The iSeries Blog

Jun 12 2008   7:51AM GMT

System i blades not selling yet, it seems

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

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.”

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  • Norman Wilder
    We are a small shop and are very interested in the blade but information is hard to come by. Our IBM Business Partner has no knowledge of (or interest in) blade servers so they are not going to push the blade servers until customer's demand forces them to. The vendor also has not certified the software to run on the new OS so we can't do anything until that happens. Even getting information from IBM is difficult. IBM Blade server people have little knowledge of the AS/400 side and vice versa. This will increase the acceptance time for the product. We have been researching costs and capability of the blade server and are by no means finished because of the difficulty og getting information. At present, based on the information we have, it appears that the intiial cost of the chassis and a DS3000 SAN will approximate the cost of replacing the AS/400 with a standalone box. Cost saving should appear in the future as new capacity is added as modules rather than having to replace the entire system One thing that we dislike it that the JS12 blade will only fit the the S chassis and the JS22 blade will only fit the H chassis. We need the H chassis for capacity for windows servers and to have some space for growth but the we only need to activate one of the four processors on the blade. We are concerned with how long IBM can keep the AS/400 line going. It really doesn't have a niche anymore since smal IBM mainframes are priced competively with the large AS/400s and do not have the capacity brick wall. Intel boxes can easily replace the small AS/400s and a much cheaper price. There is no new software development of the AS/400 and existing software is being replaced on different platforms. Where does this leave the AS/400 in the long run?
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