IBM Posts List Prices for Vision Cluster1 On Web Site
September 23, 2008 Alex Woodie
Interested in buying some clustering software for your i OS server? In years past, the buying process would likely have stretched out into weeks or months, as you sent out requests for proposals to multiple vendors and analyzed the quotes you received. But now, thanks to the industry consolidation work by Vision Solutions and IBM‘s regimented product announcement process, you can know right up front exactly how much the clustering software is going to cost.
Two weeks ago, IBM included an announcement for Vision Solution’s i OS cluster management software, called Vision Cluster1, in its weekly announcement roundup, which you probably know as iSource, but which was recently rebranded (as everything at IBM must be, several times a year, it seems) as iNews. While it’s not commonplace, it’s not entirely unusual to see products from third-party software vendors listed in iSource (ahem, iNews), particularly when those vendors have very close ties with IBM, as Vision does.
And so on September 9, IBM published United States Software Announcement 208-191, an announcement for Vision Cluster1 (not to be confused with iCluster, the cluster management software developed by DataMirror and now owned by IBM).
What was unique about the announcement is that it included a price list for the Cluster1 software. This is not unusual for IBM products, since for many years, the courts have forced IBM to publish list prices as a way of ensuring it doesn’t regress back into the monopolistic tendencies it had when it completely dominated the IT landscape with leased mainframes and the applications that ran on them.
But to see the list prices for a third-party clustering or high availability product was a little bit special, considering the lack of pricing transparency that this market segment usually operates under. To be fair, most i OS software vendors, including Vision Solutions, will quote a ballpark price, if asked. But they are not in the habit of handing over their price lists to the press.
With Software Announcement 208-191, we got the price list. Now we know that if you want a “use pack-1” license (presumably to cluster-enable one application) for Cluster1 running on a P10 or P20 System i Model 810 or a Power Systems Model 520, it’s going to set you back $4,950, which is the extreme low end of the price spread. More realistically, an enterprise is going to run this software on a big honking machine. So if you want a “use pack-64” license to run Cluster1 on a Model 595 FHA-class Power6 machine, it’s going to set you back a cool $72,600.
But perhaps what’s most surprising about the announcement is the relative affordability of the software. Granted, i OS clustering is still not prevalent in the industry. But with the latest clustering-based high availability technologies–including cross-site mirroring (XSM), switchable independent auxiliary storage pools (iASPs), and the SAN-based global mirroring and metro-mirroring–it’s a good bet that there’s a clustering product in many AS/400 shops’ futures. And given the new pricing transparency, it doesn’t have to be quite as scary or daunting a process as it would have been otherwise.
Now, if only we could get full price lists for Vision’s trio of HA products–iTera HA, MIMIX, and ORION HA–that would be something that could benefit more AS/400 shops today.