Hidden Deals Related To Power Systems In The IBM System
December 5, 2016 Timothy Prickett Morgan
IBM is a big organization and when it comes to the IBM i business, it has been focused on selling through the channel, and has had control of the top several thousand key accounts, for so long that making deals formally and vocally is not something it feels it needs to do. But if you poke around inside Big Blue, you can find all kinds of weird things.
It is helpful sometimes to poke around in the RPQ and PRPQ portions of the IBMLink central information system, which has all announcements, marketing and sales materials, and documents relating to Request for Product Quote (RPQ) and Programming Request for Product Quote (PRPQ) offerings that the company makes. We poke around here from time to time, and you can drill down into IBMLink at this very link. It isn’t called IBMLink anymore, and you can’t see that it is a mainframe system behind this database of products and services and wheeling and dealing, but it is the same system we have known since the late 1980s, all jazzed up and modernized. You can read the original System/38, System/36, and AS/400 announcement letters if you are so inclined. (I don’t think it goes back much further than that.)
Just to show my age, I remember when all of this announcement letter and sales manual material was shipped to customers every week on Tuesday, and when customers had massive binders to hold it all. Old stuff would be removed from the binders by IBM product number and new stuff cycled in, and this was of course in the days before the Internet took the place of paper. Early in my career, I was the document management system for the full library of IBM products and services that we maintained, and among my first weeks of work after college and as the founding editor of The Four Hundred I had to organize a mountain of back updates that had been stacking up for a year at my employer. I can assure you this was no easy task. But just by handling all of that material and reading it as I organized it, I got a tremendous education in the entire IBM product line and I started to memorize IBM products. This is not the kind of education anyone can get today. We all use the Internet as our memory, and I think maybe we have lost something in the bargain. Of course, bards who told stories and sang songs to an illiterate populace were probably saying five or six centuries ago that we would lose our tremendous capacity to retain data when we started writing things down. . . . We got to let others read our thoughts, so we got that. But our memories are probably weaker and our patience for poetry and story is relegated to song and dance for entertainment.
But I digress. (It has been a while, you will forgive me.)
At any rate, if you find yourself in a peculiar situation, you can use that link to the IBM Offering Information site (what was wrong with calling it IBMLink?) to poke around and see what you can see. I did that just for fun, and I found a few things relating to Power Systems.
For instance, here is a deal called the Power Systems 4Q Price Action for Capacity Reset Program RPQs that was announced on November 8 in document 316-200EN allows for cores on a slew of Power8 machines with capacity on demand capability (Power Systems E850 and E850C and higher) to have those cores activated free of charge. This is often done in the course of upgrading between generations of machines and within a generational line. As you can see from the table, each of these cores costs thousands of dollars, so this is not peanuts.
In another RPQ offering, which is in document ENUS8A2356, customers buying a new Power Systems E850 or higher systems can get a free 90 day license from IBM to run the old system and the new system side by side without incurring software licensing fees on the new system while applications are being ported, tested, and operated. The new system gets temporary software licenses with an equal number of cores and users as the machine being replaced, which in this case has to be a Power 770 or Power 770+ machine.
Poking around, I found an interesting RPQ from July 2015 at document ENUS9R7500 that allows for mobile core activations on earlier Power5, Power6, and Power7 machines to be moved over to Power E880. This is not recent, we realize, but it gives you a flavor of what is in the system. The interesting bit as far as I am concerned is the ratio of cores on the old machine that are needed to activate a core on the new machine. On Power5 and Power5+ machines, customers have to deactivate five cores for every one they turn on in the Power E880 (and we presume the Power E880C, which came out after this deal was announced). It takes three core deactivations on Power6 and Power6+ machines to activate a core on the Power E880C, and it takes two core deactivations on the Power7 and Power7+ machines to fire up a Power E880 core.
We will be keeping a better eye in this part of the IBM marketing and technology machine. If you see something interesting or weird, pipe up.