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IBM continues iSeries modernization pursuits

This summer's iSeries product announcements focus on increased performance on the low end to handle modernized applications from ISVs, and pay-per-processor licensing for AIX and Linux users.

IBM unveiled today new editions of its iSeries 520 and announced new flexible pricing plans that will be available this month.

The success of Big Blue's independent software vendor (ISV) rallying extravaganza -- the iSeries Initiative for Innovation -- paid off with several modernized applications for the iSeries.

But to run these new apps, shops running 520 machines were often forced to put an Intel server in front of their iSeries, according to iSeries product manager Ian Jarman.

To cut out the extraneous server, Big Blue unveiled new low-end boxes with boosted performance to handle a mixed environment of modernized applications.

Changes for the iSeries 520 include new configurations for the Express and Value Editions that would allow customers to run the entire workload on a 520 -- keeping the operations on a single machine.

Jarman said the price difference for the new performance is comparable to adding an Intel server.

IBM is also launching 520 Solution Editions -- an expansion of its earlier offering on the 550. The Solution Editions are co-marketed between IBM and the ISVs and are specifically tuned to perform applications. Customers that spend $25,000 with the ISVs are eligible to purchase the Solution Editions at $39,500.

Partners for the 520 Solution Editions include Henry & Associates, Lawson, Oracle Corp. and others.

Flexible pricing

The other major announcement involves more flexible pricing for AIX and Linux users.

The growing number of customers using operating systems other than i5/OS prompted IBM to begin licensing software maintenance per processor, rather than per server.

For example, a 570 eight-way server with six AIX processors and two i5/OS would be charged for eight licenses of i5/OS under the old plan. But under the new plan, shops would only pay for two.

For more information:

IBM takes first step down new ISV partnership path

IBM's million-dollar baby

There is a minimum of one license of i5/OS per box.

"It used to be that you paid for OS/400 across the system -- today people are saying I want to pay for each licensing fee per processor. So we've made strides toward that and we're defining software maintenance by processor," Jarman said.

There will be a transition period where shops can buy in the old or the new way. So if there was an advantage in buying maintenance per server, customers can do that for the next three months.

According to Tony Lock, chief analyst with U.K.-based Bloor Research, the pay-per-processor model should help organizations that are looking for greater financial flexibility.

"These developments are certainly good news for existing iSeries users and hold the potential to attract new workloads to the platform," Lock said.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, News Editor

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