Freebie IBM i Software, And Some Hardware Withdrawals
December 7, 2016 Timothy Prickett Morgan
We are coming into the home stretch for the Power Systems and IBM i business here in 2016, and there are still some things going on that we need to tell you that Big Blue is up to with the product line. We have discovered that IBM is giving away certain licensed program products for the IBM i operating system for free, and that it is also mothballing a bunch of peripherals starting next year.
The freebie software deal was unveiled in announcement letter 316-187, which actually came out on October 11 along with the fall IBM i 7.2 and 7.3 announcements. IBM has also chopped the price on its OptiConnect clustering software, which allows for multiple systems to be ganged up and share data, often in conjunction with high availability software or the DB2 Multisystem database clustering software for the DB2 for IBM i database.
Under this deal, IBM is offering free licenses on six different programs. The first is Facsimile Support for IBM i, which known as 5798-FAX in the IBM software catalog. Pricing for Facsimile Support ranges from $1,400 to $4,000, depending the software tier of the system it runs on. Next up on the freebie list is Application Runtime Expert for i, which is an application management feature of the operating system stack that is known as 5733-ARE in the catalog and that normally costs from $250 to $1,250 per machine. Then there is 5770-SM1, which is System Manager, yet another system management tool as the name suggests that usually costs $2,995 per server regardless of size or software tier. CICS Transaction Server for i, the mainframe-style transaction monitor for the IBM i environment that goes by the product number 5770-DFH, is also now tossed in for free; it normally costs $1,150 per server plus $300 per user. Managed Services for i, which is product 5770-MG1 and which costs $950 per server, is now free, and so is the OptiConnect clustering software, which is product number 5770-SS1 with a slew of subfeature codes and that ranges from $420 to $12,600 depending on Power Systems software tier.
The reason for the price cut is that these features are now being bundled into the base software licenses for IBM i 7.2 and 7.3.
The hardware withdrawals were also announced as part of the fall announcements, although we do not recall seeing these pop up at the time. (The IBMLink system has a bad habit of backdating stuff, or not putting it all out at the same time on the same day so you see the full spectrum of announcements at the same time. We try to look and look again and again, but you can’t catch everything.)
Effective on October 11, you will see in announcement letter 916-174 that IBM stopped selling several storage devices on October 11. These include the 160 GB SATA-2 drive that comes in the 2.5-inch form factor, which is feature #EKS2. Also done for are the three 1.8-inch, 387 GB SSDs for Power Systems, which are feature #EL46 for Linux-only machines, feature #ES16 for AIX/Linux machines, and feature #ES17 for IBM i machines. On January 11 next year, IBM will stop selling the OPAL Bare Metal or KVM hypervisor for the Linux only machines, feature #EC20, which is odd but which has no bearing on IBM i shops. On January 20, Inauguration Day for President-Elect Trump, some older 856 GB and 900 GB disk drives in the SFF-1 format plus a bunch of old PCI-Express 2.0 Ethernet and InfiniBand communication adapters go the way of all flesh, and on March 31 so do the old cryptographic adapters that we told you were replaced last week. On October 27 next year, the 1.8-inch SSDs for read intensive work on AIX/Linux systems that have 177 GB capacity, features #ES0Y and ES0Z, are going bye-bye.
There will no doubt be more withdrawals of Power7 and Power7+ gear early in 2017, and by the middle of next year we expect for IBM to start mothballing older Power8 gear, too, as Power9 machinery starts coming available.