IBM Wheels And Deals For Flex And Power Systems
July 14, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Big Blue started its third financial quarter last week while we were on hiatus, and given that most of us don’t expect any major server announcements until some new Intel Xeon E5 iron comes out around the fall, now would be a good time for IBM to start doing a little wheeling and dealing to get grease the skids a bit on some business. I poked around on IBM’s sites to see what is cooking above and beyond what happens in the announcement letters.
If you are looking to buy one of IBM’s Flex System converged infrastructure systems, a deal called FlexPac, which you can read all about here, offers some reasonably discounts on preconfigured setups. The deal does not have Power-based nodes in it as yet, but my advice for shops that have a mixed Power-X86 shop that want to move to Flex System iron is to ask for exactly the same kind of discounting on the Power server nodes as IBM is clearly willing to give on the Xeon server nodes. The FlexPac deal comes with three different chassis configurations, four different Xeon compute node configurations, and a Flex System manager node configuration. The three different chassis configurations have different 10 Gb/sec Ethernet switching options and have list prices that range from a low of $22,057 to a high of $51,030; discounts range from 37.6 percent to 38.7 percent on the enclosures, which drops the prices down to between $17,617 to $31,297.
On the compute front, the FlexPac deal offers three different configurations of the Flex x240 node and one Flex x222 node. The first x240 node has two Xeon E5-2640 v2 processors that have eight cores each running at 2 GHz; the node has 64 GB of memory and a dual-port 10 Gb/sec Ethernet LAN on motherboard network link. This lists for $6,351 but IBM is cutting the price by 18.4 percent to $5,194 as part of this deal. The second x240 compute node has two 10-core Xeon E5-2680 v2 processor running at 2.8 GHz with 128 GB of memory and the LOM card; it costs for $10,109 and IBM is cutting the price by 27.7 percent to $7,312. The third x240 configuration has a pair of 12-core Xeon E5-2697 v2 chips running at 2.7 GHz with 128 GB of memory and the two-port LOM; it lists for $12,861 and IBM is offering it for 25.4 percent less at $9,601. The fourth setup has a pair of two-socket Xeon E5 servers crammed into one single-wide x222 compute node, and this one is based on the Xeon E5-2470, which has eight cores spinning at 2.3 GHz. This node has the same networking and 128 GB of memory and lists for $16,192. (That’s two nodes for that price, and remember that is only 64 GB per node.) That works out to a 28.7 percent discount. The Flex System Manager node comes with all the software management goodies and lists for $12,781, but IBM is cutting that by 50.7 percent to $6,300 as part of this deal.
If you want to add a Power 260+ node or two to your Flex System setup, then you should be asking for at least 25 percent off. Why the Power nodes are not part of this deal is a bit of a mystery, especially considering that the Power7+ versions are going to eventually be replaced with Power8 nodes, just like the “Ivy Bridge” Xeon E5 v2 chips in the nodes above are going to be replaced with the “Haswell” Xeon E5 v3 chips sometime in the fall.
Here are some other deals to consider. First, if you are thinking of moving to Power Systems, IBM Is offering a limited time only free migration assessment to move from other kinds of systems to Power iron. You can find out more about it here. The details are not available, but if you do one of these migration assessments, let me know about it and we can tell others what the process is and how valuable you found it.
IBM is also offering fast start zero percent financing to customers buying Power Systems machines or System Storage arrays. The financing is available for deals ranging in size from $5,000 to $1 million, provided customers have good credit; it is available in the United States and Canada and gives you the gear on a 12-month, full-payout lease. Power 770, 775, and 780 machines are excluded from this financing deal; all System Storage products can be acquired using this leasing method.