July 22

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Is the IBM i system worth it?

By NickLitten

July 22, 2022

IBM i

Is the IBM i system worth it?

This morning, I had a common question emailed in by a new subscriber:

I have been interested in IBM I for some time now (And Z/os). I even went so far as to buy a Power7+ 2u system for my home lab… only to find out the high pricing of IBM-i licensing. Do you really feel the price is justified? Especially since there are annual fees connected to the license. And then there are the lack of languages… For IBM I, what type of performance could I expect out of a 1 core machine? (Equiv x86). Because IBM I is so bulky, I imagine it is slower than AIX 1 core systems, right?

So, first, let’s ask how many companies are using IBM i?

Is the IBM I system worth it
According to business analysts Enlyft the percentage of business running their business with IBM-i applications stands around 40%

What is IBM i?

Previous generations were called i5/OS and OS400

Don’t be confused by the IBM’s previous generation of midrange computer systems, The famous old AS/400 of the 1980’s, the 1990’s iSeries and the 2000’s System i. These old machines were the precursors to today’s IBM Power System.

ibm power systems fortune 100 - Is the IBM i system worth it

For the last decade, the IBM i operating system runs on the Power System blade server as a Virtual I/O Server client operating system running in a logical partition under the control of the Integrated Virtualization Manager.

Remember the core machine is the IBM Power system – this can run multiple partitions (like a Virtual Machine) and can run Linux, Aix, IBM i – all three operating systems run on the same hardware.

Why IBM i?

If we are asking is the IBM i system worth it, in terms of cost, we need to think about how much our business is worth!

The integration of IBM i with its database (DB2) means DB I/O is blisteringly fast, using it native or calling via SQL, this is the huge advantage of these IBM machines.

Another huge advantage of IBM i is its built in security layer. IBM famously tout it as military grade security. I agree. It’s so easy to use and totally lock down (much easier and stronger that windows for example)

Roll in the fact that IBM i is totally backward compatible to the old AS400, iSeries and System i machines. All applications designed and built in those boxes will essentially drop onto a modern IBM i Power System and simply work. Not just work, but work faster than ever previously expected, and enjoy the benefits of total web exposure from this internet focussed business server.

Reports indicate that over 100,000 medium/large businesses are powered by IBM-i applications.

There’s a reason for this.

Expensive – Yes

Worth it – Yes

I say the same thing about my German Motor Car 😉


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