Some Carrots To Get i5/OS V5 Shops To Move Forward
April 16, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
IT vendors generally use a carrot-and-stick approach to coax customers to move ahead with hardware and software technologies. They don’t do this because they like giving negative reinforcement–not any more than our parents did or we do as parents–but because this is how human beings are resistant to change and need some encouragement to act. IBM has been carrotting and sticking the i5/OS V5R4 customer base for years now, and it is dangling some more carrots.
The latest stick, of course, was two months ago when IBM announced that support on i5/OS V5R4, sometimes called IBM i 5.4 by Big Blue, would have its support sunsetted on September 30, 2013. This was not much of a stick, mind you, more of a threat of one sometime out in the future, and quite honestly, that is a long time to let customers plan to move ahead to either IBM i 6.1 or 7.1. Most customers on V5R4 are jumping straight to IBM i 7.1, and because this version of the operating system has Technology Refresh updates and IBM i 6.1 does not, it is pretty silly to even think about moving to IBM i 6.1 unless you have applications that are not certified to run on IBM i 7.1.
It looks like 18 months might have been too long of a window to give customers to do their planning, because last week in announcement letter 312-050 Big Blue announced the IBM i New Power7 Rebate offering, a discount deal for customers on V5 releases who make the jump to a new Power7-based machine running either IBM i 6.1 or 7.1. IBM does not specify V5R4, and that means if you have older V5R1, V5R2, or V5R3 machines (which have long since lost support) running in your shop, you can also get the rebate.
To participate in the deal, you have to have been running a V5 version of OS/400 or i5/OS on a Power 520 or Power 550 server with Power6+ or earlier processors or any 9402, 9404, or 9406 systems using earlier PowerPC or Power processors. The machine had to be installed and in use on April 9, so you can’t just dust something off in the closet and fire it up.
If you have such a machine and move to a Power 720 or Power 740 using Power7 processors and sporting the expanded memory and PCI-Express 2.0 peripherals that IBM announced last October–what I have been calling Gen 2 machines so I don’t get them mixed up with the original entry Power7 boxes from the summer of 2010, which I call Gen 1 boxes–then IBM will give you a rebate. On the Power 720 configurations, the rebate ranges from $1,500 to $7,000, which works out to somewhere between 3.2 percent and 10 percent of the cost of buying the processor card in the machine, activating all the cores, loading them up with IBM i, and paying for a year of Software Maintenance. On the Power 740 configurations eligible under the V5-to-IBM i rebate deal, you’re talking about between $5,000 and $12,000, and when you do the math on processor cards loaded up and running IBM i, allocated with Software Maintenance for a year, that works out to somewhere between a 1.6 percent and 2.6 percent discount. Of course, you don’t have to activate all of the cores on the cards, so the practical discount is much higher if you go with skinnier configs. But it probably makes sense to apply the rebate against future processor core activations and IBM i licenses since you surely will not get any such deal in the future.
However you want to think about it, it is less money to acquire a modern IBM i machine, and that is always a good thing. There’s no end date on the deal, so if you are thinking of moving, it is better to do so before IBM pulls the plug.