IBM has announced an expansion of its Power Rewards program, which hands out “points” to customers who migrate from other server vendor platforms.
The expansion, which includes migrations to IBM System i, now allows customers to migrate from x86 server platforms. Previously you could only do it from comparable server-processor platforms such as Sun Microsystems’ Sparc and Intel’s Itanium. The reward is slightly less, however: 500 “points” per x86 core compared to up to 4,000 per core when moving off Sparc or Itanium. That makes sense, obviously, because Sparc and Itanium are more powerful chips than their x86 counterparts, or presumably so.
This might be a good opportunity for IBM System i shops to migrate whatever x86 workloads they can onto the System i.
How does the point system work? Essentially the points are equal to one dollar each, and can be used to buy software licenses, IBM services, or other products from IBM. When I asked Scott Handy, a marketing vice president in the IBM Power group, why they didn’t just give cash back, he gave a dodgy answer about how customers might want to use points for a wide range of things. I would imaging that IBM just wants customers to spend points through its own rewards system rather than spending cash elsewhere.
Handy said they saw 570 migrations to Power from other platforms last year. He expects more this year, saying that IBM has “customers coming to us worried about the roadmap at Sun, HP and Intel.”
There have been some processor delays, with Intel’s quad-core Itanium, codenamed Tukwila, having been delayed, as well as Sun’s newest UltraSparc chip, a potentially 16-core processor codenamed Rock, having seen delays also. Both are expected out this year, so IBM is making its aggressive move now.
Migrations from other vendors’ x86 to IBM Power aren’t brand new, according to Handy. He said that over the 570 migrations to Power last year, about 30 came from x86.