As Rumored, IBM Tweaks i Development Tool Bundle
November 24, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
A little less than a month ago, I told you that IBM was rumored to be thinking about tweaking its Rational tool bundle for the System i and Power Systems i entry machines. And lo and behold, the very precise rumor that I told you about–which was conveyed to me from a business partner, who got the information from an IBMer in the know–has indeed come to pass.
Specifically, IBM made yet another announcement of the rejiggering of the compiler and related toolset last week for its smaller i platforms. Because you don’t have the entire System i and Power System i product lines memorized, the discounted bundle that IBM offers is for 1/2-core Power5+ System i 525 user-priced machines (that’s 9407-M25 boxes with processor features 6761, 6762, 6763, and 6766) and two-core and four-core Power6 Power Systems i 520 machines (that’s 8203-E4A machines with processor features 9635, 9636, 9637, 9638, 9639, 9640, and 9643). The Rational development toolset for i 6.1 for these machines now includes not only the ILE compiler set (ILE RPG, ILE RPG *PRV, ILE COBOL, ILE COBOL *PRV, ILE C, ILE C++, IXLC for C/C++), but also all the bits in the WebSphere Development Studio stack for i 6.1, which means the so-called heritage compilers (that’s the S/36 Compatible RPG II, the S/38 Compatible RPG III, RPG/400, S/36 Compatible COBOL, S/38 Compatible COBOL, and OPM COBOL) as well as the Application Development ToolSet.
Now, here’s the old switcheroo. The bundled software on these machines now includes Rational Developer for i for SOA Construction V7.1, which implements the Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) that IBM is trying to sell for SOA-style applications. The bundle does not include IBM Rational Developer for i V7.1. You now have to buy that separately.
The way the bundling now works, companies that buy these machines are entitled to have three users for the features in WebSphere Development Studio for i 6.1 and Rational Developer for i for SOA Construction V7.1. Above that, you presumably have to pay for extra users. Also, starting November 25, if you remove any of the components, you have to pay for each at full price. In other words, you have to take all the bits in the new bundle, and if you want the Rational Developer for i, you have to pay for it no matter what.
It is hard to imagine IBM making this more complicated. But, then again, IBM seems to have an infinite imagination for this sort of complexity. So don’t make the mistake of underestimating the folks in Software Group.
You can try to figure this all out for yourself in the IBM announcement letter. And, by the way, forget about pricing. IBM doesn’t provide customers with pricing to customers in announcement letters very much any more.
Here’s my advice, IBM. Charge a low, fair price for the compiler and development tool components. Let people buy what they want. Take the money. Make the customer happy. This isn’t hard. Explaining this to 200,000 customers every couple of months is, and it is expensive, too.