Abacus Wants You To Run In Its Cloud–And For Your Health
June 17, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
When something works in a small venue, you try to take it to a big venue in the big cities and see if it will play even bigger there. And so it is with a promotion that Abacus Solutions tested out at the COMMON midrange user group and expo back in early April. And now, it is open to all of you members of the IBM i community.
The theme is running on the cloud, and there’s some double, and maybe triple, entendre in there, since athletic footwear maker Brooks Sports, a $425 million company that runs on IBM i and the Lawson M3 ERP suite from Infor and, as it turns out, the Abacus cloud, where its applications are frolicking. (You can read a case study about Brooks Sports here.) The company had 15 different applications running on different servers of varying vintage, and in early 2012, Brooks Sports considered moving to a hosted environment. After looking around, it chose Abacus, which virtualized one of its Power Systems machines with PowerVM and hosted those Infor apps on shiny new iron in its data center.
Having gotten Brooks Sports to the cloud, the work didn’t stop there. Scott Johnson, senior iSeries solutions specialist at Abacus, tells The Four Hundred that the company added high availability and business intelligence software and then doubled its storage capacity.
“When we get customers to the cloud, it is not just one IBM i workload,” says Johnson. “It generates a lot of additional business once companies are freed from managing their own systems.” The average number of addendums to a cloud contract, in fact, has been between three and four. These are generally smaller than the original cloud hosting contract, but extra is still extra.
The company has 50 System i customers in its cloud now, with over 150 instances of IBM i and another 100 instances of Windows or AIX for adjunct applications. This business has been growing at a steady 40 percent on an annual basis for the past year, but Johnson said that thanks to the success of the promotions that it has been running, Abacus is now projecting its cloud biz to grow between 50 and 100 percent this year with the plan pegged in the middle at 75 percent.
At COMMON, customers who came to the Abacus booth and legitimately engaged with Abacus were fitted with a pair of running shoes from Brooks Sports, and now the company is extending this promotion to the outside world. To sweeten the deal, there is a 90-day free trial for capacity on its cloud for customers to take for a spin around the park.
Patrick Schutz, director of managed services and support at the company, said that while the attendance was lower at COMMON than in past years, the quality of the leads was better and it distributed 65 pairs of running shoes to prospective customers, who had much more in-depth consultation sessions with Abacus.
Now you can get a pair of shoes for yourself and maybe start offloading some of your IBM i apps to the cloud. If you are interested, just fill out this form and Abacus will be happy to do a consultation.
By the way, Abacus doesn’t just sell IBM i capacity out there on the cloud. If you want a new system for your own shop, they can do that deal, too. In fact, says Johnson, it just shipped a Power 720 machine into a customer in China, and has shipped three more Power 720s and four Power 740s in recent weeks.
Most customers, says Johnson, are not worried about differentiating between a Power7 and Power7+ machine–at least not yet, provided the price is right. “Of course, they appreciate the extra CPWs of performance, and as a managed service provider, we appreciate the doubling of the main memory in the Power7+ machines,” Johnson is quick to add. So don’t get the wrong idea that hardware doesn’t matter to Abacus or its customers.
So, if you need a new pair of sneakers, all you have to do is have an AS/400, iSeries, System i, or Power Systems machine running IBM i and then talk to Abacus about your environment. You don’t have to do a deal to get the shoes, even.