Posted by: Mark Fontecchio
System i hardware
That is the question many System i users out there are asking. As you can see from some comments last year, some were looking forward to i5 blades, and some were not.
A familiar misgiving is that many of the smaller System i shops aren’t that worried about the space constraints that a smaller form factor like blades can help solve. They’re usually running one box in production and maybe a second for DR, and that’s it. Buying the expensive BladeCenter chassis might not make sense for them.
Those that might take to it are the more heterogenous shops that are running System i along with a lot of x86 servers in their data center. Being able to combine all that processing power into one blade chassis could save them space and possibly help the System i server(s) communicate with the x86 ones, especially if they’re System x.
When the i5/OS blade becomes available next month, look for IBM to recommend configurations to business partners that involve an overall blade server strategy that includes System i and rids users of older System i standalone hardware.
But there is another issue: Is the JS22 blade that i5/OS will run on too big for some customers? The answer may be yes, and software costs might end up being a deterrent. The JS22 is a two-socket blade that has four Power6 processing cores. That’s more horsepower than some System i applications may need, and thus some users might get stuck paying for a software licensing tier that’s over and above what they want.
In addition to that, the i5/OS blade is about 20% more expensive than either the equivalent AIX or Linux blade ($7,436 compared to $6,129) .