IBM Power Systems Review

The flexibility to run multiple operating systems on the same hardware and the speed are key for us

What is most valuable?

I like the processor speed. I don't think that there's a match for it out there. I like the use of the Hypervisor and the VIO functions that you can utilize. I just don't think that there's anything out that matches it, and it's easy to implement.

How has it helped my organization?

The flexibility of it, being able to run multiple OS's on it. I can run Linux on it, I can run i on it, I can run AIX on it, and it's all on the same physical hardware. Being able to do that, it just gives us a lot of flexibility in that area.

What needs improvement?

I know that they are doing a lot with Linux, so maybe a more direct way of converting to Linux on some applications; some way to actually sell it a little bit better. Because you still get into the expense of going to the Power hardware, but if you're already on the Power hardware, I don't see the issue. A lot of people just don't seem to want to progress onto Linux, but they want to keep Linux on the Wintel or Intel devices. And to me, you just don't get the chips and the ability of the chips that you get on AIX, and on the Power hardware.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Power since I've been with the company. I've been there 16 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

AIX is very stable. Our whole Power system has been very stable. We very rarely have outages. Most of the outages have not been attributed to the hardware, it's more attributed to network or SAN. 

Now we have had some hardware outages, but those are based on doing maintenance such as firmware upgrades, and the like. Those have caused issues, but you know when those are happening because you've already had them scheduled. So you know to be prepared for it, what work will be done.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had any issues with our scalability.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. When you find the right people, they are very knowledgeable. But you have to know to get the right one, you have to explain your issue properly, that way you can get to the right person.

How was the initial setup?

I feel upgrades are straightforward, especially the AIX upgrades. Because, unlike with Windows, you have all the small fix packs, most of the time you're either doing a major TL or a service pack. I feel that that is much easier than having to go through doing all of the small pieces.

What was our ROI?

In terms of the upgrades of AIX and the Power from the 7 to the 8, I did see a return of the investment because we have a small Oracle data base running on some of our apps. To be able to take it from the POWER7 where you're using .1 CPU - this is just in development - that you could take it down to .05 CPU and double the number of LPARs that you have, that is a very good feature.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We do have a lot of Wintel as well, so it's more of a mix and match. Yes, other things have been considered. We went with IBM because we have been with IBM hosting, and one of our main apps is running on AIX. We would have to do a lot to convert it. So it seems to be running fine where it is.

What other advice do I have?

We're running on POWER7s and POWER8. We started with POWER4, and moved up. In fact, we started with 7028s and 7013s at one time. We've been in the business a good while. We're using it for AIX and now we're using it for i as well.

I think the Power system uniquely positions our company with the speed it has, and the processing power. I think it keeps our app running at a maximum output, and that keeps the company running better.

I do consider IBM to be a market leader. I would say for them to maintain it, to me, I don't like the thing of following the trend of everybody, everybody's trying to go in this direction, that direction. I feel like sometimes you can just improve on your product, and that will increase your market share, versus following the trend of everyone else.

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