IBM Power Systems Review

The system has reduced our billing cycles from days to hours; virtualization and PowerVM are key

What is most valuable?

We like the virtualization, PowerVM, the live partition mobility, and dynamically adding the processors and the memory. Also AIX. The beauty of AIX is really something to be admired. AIX is a very useful operating system. The volume management is really good.

How has it helped my organization?

I have been using POWER5, POWER6, POWER7, and then we transferred onto POWER8. We really have reduced our billing cycles from days to hours. 

Secondly, it is really good for billing jobs. It is reducing our time. We used to do billing in multiple days, now have reduced it to hours. That's great.

What needs improvement?

The HMC and PowerVM need a more catchy graphical interface. 

Secondly, the command line interfaces should be converted into graphical interfaces. It is such a complex thing in making LPARs when you are using it through a wire server. It should be easy rather than be complicated. I'll give an example of the graphical interface. The V7000 is really great. Anyone can use it, there's no complexity in there. PowerVM and the VIOS interfaces should be like the V7000.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Every two years we have to buy a new server. It is kind of complex, because we have to compare it with Oracle servers. We have to do RFPs. We have to service both the servers, both the technologies, and then everything goes under pricing.

How are customer service and technical support?

We continuously engage with IBM for different service requests. 

It's good. There are a few different kinds of support available in our area, Premium Services and the Remote Services. We usually use the Remote Services. We just open a ticket and give them the logs and they give us a solution.

They are helpful.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No. We are already invested in IBM, so we won't go towards anything else. We have lots of investment in IBM equipment. We are certified with IBM equipment as well as for hardware and software support by IBM.

We have been using IBM the last 15 years or so, and the performance that IBM servers are giving us is really good. Secondly, in our geographical area, it's the support. IBM has got good support. And the workloads we do have in our environment, IBM has got the equipment which can handle those workloads.

How was the initial setup?

Regarding upgrades it's a tricky game. It's a complex thing, because in our environment when something is running smoothly we don't want to stop it or give it downtime. We try to keep it running as long as we can. So in this way we sometime miss the upgrades, we don't upgrade it. But we are now focusing on the upgrades in a timely manner, rather than waiting for years and years. We are working on that.

What other advice do I have?

My rating of nine out of 10 is for the hardware. However, the software still has lots of issues. For example, we need to upgrade the software very frequently, so I'd give it seven out of 10.

In Pakistan, IBM is a market leader, and to maintain that position the main thing is support. If the support guys are good - the people who are managing the accounts for enterprise organizations - are good they are very much in contact with the organization, keeping it informed about the new technologies and the new offerings. These certainly can help in keeping IBM's position right now in the server industry.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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