There have been plenty of arguments for and against putting System i on a blade server. Proponents say that being able to have their i, p and x86 servers all in one BladeCenter chassis is a big selling point. Detractors worry that I/O performance won’t be the same on a blade, or that System i shops in general don’t really need the small-form factor of the blade.
But as Chris Maxcer points out in his talk with IBM business partner Sirius, interest in the i blade has been high so far, but sales are low. Why? Well, when you get to the end of the post, it seems that maybe it’s just because System i blades are still in their infancy. IBM announced the first i blade at the beginning of April, so we’re only a couple months in.
Because it’s early on, configurations are limited. Users can get IBM i (formerly i5/OS) on the JS12 blade, which has a single dual-core Power chip, or the JS22 blade, which has two dual-core Power chips. Even there, though, there is some confusion on IBM’s own website regarding the JS22. While one Power blade overview site mentions support for IBM i on the JS22, the more detailed server specs page says nothing about IBM i support. In the end it doesn’t matter that much — if JS22 supports IBM i, then it supports it. But there could be some confusion in the meantime from users (or nosy reporters) browsing the site.
Maxcer also quotes Sirius as saying that there essentially needs to be a trifecta for a user to want to buy i blades. One, they have to be an i user. Second, they should probably already be running blades and have a BladeCenter chassis on the ready (with empty slots, of course). And finally, Sirius said the user would also have to have DS4000 or DS8000 external storage server.
One final note on the post: At the end, we find out that Sirius is actually bullish on i blades, with the director of System i and x products at the company saying that “(i)n the future, five-to-ten years, it’s going to be widely adopted.”