IBM Cuts i5/OS-Based JS22 Blade Server Prices
February 11, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Well, that was quick. But apparently not quick enough for the IBM online store to be updated last week when everyone was taking a gander at the new i5/OS configuration of the Power6-based JS22 blade server. What I am referring to is a price cut that IBM made on the i5/OS configuration of the JS22 blade server that went into effect on January 29, the big announcement day, but was not reflected in the Web pricing that I cited in last week’s article about the JS22 and i5.OS V6R1.
Here’s the deal. When I looked online last week–and when IBM’s own customers did, because the announcement letters for the JS22 blade running i5/OS did not include prices–the price for the 7998-61XA configuration of the JS22 blade server came to $9,457. That was, according to IBM’s Web store, for a blade with all four 4 GHz cores activated, 4 GB of main memory, and a single 73 GB 10K RPM SAS drive on the card. A configuration for running AIX, with the product number 7998-61XB, cost $6,129. As I look on the Web today (Friday, February 8, at 5 p.m. Eastern), the Web price for the i5/OS V6R1 variant of the JS22 blade still costs $9,457, but Craig Johnson, the i5/OS product manager in the Power Systems division of IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, explained that the price was changed on January 29 to $7,436 for the configuration, and went even further and broke down what is in the configuration.
The basic JS22 blade costs $220. IBM is throwing in free software installation services for i5/OS and a license to the PowerVM Standard Edition hypervisor. The PowerVM hypervisor is necessary on all i5/OS V6R1 blades because all I/O is virtualized and runs through a Virtual I/O Server partition on the blade, which has the drivers to talk to the network and disk controller features on the blade, unlike i5/OS V6R1 itself. IBM is also charging $898 for two 2 GB DDR2 memory modules, $329 for a 73 GB disk, $249 for a SAS expansion card, $999 for a QLogic Ethernet and 4 Gb/sec Fibre Channel expansion card. The four cores on the blade–and you have to install two dual-core Power6 chips at this point–costs $4,481, and it costs another $200 to activate one of those cores so i5/OS can be installed. That comes to $7,436. That’s better than the $9,457 price that is still up there on the Web.
The AIX version of the blade does not require the QLogic Fibre Channel card to reach storage (although that card can certainly be used), and apparently it also has some other differences in hardware. Which is why it still costs $1,307 more to get the bare blade for running i5/OS. IBM’s Web site does a terrible job explaining the components in the products it sells, so I cannot easily ascertain what the difference is. IBM’s System i team does an excellent job sharing information, and is obviously as frustrated as I was last week at the error up on the IBM Web site, which is the only public place where the i5/OS JS22 configuration is available.