IBM Boosts Power Rewards Points for Sun Takeouts
May 4, 2009 Timothy Prickett Morgan
So Big Blue wasted little time jacking up the dollar value of its Power Rewards program for trying to dislodge Sun iron from IT shops, pushing the value up to $8,000 per UltraSparc or Sparc64 core in servers that are taken out of the shop and replaced with Power Systems machinery. IBM doesn’t give customers money, but rather points that are good for acquiring selected services and software from IBM that are related to doing the migration. By doing the deal this way, IBM doesn’t have to discount Power Systems iron so deep when it does a deal, and the cost of sales associated with the deal is shifted to Global Services or Software Group. You can see the full list of goods available under the Power Rewards program here.
The tweaked Power Rewards offer on Sun iron came on the same day as IBM announced new Power6+ based entry and midrange servers as well as new blades based on that chip, and a little more than a week after Oracle said it would buy Sun for $5.6 billion.
The Power Rewards program was launched last April and at the time IBM was chasing vintage Unix iron from Hewlett-Packard as Intel‘s Itanium processors were late and significantly underpowered compared to the Power6 processors that were put across the converged Power Systems lineup. HP boxes using PA-RISC processors were rated at $4,000 per core, but Sparc, Itanium, MIPS, and Alpha processors used in various midrange and high-end machines were only rated at $1,000 per core. Last November, when Sun’s finances went up on the rocks, IBM raised the points to $4,000 per core for the UltraSparc and Sparc64 processors, and in February IBM finally gave SMB-class i shops some love and let them get $500 per X86 or X64 core they consolidated onto X64-based blade servers as part of a move to Power-based blades for i 6.1 workloads.
While the Power Rewards program does not restrict i 6.1 from being the target platform, it is far more likely that AIX or Linux will be the target platform for shops wanting to get rid of HP, Sun, or Fujitsu Unix iron. All the same, it is nice to be included in the deal rather than being excluded from it. If IBM wanted to be truly aggressive, it would offer Power Rewards to any OS/400 shops on Power5, Power4, or earlier iron and help them pay for legacy application modernization projects–and do so in conjunction with its major software development tool partners, not work against them. Migration is not just about the hardware and operating system. That’s the easy part. The application software is always the sticky part.