IBM Tosses In Freebie RHEL Linux with Power Express Servers
November 29, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
IBM has been hoping for years that Linux would drive new workloads on Power-based systems where OS/400-i platforms are the back-end systems just like Linux-based partitions have, to a certain extent, been the salvation of the System z mainframe. It is hard to say for sure how much traction Linux has gotten at OS/400 and i shops–or even AIX shops for that matter–but what I can tell you is that Big Blue wants you to give Linux a shot so badly it is willing to fork out the cash to get you to try the first license.
In announcement letter 310-291, IBM is offering a special promotion on Red Hat‘s Enterprise Linux. Under the deal, if you buy a Power Systems Express configuration (presumably that means both Power 5XX and Power 7XX rack and tower servers as well as PS7XX blade servers, but the announcement does not say), plus either the PowerVM Standard or the Enterprise Edition hypervisor (neither of which are free), then IBM will toss in a support subscription license to the Power version of RHEL.
IBM says that the RHEL support contract is worth $795 in the announcement letter, but I have no idea where IBM came up with that number. Red Hat announced RHEL 6 two weeks ago, and as far as I know, a support contract for RHEL 6 costs $2,700 per year for a two-socket pair on any Power-based system. That is for a standard 9×5 business support contract; if you want 24×7 hand-holding for your RHEL 6, then you have to shell out $4,300 per socket pair per year. But if IBM says it will cover the cost of a license and it is worth more money than it thinks it is, just take the support and run.
And in another no-good-deed-goes-unpunished move, IBM had to revamp another Linux-related deal on Power Systems because customers are more clever than IBM thinks sometimes. Back in August, IBM offered a deal on older Power 570 and 595 machines and on newer Power 770 and 780 machines whereby if you bought a RHEL 4 or 5 license or a Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 or 11 license for support, IBM would toss in activation fees for up to eight processor cores and up to 32 GB of main memory. Because these CPU and memory activation features can be quite expensive, as you know from reading The Four Hundred, this was a very generous offer. And it looks like some customers bought RHEL and SLES support contracts just to get cheap iron. Because in announcement letter 310-277, IBM added this qualification: “no other IBM Operating System may be ordered for the no-charge processor activations at any time in the 12-month period following the date of activation.”
You know the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.