Admin Alert: Saying Goodbye To An Old Power i
February 12, 2014 Joe Hertvik
IBM first introduced Power 7 servers running IBM i on February 8, 2010. So if you leased one of those machines, chances are good that it’s either coming off lease soon or about to come off lease. If you’re ready to say goodbye to an old Power i, here’s seven things to do before you return that old machine to the leasing company.
The Big Seven
There are seven things you need to do before you can return an end-of-lease machine to a leasing company.
Here’s how each step works when you’re returning a leased machine.
Step #1: Replace the machine.
You still have an organization to run so the first order of business before returning a leased machine is to get a replacement and activate it. Before returning your Power i box (a Power systems machine running IBM i), chances are good that you’re doing a box swap, consolidating your box onto another running system (perhaps in the cloud), or replacing the IBM i entirely with another solution. So you need to get the new machine in place and running the workload before you can do any of the other tasks to return the old machine.
Once it’s replaced, you may be tempted to turn off the old machine right away. I don’t usually recommend that. It’s a good idea to keep the machine up for a while (but not attached to the network) because people may need to reference the old box before you finally turn it off. So I usually keep old machines running for at least a week or two, where my staff can access the system console for changes that may not have been applied to the new solution.
Step #2: End the lease.
In most leases, you have to notify the leasing company in advance that you’re going to return the replaced machine. You usually need to notify the lessor at least 30 to 60 days before the end-of-lease date or you may wind up leasing the machine on a month-to-month basis and have to cough up extra payments. So check your lease and make sure you notify the lessor within the lease termination period. You also have to plan carefully on when to install the new machines in order to terminate the lease at the proper time. It’s worthwhile to check your leasing paperwork to know when you’ll need to initiate lease termination activities.
After terminating the lease, the leasing company will send over instructions for return. The machine may go back to the leasing company, or the lessor may have already sold the machine to another organization in advance of you returning the box and you’ll be shipping the machine to its new owner. The leasing company should pick up the cost of shipping the machine.
Step 3: End extended maintenance (if relevant).
If you purchased extended hardware and software maintenance on your machine, determine when you want to end your extended maintenance contract (if you have one). Per IBM standard terms, you’ll be able to terminate that contract after the machine has been removed from productive use within your enterprise. If your maintenance term runs past the time you cancel maintenance, IBM should refund you the unused maintenance amount. After the machine is turned off, contact IBM or your other maintenance provider to cancel the contract. For more information on cancelling IBM Power i maintenance, consult my article on obtaining and cancelling short term Power i maintenance.
Step 4: Inventory the machine.
When you leased the machine, the lease came with an equipment schedule. The equipment schedule listed out all the items you leased that need to be returned at end of lease. So the next step is to inventory all the parts on the equipment schedule against what’s actually in your machine.
There are a lot of reasons to do this. First, you may have added disk drives, cards, enclosures, additional power supplies, or other items to the lease that aren’t on the equipment schedule. You don’t want to return items to the leasing company that they don’t own. Second, you may have taken items out of the machine that you now need to replace or reinstall. An example of this might be old hard drives that you removed from the machine when you put in new drives (check out my blog for the story of the Giving IBM i for another example). Depending on what the item is, the leasing company may penalize you for not returning the proper equipment.
The morale is that it’s worth inventorying soon-to-be returned boxes so you are ensured that the right equipment is going back to the leasing company and nothing else.
Step 5: Wipe or Remove the Disk.
The next step is to ensure that you remove all the proprietary company data on the old box, especially if you’re covered by regulatory requirements such as the Payment Card Industry Security Standards (PCI-DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). So you need to decommission and erase all data from the machine’s disk drives, or destroy the disks before you return the machine.
I documented procedures for erasing or retaining disk drives for compliance in an earlier article. If you’re erasing the disk, you may also want to break up the redundant arrays of inexpensive disk (RAID) sets on your system by taking out the hard drives and reinstalling them in different locations. If you erase the disk according to IBM standards and rearrange the RAID sets, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for anyone to retrieve data off your system. Make sure you document and certify the erasure and any RAID set rearrangements.
If you retain the machine disk drives instead of returning them, you’ll need to arrange for their destruction. There are a number of outside services that provide data destruction services. Disk destruction can be relatively inexpensive. I’ve received quotes from reputable companies for as low as $1/disk. Disk media is generally shredded and then burned. You’ll receive a certificate of destruction for your destroyed disks. You may also receive a picture of each disk drive as it’s being destroyed, with the serial number prominently featured as the disk is fed into the shredder. For retained drives, you will have to settle up with the leasing company to purchase the drives you had destroyed as those drives are the lessor’s property.
Make sure to forward copies of the certificates of destruction or erasure documentation to all interested parties, and file copies with the terminated lease paperwork, in case you are later required to prove that your IBM i information was destroyed or erased.
Step 6: Wrap it up.
After the machine is prepped, contact IBM or your business partner to prepare the machine for shipping. IBM may come in to prep the machine for shipping, which will include securing the cables, inspecting, and securing any delicate items for shipping. In my experience, they will also wrap the machine and attach another certificate to seal the machine before it reaches its destination address. They may be a charge involved in this preparation.
Step 7: Say Goodbye
Follow the instructions provided by the leasing company and arrange for the pickup. The shipping company will pick up the machine and you’ll be finished with returning the machine. Make sure to save the bill of lading or other documentation from the shipping company, in case you have to later prove the machine was picked up. Then say goodbye to your old Power i and get ready to enjoy your new machine.
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Joe Hertvik is an IBM i SME and the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a service company that provides written marketing content and presentation services for the computer industry, including white papers, case studies, and other marketing material. Email Joe for a free quote for any upcoming projects. He also runs a data center for two companies outside Chicago, featuring multiple IBM i ERP systems. Joe is a contributing editor for IT Jungle and has written the Admin Alert column since 2002.