IBM Kills Off Flex p260+ Node, Offers PureSystems Trade-In
March 7, 2016 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you are one of the relatively few customers who bought Flex Systems modular servers from IBM based on its Power7 and Power7+ processors, you had better get the lead out if you need to add some iron to your systems.
In announcement letter 916-028, IBM said that it was going to be withdrawing the Flex System p260+ server nodes, which are based on Power7+ processors, from its catalog starting on November 18. A slew of networking features, including switches and adapters, are having the plug pulled on them on March 8, and so are memory and storage features for both the Flex System iron and their predecessors, the BladeCenter blade servers. So read this announcement carefully if you have old BladeCenter iron and you might need to add some features to the machines. A bunch of flash and disk storage features that will get the axe on May 13 for these machines, and some more get cut in July. In November, not only is the Flex System iron using the Power chips getting cut, but so will be the IBM i operating system and related systems software licenses.
As for replacement products, IBM is blunt and simply says that there are none. But in a sense, the PurePower clustered systems are a replacement for the Flex Systems based on Power chips, and we told you all about them here and also revealed IBM’s plan to migrate customers from Flex Systems to PurePower systems as well.
Incidentally, if you want to order Flex p260 and p260+ nodes, you now have to go through a special RPQ process now, as IBM explains in announcement letter 116-023. IBM is apparently making these on a custom basis at this point, and we suspect that it will simply try to steer customers to other Power8 servers at this point, particularly the Power8 machines it resells from Tyan and Wistron. These do not support IBM i, by the way, because IBM i requires the PowerVM hypervisor from IBM and has not been ported to the OpenKVM implementation of the popular KVM hypervisor for X86 iron that IBM and its OpenPower partners have moved over to the Power8 chip. (As I have said before, IBM needs to fix this.)
To cushion the blow of moving from the Flex System iron in its PureSystems configurations (which included various systems software in addition to the iron) to the PurePower clusters (which are aimed as much at managed service providers as to end user customers), IBM is offering a trade-in deal. This deal is outlined in announcement letter ZAAM6157A.
Like a lot of IBM trade-in offers, this one is based on what customers replace and what they buy. IBM is giving $5,000 for trade-ins on two-socket nodes in the PureSystems family (including Flex p260, Flex p260+, and Flex p270 nodes) and $7,000 a pop for the four-socket Flex p460 nodes. Customers get a $2,000 credit for the Flex Systems Manager node and $3,000 for the Flex Systems chassis. The maximum trade-in allowance scales from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on which nodes customers buy based on Power8 processors for the PurePower setup, and the trade-in payment for the PurePower rack is $20,000. The pricing on the trade-ins is based on fair market value plus an incentive on top of that, according to IBM. (We don’t think there is a market for these machines, strictly speaking, so that is an interesting concept.)
To take part in this trade-in, the old Flex Systems/PureSystems iron had to be installed and operational as of January 31 this year. There is no end date for the installation of the new PurePower iron, but we suspect IBM wants to have this apply to Power8 and Power8+ iron, and get the base of PureSystems machines, such as it is, converted in 2016.