Reader Feedback On A Hypothetical Future IBM i System
September 14, 2015 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Over the past several issues of The Four Hundred, I have been talking about the gap between the impressive performance that IBM delivers with each successive generation of Power processors and the amount of capacity that the vast majority of customers need. Or, more precisely, the capacity that they don’t seem to need to run their core IBM i workloads, much to the chagrin of Big Blue, its reseller and ISV partners, and the rest of the IBM i ecosystem that is trying to make a living.
In addition to outlining that performance gap, with the help of Doug Fulmer, systems architect at KS2 Technologies, I also played a bit of a thought experiment about what a potential future server aimed at actual entry and midrange IBM i customers–the ones who make up the bulk of the installed base–might look like. One reader took issue with me ignoring the midrange and high end of the product line, which I acknowledge has some big and important customers, and said as much in response.
Reading all of this, Fulmer came back with some suggestions of his own:
Interesting article on the future of the platform. And the comment made by Jim, from the insurance company, is a good one. You can’t neglect the large accounts, which although they represent about 5 percent of the installed base, they represent about 80 percent of the revenue. Of course, if you neglect the masses, you end up looking like the z/OS installed base. However, my rule Number One has always been that it is easier to whine than to suggest specific remedies. I’d love to know what you see from your vantage point with a God’s eye view. . . . But here are my suggestions:
1) Eliminate Software Maintenance (SWMA) After License Fees and Hardware Maintenance (HWMA) re-instatement fees. They are significant impediments to bringing laggards along.
2) Eliminate the group restrictions on transferring IBM i licenses. If someone wants to transfer a license from a P50 to a P10, let them do it. Make it easier for customers to move among the hardware tiers as needs change. If you want to charge a “net difference” to move up, OK.
3) Price IBM i at $2,500 for P05, $9,900 for P10, $14,500 for P20, and $24,500 for P30 and above. Don’t discourage people from buying up on their hardware by charging exorbitant software license fees.
4) Add a second processor card and this loop to the Power S814. Let Power S824 compete on processors and memory, not storage.
5) For those few that are left on older Enterprise Edition machines, let them trade up into unlimited users on a P10 machine for a flat $5,000. Don’t make them re-buy their users.
6) Reduce the price of an HMC and #7316 KVM from $9,500 to about $3,500. It’s an Intel server for goodness sake, and you don’t use it for anything except to control the system.
7) Start teaching an IBM i boot camp class. (IBM Lab Services can do it.) Make it one week long, covering basic operations, administration and control, networking, and applying PTFs to IBM i. Record the classes and put them on YouTube.
As usual, Fulmer has some good advice, doesn’t he?
Keep it coming, people.