Interactive Tax on the iSeries

Is the Interactive Tax IBM is charging turning people away from the iSeries? Some loyal iSeries customers feel the interactive tax just gives everyone more reasons to look elsewhere. What are your thoughts? -- Debra Tart, associate editor,

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it is certainly a sore spot with the tech support group at my shop… but not a reason to move away from iSeries… It is a good excuse to purchase higher Int CPU processors (or the Enterprise editions) as it is quite difficult to estimate the growth potential for some of our distributed sites… and it is a major cost and inconvenience (and source of embarassment) if we have to upgrade an interactive feature one or two years after we just installed new hardware. We try to get our systems to last at least three years and hope that some of them can last for five.


About the only thing wrong with it is that IBM should have marketed it in the opposite way. Sell base systems with full interactive; and allow specifying feature codes that reduce interactive capability along with price discounts. Then no one could complain about “tax” when it would obviously be a discount. Same technical result but different perspective.

Interactive support has a cost. If full support is to be continued while simultaneously adding new capabilities in other areas, then the cost has to go elsewhere. Since few will want to pay for those new capabilities, the System i will simply stop evolving. It will truly become ‘legacy’.


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  • TRowell
    We are in the application software business and our software was written specifically for the AS400/iSeries. Most of our applications are still green screen interactive, which our customers prefer by the way. They find green screens much faster for most of their work because most of it is heads down data entry and pointing and clicking only slows them down. When we have to bid a $30K-$100k iSeries against competitors on other platforms that range from $5K-$20K for the processor, it makes it very hard for us to explain why our hardware costs so much more, especially if the IT department is populated with young kids just out of college who only know PCs and have never heard of an iSeries. Sometimes we win, but often we lose.
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  • WoodEngineer
    If long running jobs are submitted to the batch subsystem, the interactive subsystem will perform much better. Even short reports submitted to batch will help QINTER. Yes, this can be a bit annoying but there are solutions that work pretty well.
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