IBM i and iSeries servers: The surprising total cost of ownership

Dave Kravitt, CPIM

We’re all familiar with that old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but in the world of IT infrastructure, virtually anything not seen as next-gen is often viewed with deep suspicion. That certainly holds true for enterprise hardware and operating system software that form the backbone of business applications. 

So when IBM research and analysis firm ITG recently updated its Total Cost of Ownership Report, chances are good that a lot of eyebrows were raised. It turns out that IBM i and the servers it runs on not only are still a solid, cost-efficient SMB IT infrastructure solution, they blow the competition out of the water when it comes to TCO. We’re not exaggerating – i Series hardware and software cost an average of almost 56 percent less to own than comparable competitive systems. 

What makes this so compelling is the across-the-board savings SMBs are realizing using this tried-and-true midrange systems workhorse. ITG’s evaluation pitted IBM Power S814 and S824 servers against two different Intel E5 and E7 processor-powered X86 servers. One ran Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014 while the other was a Linux server combination running Oracle Database 12c. 

ITG considered a comprehensive set of criteria for determining TCO when evaluating the i Series, including:

  • Hardware purchase and maintenance
  • Licenses and operating systems support
  • Databases and other systems software
  • Systems management and database administration costs
  • Energy costs 

Here’s how the Power servers stacked up against the competition for total cost of ownership: 

Acquisition costs

  • 35% LESS than the Windows-based server
  • 46% LESS than the Linux/Oracle server combo 

Ongoing costs

  • 49% LESS than the Windows-based server
  • 53% LESS than the Linux/Oracle server combo

What makes these numbers even more compelling is the fact that the average SMB has to deploy three to five competitive servers to match a single Power system and that IBM i powered systems experience up to 79% LESS downtime than the other systems – vital for any organization with mission-critical data management needs, such as companies with a mobile workforce or ebusiness environment. 

As if that isn’t enough, the most substantial cost savings realized with IBM i powered systems is in systems management. IBM i simply needs much less administrative support which can result in significant employee overhead savings. 

So if you’re under pressure to replace your “old” i Series infrastructure, show the ITG report results to iSeries naysayers and rest easy knowing that the industry’s most reliable and cost-efficient SMB IT infrastructure still is. 

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