The Model 270: Of Course It Runs V5R4, But Now What?
January 28, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The AS/400 and iSeries Model 270 entry servers are historically part of the same AS/400 line that was called the Model 8XX series. The Model 270s were the kickers to the “Invader” Model 170 machines that helped provide a significant boost in entry AS/400 sales in the late 1990s. And the Model 270s indeed run i5/OS V5R4, contrary to what I said in in a recent story. That said, they are long in the tooth and have been replaced many times in the past eight years.
The Model 270s came out in the third quarter of 2000 and were more expandable machines than the Invaders. These first Model 270s used 400 MHz and 450 MHz Pulsar PowerPC processors, and IBM also launched a rebadged Invader box called the Model 250 at this time, using the 200 MHz Northstar processors. (Which is probably why I always lump the Model 270 in the same launch as the Model 7XX boxes in my head.) These servers offered from 150 to 2,000 CPWs of raw processing power, with bigtime governors on 5250 green screen processing. In the second quarter of 2001, when the IT market was in the tank, IBM updated the Model 270 with the 540 MHz and 600 MHz S-Star processors, which provided from 465 and 2,350 CPWs of power. The Model 270 machines with the higher CPW ratings had two processors, and were not widely installed because they were in the same P20 software tier as the Model 820s, which had more expandability. (This difference is analogous to the spacing, in terms of price and performance, between the entry System i 515 and 525 machines; IBM sells a lot more single-processor System i 515s than dual-core 525s.)
The interesting thing to ponder is how many Model 270s might still be out there doing useful work. Between 2000 and 2002 inclusive, IBM probably sold between 90,000 and 100,000 iSeries servers; if history is any guide, the vast majority of shipments would have been for Model 270 machines. Assuming this is the case and assuming that roughly 50 percent to 70 percent of those boxes are still in the field some five years after they were technologically obsoleted by the Model 800 and 810 servers, IBM could have anywhere from 45,000 to 70,000 Model 270s in the field. (My guess is that there are around 50,000 such boxes still out there, and probably an equally large number of Model 170s, too.)
What I want to know is what IBM will do to get customers using these machines to move to System i boxes. A mix of discounts on the BladeCenter S chassis, the new JS22 Power6 blade, and low-cost i5/OS V6R1 license for the blades would seem to be a good idea, particularly for Model 270 shops who have a mix of Windows and OS/400 workloads running side by side. Being content to plunk V6R1 on the same old Model 270 iron is not an acceptable option, for either IBM or its customers. Let’s hope the Business Systems division figures this out.
IBM Offers Trade-In Deal for Model 270 Shops (this was three years ago)