New iSeries sparks user interest

IBM’s next generation of iSeries mid-range systems, dubbed i5, should be looked at for its virtualization ability and overall reliability, according to Automotive Components Limited’s (ACL) IT development manager Don Johnston.

As an IT pro who has administered iSeries machines for more than 10 years, Johnston said the company could move its Windows servers onto the new i5 system.

“Windows servers tend to ‘breed’ in the server room because you don’t want a server to fail with a lot of applications on it,” Johnston said. “We could move Windows servers onto the i5 server for [better] management of screens and ease of use. Also, we could use virtualization for development and application testing.”

Johnston said ACL is holding off major hardware upgrades until this announcement and will be looking to upgrade its 820 model AS/400, which runs the company’s ERP application, in the first or second quarter next fiscal year.

“For the past 10 years I’ve not witnessed a major [iSeries] system failure. They are bulletproof and the most stable machine in our rack of servers,” he said. “Intel [systems] are functional but nowhere near as reliable.”

The only problems Johnston has experienced with the iSeries, he said, was with its PC server card support.

“If it’s easy to configure then it’s worth a look,” he said. “We will look at Linux but not Unix,” he said. “I’ve been burnt by AIX due to a lack of resources.”

Regarding the perceived proprietary nature of the iSeries, Johnston said they are “now one of the most open boxes you can get”. “They are not proprietary, that’s a rumour,” he said. “DB2 400 comes standard with it and is second to none. If the iSeries goes off the business goes off.”

Overall, Johnston believes the iSeries value proposition lies with its reliability.

“They just work,” he said. “There are virtually no IT people on smaller JD Edwards sites.”

IBM’s Australia and New Zealand iSeries product manager Sam McCluskey said the next generation machines are going to be really good for SMEs.

“We’re confident [the market] will be receptive and we are anticipating this,” McCluskey said. “The entry level iSeries has 50 percent more performance at less cost.”

The entry-level iSeries i5 520 and 570 systems are expected to be available locally on June 11 at starting prices of $20,000 and $190,000 respectively.

“We’re anticipating cost savings of 40 percent in price performance and will offer customers valid upgrade paths where they are appropriate,” he said. “In Australia there is less than one percent of workloads that require the processing power of the 4-way i5 system.”

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