So Much For That Unbundled i Compiler Tool Pricing
October 27, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
For all of the talk about how IBM is enthusiastic about pushing the Power Systems i product into small and medium businesses, sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder. I know a number of customers out there are doing just the same after IBM has apparently and quietly changed the pricing and bundling of its application development tools for the i platform yet again.
Back on January 29, when IBM was rolling out i 6.1, IBM previewed Rational Developer for System i (RDi) Version 7.1, which has the official designation of 5733-RDI in the IBM catalog. The company also announced that it was splitting the server-side components of WebSphere Development Studio into three bits: the ILE Compiler set, the Heritage Compiler set, and the Advanced Development Tool Set (ADST). The ILE Compiler set includes ILE RPG, ILE COBOL, ILE C, ILE C++, and IXL C for C/C++; it also has the *PRV compilers for ILE RPG and ILE COBOL. The Heritage Compilers include the System/36 compatible RPG and COBOL compilers, the System/38 compatible RPG II and COBOL compilers, RPG/400 (sometimes called RPG III and the first AS/400 native RPG compiler), OPM COBOL (the first AS/400 native COBOL compiler). ADTS remained the same.
IBM was cagey about pricing on the compiler set, but thanks to the kindness of strangers, The Four Hundred was able reckon pricing for these tools. (An ISV told us.) IBM charged $1,295 per developer for access to the Heritage Compilers, $1,795 per developer for access to the ILE Compilers, and $795 per developer for access to the ADTS tool. So a customer who wants the RDi tool, which costs $795 per developer, plus all of the compilers and the ADTS tool had to shell out $4,680 for the whole tool stack.
While the pricing was good in that it allowed customers to buy just what they needed, for a P05 box with a single user, the stack was now more expensive than WebSphere Development Studio plus the WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSC). So in July, IBM switched things around a bit, and on the single-core Power 520 machines running i the base price included the ILE compilers, the Heritage Compilers, and ADTS, plus a license to Rational Developer for i for SOA Construction V7.1. Up until that point, the Power 520s had the ILE compilers and RDi V7.1. That cushioned the blow a little bit for the P05 customers who saw what amounted to a price increase if they wanted the compilers and ADTS. Which was good.
So, maybe you can explain this notice that IBM has sent to business partners:
5761-WDS and 5733-SOA for 9407-M15 and 8203-E4A (1-core) HW Editions 5761-WDS. These Editions (the M15 on 6/24/2008, and the E4A on 10/14/2008) default all three of the 5761-WDS options (ILE, Heritage, and ADTS) and 5733-SOA at a discounted price on the order with a quantity of one for each. The configurator allows the customer to deselect any or all of the three WDS options or deselect SOA. This implementation was provided to allow the customer to customize their order to their requirements. However, it is Toronto’s feeling that allowing the removal of any one of the WDS options or SOA, and keeping the discounted prices on the remaining WDS/SOA content is a severe impact to the expected revenue from these Editions. Toronto is requesting that in order for the customer to take advantage of the discounted prices for WDS and SOA provided in the 9407-M15 and 8203-E4A (1-core) Editions, none of the WDS options or SOA can be removed. If any one of the WDS options or SOA is removed from the HW Edition order, the prices of the remaining selections would be changed to the full price FCs. All of the WDS options and SOA can be removed from the HW Edition order and the remaining content of the HW Edition with the associated discounted prices would still be honored.”
As far as I can tell, the discounted prices on these entry machines were $1,000 for RDi for SOA Construction, $900 for the ILE Compiler set, $550 for the Heritage Compiler set, and $250 for the ADTS. And apparently, if customers wanted to knock out any element from a Power 520 configuration, they could so they could save a little money. But apparently, not anymore. If you don’t take the whole discounted stack for $2,700, IBM is going to charge you full price for the pieces that you do take.
If you find this confusing, and annoying, join the club. I will send you a membership card next week.