Businesses value the Power i running IBM i for its exceptional stability. From the hardware itself, to database-level architecture, the Power i offers a legendarily reliable platform. That’s precisely why so many organizations utilize it to run business-critical applications.
We have even heard an urban legend about a company that mistakenly plaster-walled off their Power i server during a construction project; they didn’t realize the mistake because the system continued performing flawlessly without much attention for years. But if this legend is true, they were very fortunate!
Businesses need to recognize that a reliable system like Power i running IBM i still needs the right support strategy. Like any technology, Power i still needs occasional maintenance and attentive monitoring. This maintenance work helps prevent critical failures that can be incredibly costly. A smart Power i maintenance strategy executed by a knowledgeable managed services provider will offer a substantial ROI compared to the cost of even a brief failure that impacts business continuity.
Why It Is Still Important to Maintain Your Power i Platform
The Power i platform is so stable that it can engender organizational complacency. Many companies run their system for years without so much as a reboot. When a system has been doing the job for years with minimal intervention, it can be easy to forget that it still requires occasional maintenance work. In our experience, some businesses stop monitoring their Power i environment altogether.
Despite the platform's well known reliability, forgoing a maintenance strategy altogether is still incredibly risky. Like any technology, Power i servers can fail. Do they fail often? No. But can things go wrong? Absolutely. These systems are almost always used to support business-critical applications, and the cost of failure for these applications can be enormous.
We recently had a client whose operations had been humming along, enjoying stable business-as-usual from their IBM i-based applications. Unbeknownst to them, a disk drive in their Power i server had failed and error messages weren’t being monitored. In this case, failure safeguards built into the OS prevented the system from going down. With one drive out of commission, however, the system’s margin for error was effectively reduced to zero, with no backup drives available. An additional disk drive began having issues. A second failure would have brought the system down, a hugely costly failure that would have brought the business to a grinding halt.
According to Gartner, an average figure for the cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute (over $300,000 per hour). Of course, this figure can vary substantially depending on the type of business; actual costs range from $140,000-$540,000 per hour. If a server failure results in a production line that is forced to shutdown or a warehouse that can’t ship product, even relatively brief downtime can do serious damage to the bottom line and the company’s reputation.
When failures cost this much, a smart monitoring and maintenance strategy for Power i systems is almost always a valuable investment. The spend necessary to maintain performance and prevent critical failures is directly related to protecting continuity for these core operations.
A Cost Effective Strategy for Maintaining Power i Infrastructure
Fortunately, high quality support doesn’t require a full-time, dedicated team of expert IT support staff. Maintaining your Power i system simply requires some focused effort from a team with the right knowledge, processes, and tools.
Daily attention is the best way to ensure these business-critical systems avoid costly failures. This means, for example, ensuring backups are functioning properly and resolving any error messages generated by the system. Because of Power i’s inherent stability, it is particularly well suited to a cost-effective support strategy that remotely monitors and resolves any system issues.
A quality managed services provider should have all the resources in place to monitor and maintain Power i running IBM i systems for a very reasonable cost. This cost is a high-ROI investment compared to the cost of even a single day of unplanned system downtime. Based on the figures discussed above, the cost of a single critical failure could often pay for an entire decade of enterprise-caliber IBM i managed services from a team with deep knowledge of the platform.
We recently wrote about a smart approach to remote monitoring that we use to support our managed services clients. This smart automation is a great example of 24x7x365 monitoring that can dramatically decrease the risk of failures for business-critical systems—without the excess cost of keeping dedicated eyes-on-glass at all times.