux, are legacy solutions, too.