The New System i Value Packs
August 20, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
With the new Power6-based System i 570 server, announced on July 24, IBM stopped bundling a bunch of software into the base price of the machine to try to make it more attractive and went in the other direction, stripped down all the features and let customers build up a stack of software comprised of only what they need–and want to pay for. The new Value Packs for i5/OS are a harbinger of how the future i5/OS V6R1 will be packaged on enterprise-class servers by the new Power Systems division when that OS arrives in early 2008.
With the new Power6-based server, IBM has finally and thankfully done away with the whole distinction between i5/OS Standard Edition, which does not support the 5250 green-screen protocol, and i5/OS Enterprise Edition, which does. With this machine, there is just something that IBM is calling i5/OS Edition. (Why not just i5/OS V5R4? Why keep the word “Edition” at all? Sometimes, I really wonder how big corporations work.) In any event, with the new machine, you get a tweaked version of V5R4 that can use some of the hardware in the Power6 chip, and it can run a bare-bones i5/OS plus its integrated DB2/400 database. Customers can activate the 5250 Enterprise Enablement feature, which provides 5250 capacity, on any engine, or they can load i5/OS Application Server, which is i5/OS minus the DB2/400 database, if they just want to use an engine as an application or infrastructure server.
On top of these possible combinations of software are two Value Packs for i5/OS, one for database and one for systems management. None of the software in the packs is new–it has been available on OS/400 and i5/OS for years. It is just being sold as a bundle at a discounted price for customers who want the complete set for i5/OS V5R4. The new Value Packs are not available on prior OS/400 releases.
The DB2 Value Pack for i5/OS includes the DB2 Query Manager and SQL Development Kit, DB2 Symmetric Multiprocessing, DB2 Universal Database Extenders, and the XML Toolkit. This software costs from $1,950 on a P05 software tier to $51,750 on a P60 tier.
The Operations Value Pack for i5/OS includes Backup Recovery and Media Services, BRMS Network Features, Media and Storage Extensions, Performance Tools, and Performance Tools Manager. This pack costs from $2,150 on the P05 tier to $29,000 on the P60 tier.
As part of the July 31 System i announcements, IBM also said that as of January 4, 2008, it would withdraw the ValuePak for iSeries software bundles (5722-VP1), which were available on OS/400 V5R1, V5R2, and V5R3 as well as on i5/OS V5R4. Going forward, System i boxes will use the new Value Packs, presumably.