IBM Adds New Power Systems to AS/400 and iSeries Removal Program
July 14, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Here’s a deal that I think has been running since 1988, when the AS/400 was launched. (Well, maybe not that long, but sometimes it feels like it.) To help encourage customers first with vintage AS/400s and then iSeries gear as time rolled by to move to newer machinery, IBM has been offering customers a no-charge service to remove the older gear from your site when you get a new box.
Of course, this is not always about altruism. IBM–and its former IBM Credit Corp and current Global Financing unit, which sells refurbished iron as well as features for vintage gear–has never been interested in there being a vibrant market in second-hand AS/400, iSeries, or System i equipment. By offering to remove gear as part of an upgrade, IBM can thereby prevent that gear from falling into the hands of dealers who will no doubt try to peddle it to other customers with vintage boxes to upgrade their systems, thereby avoiding the need for months or maybe years to move to newer iron. So why does IBM sell any used equipment at all? Because if it didn’t, it would be sued for suppressing a used equipment market, and also because if there is going to be a second-hand market, then Global Financing wants to be the lion in a cage full of kittens, setting prices and getting the lion’s share of the business. I can remember when there was a vibrant used System/36, System/38, and AS/400 market–one that really competed with new gear and put pressure on IBM to price itself accordingly–and I can remember when, with the RISC-based AS/400s of 1995, IBM basically crushed the used equipment market by offering such massive price/performance improvements that used gear just could not compete. There are far fewer players today, but there are still deals to be had. IBM hasn’t killed the second-hand market completely.
In any event, on June 24, IBM extended its AS/400 and eServer iSeries no-charge removal offering, whereby IBM will pickup and responsibly and ecologically dispose of that vintage machine if customers buy new machines. That offering was set most recently for Power5 and Power5+ System i5 520, 515, 525, 550, 570, and 595 machines, and with the update, customers acquiring Power Systems 520, 550, 570, and 595 gear, which is based on Power6 processors, can also have IBM cope with the old gear. That old gear can be any AS/400 machine–chant the generational names with me–B, C, D, E, F, 2XX and 3XX, 4XX and 5XX, 6XX and SXX, 170 and 7XX machines as well as iSeries 250, 270, and 8XX machines.
This vintage server disposal offering does not appear to apply to customers who are buying BladeCenter S chasses and either JS12 or JS22 Power6 blade servers, and that is probably just an oversight. If you have a lot of vintage gear and you are moving to blades, insist on IBM taking the old gear away as part of the deal if you aren’t in the mode to try to peddle it to dealers or finding a junkman to dispose of it in an ecologically sound manner.