We just raised a $30M Series A: Read our story

IBM Power Systems OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM Power Systems is the #4 ranked solution in our list of top Rack Servers. It is most often compared to Dell EMC PowerEdge Rack Servers: IBM Power Systems vs Dell EMC PowerEdge Rack Servers

What is IBM Power Systems?
IBM Power Systems are built to crush the most advanced data applications - from the mission-critical workloads you run today to the next generation of AI.

IBM Power Systems is also known as IBM OpenPOWER LC.

IBM Power Systems Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM Power Systems Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

IBM Power Systems Customers

Cipher

IBM Power Systems Video

Archived IBM Power Systems Reviews (more than two years old)

Filter by:
Filter Reviews
Industry
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Company Size
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Job Level
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Rating
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Considered
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Order by:
Loading...
  • Date
  • Highest Rating
  • Lowest Rating
  • Review Length
Search:
Showingreviews based on the current filters. Reset all filters
it_user626946
Sr. Systems Administrator at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Vendor
Flexible and powerful operating system gives us added security features

Pros and Cons

  • "On the security side, we get regular security patch updates and system hardening. There are free tools available to harden the system."
  • "One of the features that we would like, and I think they are also adapting to the latest trends in the market, is to make it more open, more flexible... With VMware, anybody can create a virtual machine without any knowledge of the server side. But with AIX it's a bit difficult."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for database servers, and performance-wise it is one of the best available servers in the market.

What is most valuable?

For me, the AIX operating system is one of the best things because I'm a Unix guy and I like the flexibility of the operating system. It's very powerful.

One of the key features is that the performance is among the best. But also on the security side, we get regular security patch updates and system hardening. There are free tools available to harden the system. It's very unique.

What needs improvement?

One of the features that we would like, and I think they are also adapting to the latest trends in the market, is to make it more open, more flexible. Traditionally the Unix operating system was not very flexible. For example, if you are creating a virtual machine, it is not done the same way you would create it with VMware. With VMware, anybody can create a virtual machine without any knowledge of the server side. But with AIX it's a bit difficult. I think they are already in the process of improving it, making it more flexible and easier to use.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. We haven't faced an issue with the servers until now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable because the POWER8 server, the CPU allows up to eight or 10 cores. And you can add two more, so that is very good. Even the entry-level server will give you the option to have so many running on the same physical server.

How is customer service and technical support?

We use the technical support from a local partner of IBM. They are very good. They know the technology very well and they have been highly professional during implementation and with support.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is really straightforward, it's not that complex.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend, going for this solution, because it is one of the best solutions available in the Unix market now.

I would rate it eight out of 10. The reason is, as I said, the performance and stability, and the security included with the product.

In terms of selecting a vendor, we first go through the product features and evaluate them and see that the product suits our environment. Then, we look at the various product selection criteria, like ease of use and implementation. We also look at the cost, how costly it is to support in the future.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758148
Director of technology at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Our customers are seeing ROI in their move from POWER7 to POWER8

What is most valuable?

I am happy with the performance. Now that we are moving to Linux on Power, I'm really surprised at how fast it is, compared to AIX, seeing them side by side. Linux doesn't have all of the wrapping around it that AIX does to provide various security measures and things of that nature, so it can run much faster.

What needs improvement?

The improvements that I would like to see are probably the same as what everyone else wants, more speed, less electricity and less HVAC required to run it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using POWER8 since it came out in 2014. We are using POWER8 and POWER7. We are really off of six at this point. I am just waiting for POWER9 now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Well, from what I have done with it, it's pretty nice and very easy to do all that.

How is customer service and technical support?

Excellent, really excellent. They try really hard to make sure the tech guys who are going to do the service and support are brought up to speed before it goes out and hits the market. Although they can only go so far with that and some things just have to be learned once it's out in the field, it's pretty impressive how ready they are when it hits the market.

How was the initial setup?

Upgrading the hardware from one version to another was pretty simple but the software, not so much.

What was our ROI?

This doesn't really apply to me, but I certainly think the customers are seeing ROI in their move from seven to eight. I don't know anybody who moved to eight and said, "Darn, I wish I had stuck with seven." They seem to be pretty happy and that's usually the best measure, right?

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn't get to choose, it's the platform that I was given to work on. But if I had to choose, I'd probably choose Power anyway. I like that it's not Intel because we have a monoculture in CPU's.

What other advice do I have?

We are on AIX and we're starting to move to Power Linux. That's new for us this year. It's marketing requirements. The customers are voting, they are requesting it.

The UNIX market, in general, is shrinking and Linux is not considered UNIX. I'm not sure it's so similar, but it's a different kernel. They don't want to go to Windows either, so you're running out of choices so they move to Linux. If we want to stay viable, we have to do that as well. 

AIX will always have a spot. If you look at the history of all the problems with these platforms, Linux, in its young life, already has way more than AIX. If that's your thing, if you want it to be rock solid, then you are going to stick with AIX forever, as long as you possibly can. But a lot of people are making the jump, a jump into Linux. We are jumping too.

The Open Power Foundation has brought about advances by introducing new ideas. As I mentioned earlier with the monoculture thing, you get the same group of people who work on these things forever and they are really smart, they get out and they read books, and they get all the information they can, but you really need that stimulus from outside. You need to come to conferences, you need to get around and involved with more people. That is why Opensource works so well. It's the same idea. You need that diversity of opinion and thought to really get the best out of it. I think if we are going to see really big leaps forward on the Power platform, it's going to come from that.

I definitely think that IBM is a market leader in the server sector. I think what they need to do is stick with the open approach that they have adopted over the years. That is really the only way that works anymore. I think the days of enterprise companies being completely closed are just about gone and I'm glad they are. You just get so much better work out of the community.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about IBM Power Systems. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
542,721 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user758172
Developer
Vendor
It's definitely scalable, you can go from a small model to as large as you need to go

What is most valuable?

Speaking from the IBM i perspective, it's a very well-integrated database, a well-designed power system. Plus, the Power gives us the performance that we need at a low cost.

How has it helped my organization?

I think we are able to run our entire organization on a smaller machine than if we had multiple Intel servers. The software that's available for the Power Systems also gives us our industry edge. 

What needs improvement?

It does everything that we require though we would like it to be faster.

I would also like to see a small developer model come out that I could purchase on my own to develop application software.

For how long have I used the solution?

Probably six years. 

We are using POWER7 with IBM i to run our enterprise applications. We have been thinking of upgrading to POWER8, but at this point we are going to wait and just update to the POWER9.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's definitely scalable. You can go from a small model all the way up to as large as you need to go.

How is customer service and technical support?

For the most part it's good, when you can get to second-level support. Usually, when you call first-level you get somebody in India who doesn't always know what they're talking about. So generally, you have to escalate it to second-level to get a good response.

What was our ROI?

We had maxed out our earlier versions, and when we moved to a POWER7 we saw a definite performance increase. It was able to take care of some of the bottlenecks that we were experiencing. In terms of power usage and space it's been great as well.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, we are staying with the IBM Power Systems. 

What other advice do I have?

I definitely view IBM as a market leader. I think where they fall down is in their marketing, getting their message out to other people. Because not too many people are aware of how great a system the Power is. You've got a lot of competition in the Intel world that somehow seems to get more marketing out there. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758169
Sys admin at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
We used the CUoD feature to enable four more cores on our server

What is most valuable?

I just like the levels of redundancy that are there. Your power's redundant, your pathing's redundant. You can split up your buses, split up your expansion units. It's hard to take those boxes down, really. So, if they are up they'll run for years.

One other thing I really like is how they are going to integrate the HMCs into the frames now, so you don't have a standalone appliance, it's just built into the frame. I haven't worked with anything like that yet but hopefully soon.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the big things I've seen is that you can dynamically move devices or processor memory, capacity on demand, things like that. We actually just used the CUoD feature this past year. We enabled four more cores on our server. It kinda got us out of a gray spot.

For me, as an AS/400 I series guy, I think there's a lot of benefits to that OS. I think a lot of users really like it, despite the green screens. But after you get working with it, you're very familiar with it. So, to me, the hardware's there and I think the AS/400 or iSeries OS is very good as well.

What needs improvement?

I would like for there to be more clarity around the licensing. You'll get your PVUs and CPWs and some apps are licensed on one, some are on another.

For how long have I used the solution?

That box has probably been running for us for over 10 years. I've been working with Power directly for over five years.

I primarily work with Power 570, and so we're running some of our AS/400 on it with IBM i. We are also running POWER8 in the right spots in our environment. I'm kind of known as the legacy track but I'm glad to have the 570 anyway.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is beyond belief. You can't beat it. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We experience issues every once in a while. I think it's more due to our applications and how we're licensed that sometimes we have to get a little crafty there.

How is customer service and technical support?

They're very strong. And especially the FSRs that come out. Those guys have been working with Power boxes for decades.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, we are pretty set with IBM Power. We're running AIX and SAP all on Power boxes.

What other advice do I have?

I definitely see IBM as a market leader in the server industry in regards to their hardware. There is a lot of talk about them going more open-source and I think they are there, running Linux on Power and being more actively involved with that user group. But that's maybe a catch-22 as well, but I think they are leveraging that and that is what is going to take them forward.



Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
BF
Admin at a leisure / travel company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Virtualizing, we're able to share across multiple organizations, push utilization over 70%

Pros and Cons

  • "PowerVM."
  • "I think IBM needs a little more work on managing the overall environment with eliminating Systems Director."

What is most valuable?

  • HMC
  • PowerVM

How has it helped my organization?

It allows us to share the resources with multiple lines of businesses. That's one issue we had with one line of business, purchasing a physical server then it would be dedicated to that line of business. There would be one OS on it so a lot of the resources were not utilized. Now with PowerVM, we're actually able to sell them the LPAR itself and the corporate entity can purchase the physical asset. This allows us to push the utilization up to 70 to 80%.

What needs improvement?

I think IBM needs a little more work on managing the overall environment with eliminating Systems Director. They need something that you can use to manage the entire environment; it's kind of where they're going with PowerVC, but with the POWER5, 6 and 7 they're out in the cold now. It's just upgrading to 8 and managing everything with PowerVC, then it will be a lot easier. But any of the older technology is going to be out in the cold, managing one at a time.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Power for 10 years. We're running versions 5 through 8.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Lots of issues, but with hardware an issue we faced with our POWER7s has been the voltage regulators. IBM has been pretty good about that. They've been keeping voltage regulators onsite, so that if we do have an issue they're able to replace them in an expedient amount of time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. That's one of the advantages of Power, the ability to isolate every LPAR, whereas with Oracle using the containers, you have a global container, so it's difficult to segregate those. The way the Hypervisor does it on Power, you can actually have PCI and non-PCI on the same physical asset and still maintain PCI compliancy, but on x86, on Oracle, you cannot do that.

How are customer service and technical support?

Our SSRs in our primary datacenter are fabulous. We have one SSR, he's onsite almost every day. We actually have an office for him whether he's working on our work or he's working on the other customers that he supports. It doesn't matter, we give him the access to our site too. He's a very valuable member of our team, even though he's an IBM SSR.

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

We were a large Solaris shop, so we had a lot of Sun and we outsourced to IGS. When IGS came in we started replacing a lot of the Sun with Power.

How was the initial setup?

Hardware upgrades, now that we're with our virtualization, is pretty simple. We just LPM from one to the other. 

The software is a little more complex than I think it should be. I think there is some stuff that they could do with the patch bundles. They call it a patch bundle, but really it's not a bundle. There are a bunch of patches there, and you have to do an MGET and get all of them at once instead of it being one tar bundle, and you just download that tar bundle and then untar it. Then you have them. If your LTP fails during the download, it's like, "Well I didn't get them all, so, which one did I get?" Let me just erase everything and restart. 

I'd rather just grab a tarball and untar it and that way I'd have the readme right there in that uncompressed location. 

It's some of the stuff that they have like their VIO, I just downloaded the VIO DVD one, DVD two; I think it's the expanded tool kit. They're all compressed differently. One is a raw ISO, one is a compressed ISO, and the other one was a gzip tar file. I'm thinking, "Why aren't they all the same?"

Some of that gets a little irritating but you just have to deal with it and, hopefully, somebody will realize it and fix it.

What was our ROI?

In terms of the upgrades, moving from previous versions to POWER8, I absolutely see a return on investment. We're virtualizing it, and being able to share across the multiple organizations that we support, we're able to push the utilization upwards of 70%. 

Previously we would create physical LPARs and there would be one or two LPARs and we'd only be utilizing 10% of a 770, or the 570s, or 670s. So it was a got a million dollar system, and we were using 10%. That's $100,000 worth of use, $900,000 is not being used. 

Now we're pushing that utilization to where we have a lot more virtual LPARs and we're actually using that full system instead of having ten million-dollar systems. We have one million-dollar system and we're using ten virtuals on it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We use competitors, Intel-based Linux.

What other advice do I have?

IBM is moving faster with their improvements than we can implement. Coming here, to the Power User Conference, to learn the new features means I then go home and try to implement this feature and see how we can actually make this a value add for our organization.

Power is the best. There's not much that can beat the way they virtualize it. And the HMCs, being able to manage the entire environment.

They're definitely a leader. They lack the advertisement to new corporate CEOs. You're starting to see more advertisements of Watson. But AIX... the Power environment and the value add that it has over Intel, not so much. Everybody thinks that Intel is so much more cheaper than the IBM, but it's because it's not marketed correctly. 

With Power servers, you get so much included with your purchase. You get the virtualization, you get the operating systems. Whereas, with Intel, you get hardware and then you have to add all of the operating systems, the virtualization if you're using VMware. And once you start adding that up, that commodity server is now only hundreds of dollars difference from an IBM server. A lot of corporations aren't looking at it that way.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758220
Aix Linux lead
Vendor
The most efficient hardware I've ever worked with and the easiest to scale

What is our primary use case?

What is there not to like about it? It works every time. You hardly ever have any real issues. It's fast, the most efficient hardware I've ever worked with. I like Power because I think it just works the best.

What needs improvement?

You absolutely have to get that better performance all the time. The managers are always saying, "Well, let's make it faster, faster, faster."

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Power since the birth of Power. I've been in it for 24 years. When I first started it was all Micro Channel and I've been along through the evolution right up through to the POWER8s and new, coming POWER9s. I've ever only been interested in working with IBM products. We're using it for AIX and we also are setting up some SAP…

What is our primary use case?

What is there not to like about it? It works every time. You hardly ever have any real issues. It's fast, the most efficient hardware I've ever worked with. I like Power because I think it just works the best.

What needs improvement?

You absolutely have to get that better performance all the time. The managers are always saying, "Well, let's make it faster, faster, faster."

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Power since the birth of Power. I've been in it for 24 years. When I first started it was all Micro Channel and I've been along through the evolution right up through to the POWER8s and new, coming POWER9s. I've ever only been interested in working with IBM products.

We're using it for AIX and we also are setting up some SAP HANA on some 870s. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Everyone has an issue at some point, but over the 24 years I've been in this, I have seen very few issues, which is why I really like their product over everyone else.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has always been kind of a key factor. There's no good product if it's not scalable, and Power is the easiest-to-scale product I've ever worked with.

How is customer service and technical support?

Depends on which technical support you get. With all the different places I've been you really get the Advocate Program or you don't. If you're in the Advocate Program you get the top help right away. Their tech support with the Advocate Program is awesome.

If you're not in the Advocate Program you have to go through the series of the lower-level tech support, and usually they're not really helpful. In most cases I've ended up figuring out what the problem was before they had an answer. 

How was the initial setup?

Regarding upgrades they're generally pretty straightforward. We use NIM to do our upgrades. All you do is create your new lpp_source SPOT and, if you're going from version to version, use nimadm and alt disk - you've got it covered.

We have a Linux team does all the Linux, but we're working with them to help them install the Linux.

What was our ROI?

In terms of a return on investment from upgrading from a previous version of AIX to the current version, from a financial standpoint I don't really see a difference.

But for performance, it's not so much just the performance, it's the new features that come in the code that makes it appealing to me.

What other advice do I have?

Regarding their being a market leader, I think they've always been in front of all their competitors. Maybe if they made some of their web components a little easier to utilize, that would make me happier.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758217
Senior systems admin at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Runs our resilient data systems, our high-end databases, stuff that can't go down

Pros and Cons

  • "Power runs our resilient data systems, our high-end databases, stuff that can't go down."
  • "I would like to see firmware available to all of the systems."

How has it helped my organization?

Right now we use Power for high-end AIX systems. We're always looking to leverage what we're using. We have some high-end customers on our P8s. The one thing that makes life easier is it's very dependable.

What is most valuable?

Power runs our resilient data systems, our high-end databases, stuff that can't go down. I enjoy the isolation factor, that it's not Linux, but then again it can be challenging to keep up. The Linux and VMware stuff, the administration seems to be a little easier than Power, but that's why I'm employed.

What needs improvement?

Licensing has always been an issue, but with IBM machines a serial number is licensed with support. If you don't pay for it, you don't get it. 

I would like to see firmware available to all of the systems. We have some older systems that we've taken off support, that we're not going get rid of right now, but I'm not able to legally update the firmware on that. That's just a little nitpick that I have.

I'd like them to make stuff that little bit more seamless, a little bit more user friendly. They have come a long way since the early days. You can deploy a system right now in minutes compared to days, in the early days. But that's what growth is all about.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very seamless. The new enhanced GUI for the HMCs make adding partitions a lot easier than the classic view, so it's not as involved. I think they're trying to get more like the VMware side where you can add a machine, edit the properties, and turn it on, and go about your business.

We have some AIX 6 that we cannot upgrade because the customers will not let us upgrade it, and we've had to purchase extended support. We put everybody on 7 where we can. I personally have not seen the benchmarking between 6 and 7, but normally people are very comfortable when their mission-critical applications are on it. I'm comfortable with it. I'm comfortable with AIX in general, for mission-critical systems.

If I'm running a web server, or something I don't care if it goes down, I'll put that on Linux. But if I'm running a high-end database, accessing health records at 1000 transactions per second, I want it on a tried and true, supported operating system on high-end hardware.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have CTS support. They're very white-glove, so I think it's top-notch.

How was the initial setup?

I haven't had any experience in that. Normally we get a P7 box and it runs P7 forever; and we get a P8 box, and it runs P8.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're an IBM/VMware shop, so all of our AIX runs on Power, and everything else is going to run on VMware. We're a composite type shop.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of how Power uniquely positions us in the healtcare industry, it is an industry that has very little downtime. Nobody likes to take any downtime at all. The Power systems, they're very dependable. We can normally depend on them not going down. We have had a few issues here and there, but for the most it's a set-and-forget type thing.

They don't like to release the systems for updates, unless it's critical and I have to take it away from them. That's the thing I like the Power Systems, that they're just extremely dependable.

I think they've really started down a good path with the HMC; making people go to the enhanced GUI. I think not everybody embraces change, but once they get a hang of the new HMC, there's a lot of cool features in there.

In terms of IBM being a market leader for servers, obviously with the advent of Open Source, and Linux, and virtualization - while I don't do a lot of hardware - I think they're the "big boys." I think they probably need to be more vigilant about VMware and the like. VMware is not exactly eating their lunch because they're two separate business models. Obviously IBM is the leader. But, you can tell that other companies are nipping at their heels, and they want into that market share.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758214
VP and client leader at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
PowerHA helps in delivering mission critical applications with very high reliability

What is most valuable?

PowerHA, the high availability software. That is something that we like.

How has it helped my organization?

We are a partner to IBM, we do product development for IBM. We're not a customer of Power Systems. We are developing only on AIX and for all versions of Power, 6, 7, 8.

It helps in delivering mission critical applications, very high reliability. It doesn't fail, it's a very stable platform, very reliable, and the user interface is good. The administrative cost and expenses are also low. It's good.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very stable, absolutely. POWER9 is expected in the market and that's going to be, I would say, revolutionary. It is going to turn around the market in terms of the market share, in favor of Power Systems. I would say that if the price point is right, and the execution is good, this can really be a very successful platform for mission critical applications in future.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Based on the architecture I do believe that it is very scalable. And with the POWER9 processor coming up I think scalability will be even better, because the processor speed will be much faster. I'm assuming you will not need so many cores to activate, to scale up. 

Power Systems have always been very, very scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

My engineering team closely works with the IBM team in some of this areas. I do believe that things are very smooth, in terms of the support and whatever we have to deliver.

What was our ROI?

I believe that the Power platform has a very high return on the initial investment because of the kind of scalability and the reliability that the system has. It also provides the ability to meet multiple workloads - with such high reliability - because of the PowerHA platform. 

The powerHA product that we are building on it is really making the product very reliable and very cost effective for the customer. So the the TCO, total cost of ownership, is really low when you compare it with x86 platform or any other platform.

The initial investment may be high, but at the end of the day you have to look at it from a three-year or five-year point of view. And that's where Power really scales way above any other computing platform.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of how Power can uniquely position a company within its industry, it can be the most favored system for cognitive error. When I say "cognitive", of course, that is an IBM term. In the digital environment, where artificial intelligence is very important, there is machine learning been done, there are different kinds of applications coming up. Power Systems can be a very reliable platform for workloads which are mission critical, which are futuristic. There's a lot of work done on artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc.

In future versions I'm definitely very excited to see the roadmap of the Power PC, and the ability to connect with other GPUs like NVIDIA. NVLink is a very exciting development that happened in POWER8. I do believe, going forward, the ability to meet different workloads and multiple workloads, which are more intensive in terms of CPU and compute, is going to be the key and that's what I like about Power.

The OpenPOWER initiative is something, which is really great. It's embracing other Open Source, Linux as well as other platforms, so that you can give a total solution to the customer. You don't just have the applications, which are based only on AIX, you are making the platform more open for different kind of workloads to be done.

IBM has been the market leader for decades now, in this space. I do believe there is competition, but I think embracing OpenPOWER is an area which is going to really help IBM with the ability to meet the price performance that the market demands today. If that can happen, I do believe IBM is not only going to maintain its leadership position, it can even grow its position in terms of the market share for its systems and platforms.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Development Partner.
it_user758175
Solution architect
Vendor
Scalability allows very small and Fortune 100 companies to take advantage of the reliability

What is most valuable?

I think that it's reliability and availability. Also, the ability to scale and do some of the newer things with replication, with the storage. They help the Power to really stand out.

How has it helped my organization?

For me, personally, I've been around Power, IBM i, since it was System/38. It's been a long time. Personal knowledge of it is my strength. I can relay that into solutions for our customers.

What needs improvement?

For the i customers, I think that Power, the horsepower, has always been there. So, I would like to see something more on the lower end, where they would make it more cost effective for the small guy, rather than the big guy.

They need to work a little bit more with the smaller guys. Help to make it easier for them to move, to get going into the system. They need to be a little bit more competitive with the Intels of the world.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think they still claim "five 9s" availability. I would have to agree. In my experience, starting out as a CE back in the day, they were always very reliable, very easy to fix when they did break. With some of the other RAS things that they've put into these boxes, they're the best.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is the great thing. You go from very small systems, mom-and-pop shops, to Fortune 100 companies. That's the biggest thing, the scalability.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have worked with tech support for issues that have arisen. Sometimes, it's not really hardware related. A lot of times it's code related, but they're always very responsive and able to resolve the problems quickly.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of the upgrade from different versions, I think after we got past the jump from Syst ARIS, back in the day; and then, when we went from versions like 6 to 7, or 5.4 to 6, those were the really tough versions. 

Now, the version upgrades are very smooth.

What was our ROI?

We do see return on investment by upgrading from version to version.

I don't think that it's so much power, speed; it's the feature functionality. Some of the newer things that you are able to do with the newer versions, more so than the old days, when it was, "We get X amount of speed." That doesn't happen as much as the new features that are available.

For example, some of the Java things they're doing. Some of the things security-wise, there are a lot of great enhancements.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are strictly IBM.

We go with Power Systems because the reliability and the availability of the systems are key. They are the best systems, as far as reliability and availability go.

What other advice do I have?

We are a business partner, so many of our customers use different versions from 5.4 up to 7.3. Most use IBM i. We do have customers that run POWER8, but we have other customers that are running on POWER5, POWER6. We're trying to get them to move to POWER8.

I would say IBM is a market leader in the server industry. It's hard because, for what my company does, as a business partner, we're not really placing too many new servers. But the customers we have are very loyal and very committed to the platform. I think that, as long as IBM takes care of the customers that they have - there is no better customer than the one you have - take care of those customers and they'll be fine.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
SK
Sys architect at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The hardware is rock-solid and reliable but the Power Systems can be a tough sell

Pros and Cons

  • "From a reliability standpoint it has provided us with excellent performance."
  • "The lack of software vendors moving onto the platform, as opposed to fleeing the platform, is an issue."

What is most valuable?

The Power hardware is rock-solid and reliable. You can't really ask for better hardware support, software support and reliability of the equipment. It is very powerful for what it does. 

How has it helped my organization?

From a reliability standpoint it has provided us with excellent performance. 

We are in retail and we can't send technical people out to retail locations. We have to have a system that is very reliable, that will basically run 24/7, 365. In some cases, we have had the same chassis in a location for 10 years. For the most part, it takes its normal fans and power drives and power supplies, but it's the same chassis that has been sitting there running. That's why we continue to purchase IBM and Power equipment.

The Power Systems can oftentimes be a tough sell because it is much more expensive than Commodity X86 hardware. But it's not a dollars and cents kind of thing. It's the fact that we don't spend dollars and cents. It's the reliability. The fact that we've been able to use the same procedures and processes in our stores for so long is a huge benefit.

What needs improvement?

We are a special case, because what we want is the cheapest Power box we can get in all of our locations. That is not the way the industry is moving.

Cloud would be a great option, if you didn't get the worst internet connections in the world in very remote locations. That's where we are in a kind of unique situation. We have to have the processing power at a location, but we don't have the luxury of a good internet connection. In some cases, we have DSL. That goes down for days. You can't have a Cloud-based solution. You have to have something that can process on-site and retain and then batch upload data.

The lack of software vendors moving onto the platform, as opposed to fleeing the platform, is an issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Power since the early 90's. Right now I'm using version 4, all the way up to 7+. I'm using it for AIX. I would definitely be interested in upgrading to POWER8 in the future, but it comes down to cost. It's always cost, especially in retail.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We transitioned not too long ago from POWER6 to POWER7 equipment. Literally, it was just moving the Powers from one system to another. There were no questions about compatibility, it was just a move from here to here. You take care of some base prerequisites and you are done.  

OS upgrades are non issues. You just do them. Typically, we're only doing them because a vendor or an application needs it, but they work. Often there is very little downtime and no need to roll back, it just works. The same can't be said for a lot of the competitors' products.

How is customer service and technical support?

Both software and hardware support are wonderful. They are very responsive and knowledgeable. We deal with the field service technicians, the IBM CEs all the time. Usually it takes only one visit to fix the problem, which is huge. They get stuff done. 

Whereas, with some other two-digit vendors, two-letter vendors, that is not the case. In fact, we even saw discrepancies between IBM's Power and Lenovo's x86 support structure. We've actually moved some of our x86 systems away from Lenovo because the support structure isn't as good as what we were used to.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was a non-issue. The upgrades are complex, but it's easy to figure out what you have to do.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Power certainly isn't a great value proposition. A lot of that has to do with the fact that everybody else in our industry, from a software or maintenance standpoint, is moving away from it. 

Because of the cost I am rating them a six.

It is designed for a large workload, as opposed to a small workload. For our circumstances, and even as an independent, I can't buy a Power system to experiment on. It can't happen. You cannot buy them.

Even if you can buy them, I don't have $6000 to $10,000 to drop on a toy.  As far as I know, there is no enthusiast. There is no developer world to do that. You either have to have a big, massive system working for a corporation or you don't touch it. It's a non-starter, as far as open source software is concerned. Either you're doing it for a business, or it's not happening. That's when there are huge problems.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I consider other options all of the time but it's simpler to just keep going with what we have. 

We also like what Power does. It's very reliable and very powerful. And because of the code compatibility we are able to run the same programs today that we did back in 1992. That has a lot to do with it. There is no cost to upgrade the software side of things. It's just a hardware upgrade, in some cases.

What other advice do I have?

Ten or 15 years ago, software would have been written. There would have been Linux and Power, and maybe Windows, but nowadays it's Linux or it's the Cloud. You can run Linux on Power, but not for what these clients want. They want x86. They want Intel software, Red Hat or centOS on x86. 

Our software vendors, at least in our retail locations, are moving away from supporting Power. In fact, I'm shocked that they do some days. Whereas, our datacenter loads, those stay the same. Those are still going to be continuing to run what they are, because most of the major players, database systems and ERP systems, still continue to support Power.

I would not consider IBM to be a market leader in terms of servers. The reason is because if you go around and you ask people about a server, they don't talk about IBM. Maybe 10 years ago they did, but now it's HP. It's maybe Lenovo and it's Dell.  When you start talking servers, people don't think IBM. They think x86. That's where IBM dropped the ball, in some regards, because why would I think of them?

I can't buy them. I can't get them on the used market. I can't run them. I can't develop software for them. Though it's a different situation when you talk about the Cloud. That's when people tend to think more about IBM.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
UQ
System Administrator
Real User
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.
it_user758181
Senior unix engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
We use it to virtualize everything; oversubscribing CPUs saves us significant money

Pros and Cons

  • "The virtualization and the quality you get from it is one reason we like the solution."
  • "If you take advantage of some of these real advanced features, for oversubscribing as an example, it's not supported on Linux on Power. So that stops us, in particular, from going that way."

How has it helped my organization?

I think the biggest driving factor for the bank is the cost, the cost-performance profile, it's better than anything else.

If you virtualize, Power hardware allows you to oversubscribe CPUs, and we take a big advantage of that for the bank. We save the bank millions of dollars by oversubscribing, because we have probably 700 DevOp servers, where they develop software. The developer might have 40 or 50 servers. They don't run them all at the same time, maybe three or four of them do. So we give those 40 or 50 servers just a couple of CPUs. We way oversubscribe. In fact, IBM-ers raise their eyebrows when we tell them our oversubscription rate.

What is most valuable?

The virtualization. Power was the first solution to have it. Now everybody does virtualization, like VMware, etc. But Power was there a long time before everybody else. 

We virtualize everything, we're about 95% virtual. The virtualization and the quality you get from it is one reason we like the solution.

What needs improvement?

Regarding new features, we like where it's going. I really can't think of something newer that they are not currently working on.

Except for Power on Linux. The licensing for software products, including IBM's products - it costs you more to run Linux on Power than it does AIX. That's something I would like to see them improve. We would like to go to Power Linux, but all the software that we are using - and I'm talking like IBM software, like Webster - they don't let you oversubscribe the software. It's not cost effective.  

If you didn't know better, if you didn't do these things, you probably wouldn't care and you would put Linux on Power. But if you take advantage of some of these real advanced features, for oversubscribing as an example, it's not supported on Linux on Power. So that stops us, in particular, from going that way.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is great. The old saying was, you talked about the "five 9s" of reliability. We're at something like seven 9s. We've never really had a major outage. 

We've had outages, but it was the network that went down, or a SAN outage, or somebody, a person, pushed the wrong button. But the infrastructure itself, the IBM Power hardware has never failed us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues. And we take advantage of that scalability. I have a few frames where we have over 200 servers on a frame.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have IBM support. We are a big IBM user. In fact, we use their support for Middleware. They're excellent.

How was the initial setup?

I'm not a good person to ask. This is what I do. To me it's easy, I think it's easy to learn. I think the one problem new people have is - and this isn't just something that relates to IBM - the phraseology is different. So something in VMware might mean something different in the Power world. The lingo, there's some new jargon, and new acronyms that you have to learn. But once you get around that, you realize this thing is the same as this other thing on another system; just a different word.

What was our ROI?

In terms of a move from version to version, and the return on investment from a move from POWER7 to 8, or from 5 to 6, I would say the software has gotten friendlier, more robust, easier to use, easier to upgrade. I think the advantages you get from going to POWER6, POWER7, POWER8 are a bigger thing than going from AIX 6 to 7.

On the hardware side the upgrades are great. With POWER8 we picked up SMT8, and that made a big improvement. If you have applications that can take advantage of it - we run mostly IBM software - so of course the software is enabled.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost model is great. There is so much built in to the technology, that if you know how to use it you can save yourself a lot of money. Again I'll go back to what I said earlier: We're saving millions of dollars on software cost by oversubscribing. I know a lot of other users that don't do that. Either they don't understand how some of the technology works, or they're afraid to try it. All the advanced features that are built into this platform we use.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

To start out, I actually put the first Power systems in the bank. The first applications we were using, they only ran on Power. There's one application, that we call "wire transfer" - banks use that to transfer money to the Federal Reserve - and it only runs on AIX Power. That's what really got us going. Then, over time people realized it was a better. We used to be an HPE shop and over time we proved that we were better than HPE, and we just retired our last HPE server.

What other advice do I have?

We're on all versions of Power. We just retired a POWER4 box, but we have POWER5, 6, 7, and 8. We have all these versions primarily because we're a bank, and we have a lot of old applications. It's hard to get people to upgrade their applications so we can upgrade their hardware. We use it strictly for AIX.

We're running about 1200 servers right now. I have a couple old POWER5 and POWER6 frames, as I said previously, but most of our stuff is on POWER8. We have about 18 870 enterprise servers, and that is where the bulk of our stuff is. We are trying to get everything over to the newer stuff.

Power uniquely positions our bank in the industry because we are almost 100% virtualized, so we're cloud-ready, if you will. In fact, we view our AIX environment as a private cloud at the bank. That is one of the big things. 

And the Power solution is a lot more customizable that many of the others. We have some unique infrastructure things at the bank that it fits perfectly.

In terms of some people saying they want less "green screen," less command line, they're talking about UNIX, and historically UNIX is a command-line type of interface, a text interface. We can do a GUI in AIX, and most people don't use it. In fact, the only time you see a GUI is when people are installing software, because Oracle or DB2 has a GUI install interface, so you have to fire up a GUI.

I think IBM is a leader in the server market. I'm an old guy, back when I got into AIX, the Sun servers - the big Sun 10Ks and 18Ks, the HP Superdomes - those were all the enterprise servers, those were the servers of choice. Then came Power AIX, now they're number one. There is no more Solaris. HPE is struggling, they finally quit making their own hardware. They are doing x86. The Power hardware is just so much better than x86 hardware.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758184
Solution consultant
Vendor
TCO is highly competitive, if not always the best, especially for a per-core priced database

What is most valuable?

We like the resiliency, we like the flexibility, the speed of the processor. 

How has it helped my organization?

It brings reliability. Rarely do we have failures.

TCOs is highly competitive, if not always the best, especially if you're running a per-core priced database.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues. Very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Highly scalable. No issues scaling.

How is customer service and technical support?

I'd say they were been better in the past. Obviously it depends who you get. You need to know how to drive your support calls to get maximum effectiveness but, on a one to 10 scale, I'd give them a six.

They could improve responsiveness, ownership of problems, and technical acumen on the first level.

How was the initial setup?

Hardware migrations: logical partition mobility. Move it right onto the next platform.

Software x updates are pretty straightforward. I don't have much experience with i. And Linux is Linux.

What was our ROI?

In terms of the AIX, we are  definitely seeing a return on investment from moving from original versions of Power to POWER8, in performance. And we're definitely getting a per-core gain by moving to POWER8. In addition, the whole I/O speeds in general are improving.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've primarily beem a Power shop. There have been other considerations, for x86. We were sing Linux on Intel before Power. We chose IBM because of total cost of ownership. 

It's always been the platform for enterprise applications and go-to production systems that need that sort of reliability to run. 

What other advice do I have?

We're currently working with POWER7 and POWER8. We use it for AIX, IBM i and Linux.

I would absolutely recommend Linux on Power. I believe we're going to expand our use of Linux on Power.

I think IBM is a market leader in servers. To maintain that position I'd say the Open foundations that they've created are a good way of pulling in a broader base of users and technology. Keep improving around those arenas to get better.

Regarding the OpenPOWER Foundation, I think it brings a credibility to the Linux platform, and it allows customers to see that enterprises are serious about using Linux and exploiting its functionalities on Power.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JD
CTO
Real User
We don't have to concern ourselves with the chipset, hardware, or software, it runs itself

What is most valuable?

The chip itself is a higher performing chip than x86 chips, and we get the IBM hardware on top of it.

How has it helped my organization?

To not have to manage the chipset or have the software or hardware really be a concern for us. It just runs itself.

What needs improvement?

This isn't really related to Power, it's related more to the OS system level, but instead of chasing the industry they should lead the industry. A lot of the things that are being deployed on Power now are things like Node.js and things of that nature. But they're chasing the market, they're not leading the market.

For how long have I used the solution?

Since the beginning.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had issues, but they haven't been because of Power, they've been because of partner errors on our system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is phenomenal as it scales up. I'm here at the Power Conference to learn about how I can possibly scale out with the Power systems.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are very knowledgeable but there's some bureaucracy as far as the time to respond goes, as far as getting back to us with what we need.

They tend to request logs an awful lot when the solution doesn't always warrant that.

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

We started on a System/36 and grew into the AS/400 and we're still going with IBM i. It was always IBM because a lot of our code is written in-house. We're definitely planning on moving up to POWER 8 in the future.

How was the initial setup?

The big version releases, as far as 5 to 6, and 6 to 7 were complicated. All the point releases were fairly straightforward.

What was our ROI?

In terms of the upgrades from previous versions, we definitely see a return on investment. We get more processor, more CPW, and it's basically the same price.

What other advice do I have?

We are currently using version 7.2 with IBM i only.

I don't know that Power uniquely positions our business, it's more of what we do as a business to position ourselves, as far as our commitment to customer service and customer care.

I think they're definitely a leader in the server industry as far as Power goes. From what I've been hearing at this conference, they're doing a lot with the Power chip to help maintain that position. So, I'm happy with it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758190
Implementation
Vendor
High performance means fewer machines, fewer servers, and scalability is great

What is most valuable?

The performance, the resiliency, and in the capacity that IBM provides the customer, that you can support old versions like, for example, AIX 5.3/ 6.1 in the new versions.

How has it helped my organization?

In our case we are a business partner, we sell solutions. But I think what our customers appreciate most is that they can save space, since Power is high performance. You can have fewer machines, fewer servers and good performance in your environment.

What needs improvement?

Since the cloud is so in demand right now, there is a feature that VMware has which is vMotion. I would like this with PowerVC, NovaLink, PowerVM. I would like IBM to improve that feature so that we can sell it to our customers and improve their satisfaction.

IBM is definitely a market leader in servers but to maintain that position it needs to improve how the information gets to the customer. Sometimes IBM is very good at doing new things but nobody knows about it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Power since before it was named Power, RS/6000 and the like. We've worked with POWER more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had issues, but not so big. Most of the time they have been simple things, performance, microcode updates and things like that; but never a big issue that I can recall.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think scalability is wonderful because you can get start with a small machine and you can grow as you want.

How is customer service and technical support?

In our regions it's Argentina that provides the service to us. It's very good. They always help us.

How was the initial setup?

It's straightforward, it is very simple.

What was our ROI?

When it comes to upgrading from POWER7 to 8, or other upgrades, there can be a return on investment because you can use some parts of a POWER7 machine and build them in to a new POWER8 and I think it's a cost savings for our customers.

I don't know too much about licensing or prices or the like, even though I get involved in the configuration, presales and that kind of thing. I am just hoping to see what is coming with POWER9.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We haven't considered any competitors at the moment, but we do have competition back there in my country, of course. We chose IBM because of its performance, resiliency and the capacity you have to make LPARs. It's very good.

What other advice do I have?

We have POWER8, POWER7, we still have some POWER6 and some POWER5. We're using it for AIX.


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758193
Engineer at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
We run our financial environment on it and performance is key; we can't miss getting quarterly numbers out

What is most valuable?

It just works. I don't know how else to explain it. We don't have a lot of issues with it. It handles our enterprise systems well.

How has it helped my organization?

Performance. We run our financial environment on it and there are key dates you always have to hit. Performance is key there, when we close the quarters and the like. You can't risk missing dates for getting your numbers to the street.

What needs improvement?

I could see a benefit in some organizations if licensing were more cloud oriented. We're not big in the cloud yet. I guess at some point that would probably help.

Pricing has room for improvement. It's definitely more competitive now than it was. That was an issue we had a while back where you'd look at the cost and it was just so much more for it. It was a hard sell.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

Support is good. I think it used to be much better. Sometimes it takes too long to get to the right person. You have to go through too many levels to get to the person you need, that has that skill set. I understand that, there's level-three, and you have to escalate and it takes time.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward.

What was our ROI?

We have been seeing a return on investment in the moves from version to version due to better performance and they cut the licensing costs down. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It was only Power for the most part. We started with it a long time ago. The rest of our environment runs on Linux, SUSE and Redhat for application web servers.

What other advice do I have?

We use it for AIX. We actually just got P850s but they were refreshed.

I consider IBM to be a market leader in the server industry but to maintain that position pricing is the main thing, to be able to compete with Linux. It's difficult on x86. But on the side of trying to sell it to management, they just look at costs a lot of the time and it's a tough sell; they don't really deal with the reliability of the system's performance.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758196
Aix lead at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
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.
it_user758199
It director
MSP
Helps our run times and our batches run faster, allows us to deliver better SLAs

What is most valuable?

Reliability would be the strongest thing. Speed and performance are a couple of the other top ones.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps our run times and our batches run faster. It allows people to get their job done faster. It allows us to deliver better SLA's. I'm not sure that it uniquely positions our company in our industry.

What needs improvement?

I don't know how you can improve on something that is as stable as it is.

IBM changes licensing, so to speak, with the wind. You never know what they're going to go with. It would be nicer if it were simpler. And, maybe not so costly, that would help.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using AIX and Power for about 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is 100%.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The boxes we bought, they're probably not really scalable, because we locked into 850s in a lot of them, but the 870 is more scalable. I think for what we have, and the size, they do fine.

How is customer service and technical support?

I've used them over the years, but not in a while. In the past they were very good.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward, as are the upgrades.

What was our ROI?

When upgrading from previous versions, in terms of ROI, maybe now there's a little bit, but at least that way it's always backwards compatible, so we don't really have any upgrade issues. I guess the payment back would be the low likelihood of failure or failed upgrades.

We just moved to POWER8 this year, and we saw a big improvement from POWER7.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is costly compared to other solutions but we justify it by the reliability.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't consider competitors for this part of our environment. We chose IBM for its reliability. It runs our Oracle back end systems.

What other advice do I have?

We have four 850s and one 870. We use them for AIX.

When I think servers, and market leaders, I think of Intel. Since they got out of that business, IBM is a leader in what they're focused on right now, which is Power, mainframe. That's really the only thing that is left. They have no competition.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758202
Aix engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
We're able to streamline and clone our systems and provides unlimited growth

What is most valuable?

I'm not sure of the actual term, but being able to delegate and take back the chips, and DB2. DB2 is a must.

How has it helped my organization?

We're able to streamline and clone our systems. All of our systems on the floor do the exact same thing, and that works for us.

What needs improvement?

Not sure. Everything works great.

IBM does a great job of incorporating the latest technology, but it's hard to give IT a 10 out of 10, we're always growing and fluctuating. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None at all. (Then again, we keep developers off our systems). 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues. Unlimited growth with Power.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have CE's and they're awesome. Scale of one to 10, they're tens.

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

We've had Compaq, we've had Solaris, we have Dell for our workstations, but IBM for our "big iron." It does what it's supposed to do, better, faster, and more efficiently. We also chose IBM for the support and the products.

How was the initial setup?

Very straightforward. The field engineers usually come in and place the hardware on the floor and install it, and we take it from there. 

What was our ROI?

Compared to what we've dealt with, with Sun Solaris/Oracle and Compaq, the cost model is great.

In terms of the upgrade from previous systems to POWER8, we've seen a return on investment. We're able to do more with less. We're actually using fewer engineers to do it. I'm kind of skeptical that we could do even more with even fewer engineers, but yes, it can always be improved.

What other advice do I have?

We have the whole scope of hardware, and we're running AIX 7.2. We have POWER7, POWER8. We actually still have some POWER5 on the floor. 

Power uniquely positions our company in the industry because of the unlimited growth.

I consider IBM to be the market leader in servers. They just need to keep doing what they're doing.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758205
Support implementation team with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Combines reliability with the most powerful chipset for midrange environments

What is most valuable?

First of all, the reliability. Also, Power really is the most powerful chipset out there for midrange environments. Performance is also very important for me and all of the customers that I'm supporting.

How has it helped my organization?

Reliability and the performance. 

For management, they feel more secure. They feel they are not just running on any platform, on some Intel base that is going to fail sometimes. They trust that they are going to have 99.9% reliability. They are going to have customers satisfied who are accessing those new services that IBM is implementing. They just trust in Power, really trust in them for their reliability.

What needs improvement?

Right now, in our region, they are moving to contracting things over the cloud. There are some services that we are providing - we are leasing space, we are leasing machines. If customers could truly license cloud-based or, possibly, acquire cloud-based capacity to process things over the cloud, that would be great. That would be an improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

Almost six years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have never had any issues with scalability. It's the other way around. Customers like the Power system with IBM i because they can move move forward, they can acquire new equipment, they can upgrade versions of the operating system without affecting what they developed years ago.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm part of the support team where I work for. The support team at IBM is just excellent.

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

Our clients choose Power because they trust the platform. They trust IBM i. They are really comfortable with it. We even have new customers that had not previously used Power's servers or IBM i. They are moving to the platform because of trust, not just in Power itself, the hardware, but also their trust in IBM, the trust in their delivery, the trust in their support.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of upgrades, if you compare it with other platforms, it's very straightforward. It's very easy and the documentation is very clear with everything that you have to take into account.

What was our ROI?

When moving from previous versions to POWER8, or in general when upgrading, you see a return on investment. You get an improvement in technology and that means customers trust in the platform, that they are going to invest money and they're going to get that money back. Not just in terms of upgrading the versions because they're performing badly, but in reliability for the customers because of the service they are providing.

What other advice do I have?

IBM is a market leader and to stay there they need to keep going with the trends and the customers, keep moving towards the cloud, keep going in the cognitive area. IBM is going to be at the top of the list for a while.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758208
Infrastructure manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Great for banking, it scales a lot and is easily tuned the to handle varying workloads

Pros and Cons

  • "It scales a lot, you can just keep on adding frames, you can add on CPUs, you get capacity on demand, you can tune the machine very easily to handle different workloads."
  • "I know lab services does a lot of work but systems, if they could include some kind of lab services and bundling of services to get you to the greatest and latest feature at the already included cost"

What is most valuable?

Specifically about System i, it's simple, it's secure, it has a lot of resiliency. As far as I know, we've never been attacked by a virus.

I've been supporting core banking for the past 15 to 20 years directly in Power, and before I was supporting banking in OS/390.

Power systems are compact, their licenses are not as expensive as OS/390, and they fit the banking solution. They're very easy to run and operate for computer operators. They're all menu driven, it's English driven, and you can have different languages. It's a great system. It works for me.

How has it helped my organization?

Security is one. But it's a total, comprehensive solution.

It's really good for banking. As a matter of fact, I know many banks that are using AS400s as their back end on Power. It scales a lot, you can just keep on adding frames, you can add on CPUs, you get capacity on demand, you can tune the machine very easily to handle different workloads. It's very efficient, it's secure, it's robust and resilient, you can add on disaster recovery and it's cool.

What needs improvement?

IBM could perhaps be a bit more aggressive in terms of marketing, and let customers really know that they're out there and can offer a helping hand to move them along, to implement all these great features. Because, in attending the classes here at the IBM Power Conference, over the years, every time they ask, "Are you on this latest and greatest feature?" many people are not there as yet. Yet the feature may have been announced a few years ago. Sometimes it's because companies need to have migration projects, and a bit of money and time to get this going.

IBM could be more aggressive in that area.

I know lab services does a lot of work but systems, if they could include some kind of lab services and bundling of services to get you to the greatest and latest feature at the already included cost... If you include the cost in the base machine, you pay for something once, or it's in your maintenance... because to go and ask for money every time, it's a problem.

For how long have I used the solution?

Power systems, pretty much since they came out. I've been using AS400 system since the '90s, and I continue to use them, System i.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The upgrade from version to version is not complex. I think it's fairly straightforward and IBM provides a lot of documentation, check-listing, features, so all you've have to do is be methodical, go through the checklists step by step and it's fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues. If we needed capacity in an emergency, a few years back, we would call IBM if we had a problem. They could turn on a code and we could have an extra CPU. But these days, capacity is in pretty good shape. We have some resources we can move around to give the systems that need it more capacity, and we can move capacity dynamically.

And we know the workloads, so the machine is set to run dynamically. If we need capacity, we get it. We run things and we have all these monitoring capabilities, we monitor stuff, we send alerts and it works fine.

How is customer service and technical support?

Some of our work is actually outsourced to IBM for the hardware. The hardware works fine, the Power hardware, it's amazing. Years back they had some 10-key disk drives that would tend to fail, but recently disk drives are really much improved, and you can do hot swap. You can pull a drive out, put a new one in.

Apart from disk drives, really and truly you don't see many hardware issues. You may have a power supply that fails, but because of all the redundancy, it's good.

And on the software side, there is hardly a need for support calls. The key is, as long as you're patching very often and you're up to date with the PTFs, it runs pretty well.

What was our ROI?

In terms of the upgrade from version to version, we see a return on investment, absolutely. There are always features, improvement, SQL and Java; on the hardware, on Power. 

With the technology, when I went from POWER5 to POWER6, I got a something like a 71% increase in horsepower. When I went from POWER6 to 7 I think it was a 20% improvement in CPW. And I believe from POWER7 to 8, I've been told it's either 75% or double.

So every time IBM comes out with a newer chip, great improvements.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Really mostly IBM for the workload that we run. IBM and the System i is very well suited for it, for the core banking systems.

What other advice do I have?

Recently there have been a lot of changes, and a lot of good things that we are planning to use. What we've been seeing is that within the Power system itself, there are more and more capabilities and features. You do not have to go outside and buy a third-party program product - like for replication, you don't have to go to a third-party. Years ago, you'd have to go for system monitoring.

IBM is building in all the tools you need to run the system: monitoring, replication, disaster recovery. I think if IBM continues to do the same thing - and every day they're bringing the price point down, with more CPW - they should just keep on doing what they're doing.

I don't have a problem with Power systems, especially running System i. For people running AIX, the interface is a bit more cryptic and they need a lot of commands. But once you implement System i on Power, it's a 10. It rocks. We're doing some work in Mexico right now where we're converting from OS/390 to Power systems.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758163
Systems admin at a individual & family service with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Runs all our enterprise systems reliably, no unexpected downtime

What is most valuable?

The reliability is the main thing. Reliability and ease of use. The cost of ownership is down too.

How has it helped my organization?

It runs all our enterprise systems and because of the reliability, we don't have the same issue with downtime and unexpected downtime that other companies may have. I have been there for 10 years, running the Power, and we've had three unexpected experiences of downtime in 10 years.

What needs improvement?

We just want to see continued reliability and performance. And continued value for the price. The licensing could be simplified.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Power for 10 years. I have POWER7 and POWER8 and I use them for IBM i. We also have an 822L and Linux Red Hat. We started using Power on Linux a few months ago. We moved to it mainly because of the reliability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's got all the scalability I need. I can add on to to the box that I've got. Scale it out from where I'm at.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had any problems with technical support. They have all done well every time I have needed them.

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

We were using Power5.

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward. I have been doing this a long time, so it is pretty straightforward for me. There are more hardware things now that I've moved to external storage. It does become a little more complex there.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing has improved over the years. I've been working with IBM for 30-plus years. The licenses have gotten better. We are experiencing some issues with Linux licensing between the different flavors, between Ubuntu and Red Hat, and which license you need for which machine, so that's getting to become a little complex.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

The OpenPOWER Foundation has brought many advantages. There are a lot more things available now, carried over from other industries.

I personally do consider IBM to be a market leader in servers. In order to maintain that position they just need to continue the performance and the reliability.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758160
Senior systems engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
I can now buy one 4U box with 16 cores and put a terabyte of memory in it

What is most valuable?

Flexibility and reliability are the two features that are probably the most important to us.

How has it helped my organization?

We get better performance out of our applications, out of our databases running on Power, than we would on anything else that we have looked at.

What needs improvement?

I think they could use a little more work in the upgrading of the OS, how that could happen as non-interrupting, but I think they are working on that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is awesome because we can move from POWER8 to POWER9 when the new servers come out. It allows us to scale out, add new servers underneath it, buy new equipment and add it into the datacenter.

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward. The partition mobility helps a lot.

What was our ROI?

We do see a return on that investment, especially on the software licensing, when we are licensing DB2 or we are licensing WebSphere. We have seen that we have had to license fewer cores on the POWER8 than we had on the POWER7.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We've been using more of the mid-range systems than some of the bigger models, and we like that price point. We like where we are at there. It allows us to scale out the datacenter faster. It also allows us to react to a company or an application that's growing faster than someone else.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No. We were an HPE shop and we converted over to Power at POWER5. We thought the Power roadmap was just better, better suited for us.

What other advice do I have?

Using the Power system gives us a leg up. It helps us keep up with the competition.

What we like the best about the POWER8 is that it scaled down in size and power usage. When we were buying POWER5, we had to buy a 16U rack to get 16 cores and maybe a half terabyte of memory. Now I can buy one 4U box with 16 cores and put a terabyte of memory in it, and I'm in business.

We have now started thinking about moving to Linux on Power. We are just starting to scratch that surface.

The ongoing work that is being done behind the scenes, that keep improving the product, logical partition mobility, PowerVM, PowerAIX. I think that all of those help contribute to the way Power is running.

I do consider IBM to be a market leader and in order to remain a market leader they just need to keep improving. Keep improving the product, keep pushing the product. I think it looks great.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758157
Sys admin at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
It facilitates extra redundancy and we run our critical applications on it

What is most valuable?

Primarily the reliability. I can set up a system and it runs until we decide to get rid of it.

How has it helped my organization?

The reliability is one. We have a lot of extra redundancy built into Power and we run our critical applications on there so it protects our brand and our business.

For how long have I used the solution?

Since POWER4.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are very happy with the performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, we have not.

How is customer service and technical support?

It's very good. They are knowledgeable and there is always a point of contact.

What was our ROI?

POWER8 definitely handles the workload better than POWER7 did, as far as the threading between having a lot of partitions running in a system. There is less impact when the system doesn't bog down, when a lot of applications are running.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing is not an issue but it is something that we are being asked for from our leadership. Because usage fluctuates all the time, they want to know that they are only paying for what they are using. And we're all competing against the cloud vendors now.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No. We have been running on Power ever since we went to SAP.

What other advice do I have?

I am using POWER8 for AIX and Linux.

I wouldn't say that Power uniquely positions our company in the industry. We run all of our internal applications on it and we keep our business running with it.

As far as IBM being a market leader, I would think that they are certainly one of the players, I don't know if they are the leader or not. In order to be a market leader I think IBM would have to get into more shops and get the word out there. It's kind of like the Windows mentality, a lot people go with what they know or what they see advertised.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user758154
Sys admin at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It's even more flexible with the ability to create an environment in a few minutes

What is most valuable?

It's flexible and it's reliable.

What needs improvement?

They can make it easier to do the patching and iFixes, which is especially important now, with all of the security issues. That would provide a lot of relief.

For how long have I used the solution?

I recently joined the team, but I think they started moving to Power about a year ago, at least.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are very happy with Power's performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, absolutely not. Especially now, with the VC, it's even more flexible with the chance to create an environment in a few minutes, especially for testing.

How are customer service and technical support?

Pretty good. We had a few engagements with the labs.

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

We have always used Power.

How was the initial setup?

Thanks to the labs, the migration from POWER7 to POWER8 was easy.

What was our ROI?

We were able to reduce to a single frame.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't really wish the licensing was more cloud-based. It is not really an issue. It could be.

What other advice do I have?

I'm using POWER8 right now and migrating some of the POWER7 systems. I am using it with AIX and IBM i. Mostly the core is IBM i. We have an e-commerce website and it is running on AIX.

I don't know how IBM could maintain their status as a market leader in the servers sector, but I would like to see more young people at this kind of event, the IBM Power Conference. That would probably help.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
CP
Solution engineer with 51-200 employees
MSP
The improved SMT has helped open up boundaries for applications that can use it

Pros and Cons

  • "The SMT that they've improved has really helped open up boundaries for other applications that can use it."

    What is most valuable?

    I can get more work done with less hardware. The SMT that they've improved has really helped open up boundaries for other applications that can use it. The ones that can't, they're still single-threaded, still waiting on the CPU cycle.

    How has it helped my organization?

    When using it with the virtualization, we've finally gotten to the point of being able to do what VMware VirtualCenter does, but we do it more robustly, a lot faster and probably easier.

    What needs improvement?

    I don't know yet. We have got scalability, resiliency. We can move it from one system to another.

    Licensing is always going to be a problem, because it used to be based on, "This is a CPU, this is the memory, this is your footprint." Now, with virtualization, that one CPU can be carved up 100 different ways, so why should I be charged for that use rather than a single CPU, a single socket? But businesses have to make money.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Power for maybe 15 years; POWER8 since it came out, a couple of years ago.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No we haven't. We pushed it as far as it could go. There have been times I've put maybe 60, 70 machines on a single POWER8 box which, with the poll sharing and the resource sharing, you can do but you have to actually plan it out accordingly.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    It's like any other support organization. You can get some top-notch people, and then you can get some who you have to escalate. If you don't escalate, you're not going to get the support that you need. But overall, response has been pretty good.

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

    Intel was the previous solution. The performance wasn't there. Linux on Power, I believe they're one of the first implementers on it. I think that was under POWER4, when no one knew anything about it. But it worked, worked beautifully. The hard part was I couldn't move that workload from one machine to another because it wasn't available. But it's a lot more robust now.

    With Intel, it's a matter of complicated instruction set versus reduced. Using Power we get more scalability, more power, less need for resources, hardware, etc.

    How was the initial setup?

    It's not as easy as clicking boxes and setting up Windows. You have to actually do a lot of pre-planning, a lot of figuring out whats your workload is, what your footprint is, your memory size.

    You can get a person who has never seen it before to be able to do it themselves. With the cloud offering, it's point and click, literally. The resources are there. They tell it what they want, where they want it, how much they want, and click, they have a machine.

    What other advice do I have?

    I mostly use AIX along with some Linux, POWER8 and POWER7.

    It's hard to say how the Power system uniquely positions our company in the industry because we try to do everything. But we usually try to push the Power first. Our company mainly started with strictly iSeries, so you can't run that on Intel. So when Power came out and showed that it was a much better workhorse for the iSeries, it was good. Life was great. Actually, I believe iSeries was virtualizing long before Intel even thought about it. But some of the iSeries guys will tell you, "We don't know what it is."

    Regarding the OpenPOWER Foundation, it has offered us a faster way of deploying multiple systems in a shorter amount of time. In the good old days, it would take you a few days just to create one system. Nowadays, you can possibly deploy 10 in the time it would take one.

    I consider IBM a market leader in the server sector, compared to Dell and Lenova, because, they have more robust, faster hardware that can be deployed and implemented a lot faster than Intel, even with VMware.

    VMware has point and click, but there's a real steep learning curve in your networking, your shared resources, your performance tuning and your troubleshooting.

    In order to remain a market leader I would say that IBM needs to stay ahead of the curve. They need to listen to what their customers are saying as far as, "I want this feature or that feature." If it can be done, do it. If it can't, let the customer know. "Hey, we'll look at it and get it in the future."

    I would definitely recommend Linux on Power rather than Intel.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user758136
    Regional VIP cloud hosting at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
    MSP
    Convergence means all of our storage, processing, database in one platform

    What is most valuable?

    I would say the converged feature. You can have all of your storage, your processing, your database, everything in the one platform, and all under IBM. That's the best part of it. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has helped them improve in a lot of ways. It has improved their efficiency as well as their scalability, from a growth perspective. They want to add more servers, more processing power, things like that. They can be much more easily done now.

    What needs improvement?

    I would say that in general we would prefer it if the software was more transparent, in terms of how you are using it. 

    Right now it depends on the level of the system and how much more you might have to pay for the same software. And being a cloud provider, we get into a lot of situations where our customers might need just a fraction of a processor, but they still have to pay for a bigger portion of the software costs.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been providing this for the last 15 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Upgrading from POWER7 to POWER8 was not a big deal. It was pretty straightforward, I would say. Going from version 5.4 to a 6, that was more of a challenge, but now it is pretty stable. We have some partitions running 7.3, some running 7.2 version. All over the map.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is great. With the VIOS, the Power and the Power platform, we can virtualize. We can create many more LPARs.

    It is definitely a more flexible solution, compared to earlier versions. You want to be able to cater to multiple customers on one particular system. We have dozens of systems running in our environment right now.

    Back in the day, it used to be more hardware-centric. Now, with the software version, it is much easier for us to create multiple partitions. We may run a POWER8 system with 20 cores, and we could have, maybe, 30 customers on that one box by slicing and dicing it. So it is pretty good, from that perspective.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We are the service provider and so we have the IBM i at every level in the cloud. This is pretty much due to the demand from the customers. It's not us, it's really our customers asking for it.

    We also work with other solutions. We do everything; we do Windows, Linux, AIX, as well as IBM i. All different platforms. 

    Compared to Intel, Power is a much more stable solution. Security is also much better. Compared to the other platforms, Power definitely has more capabilities.

    What other advice do I have?

    There are not many companies in the US who can provide the IBM i platform in the cloud so we are uniquely positioned in being able to cater to that particular requirement of our customers.

    I would consider IBM to be a market leader from the Power side, but not in other areas. I think they were getting there but they made a big mistake by selling the PureFlex to Lenovo.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user758211
    Sys admin with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Helps us manage Oracle and WebSphere licensing, AIX is reliable and the performance is good

    What is most valuable?

    • AIX
    • Reliability
    • Performance, of course
    • The ease of use
    • It's really enterprise ready (whereas Linux is less enterprise ready)
    • I would say that the best feature right now of Power is the license management. We use it for Oracle and WebSphere and it's good for that. As I said the reliability of the AIX OS and hardware is very good.

    What needs improvement?

    The only thing that I've seen over the last years - and I think it's getting better - would be to have stable service packs. Often I upgrade to a new version, a new service pack, and we need to put iFix over the service pack. I would like to have the service pack be really stable, or IBM saying, "This service pack is stable, but you should add this and this iFix as of right now." That would be better.

    It would be an improvement if the cost went down, as well.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Mature and stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Great, but at our company we don't need the scalability that AIX and Power offer, so we are kind of in the medium range of requirement.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Good, and a lot better than other companies.

    How was the initial setup?

    I would say pretty straightforward.

    What was our ROI?

    Mainly performance and flexibility is getting better and better. So I would say yes, slowly but steadily, we are seeing a return on investment of the expense in upgrading from the previous versions to the version we're using now.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We use a competitor, Intel-based Linux. We went with Power because of reliability, performance; it's a good product overall.

    What other advice do I have?

    When I rated it 10 out of 10, I ignored the pricing. It's costly, so it's part of the business decision. Hardware prices put the brakes on some solutions.

    I don't consider IBM to be a market leader in servers. They are in a very good position, but AIX is not sold to customers, it's not viewed as a prime solution.

    I think they need to push more AIX, openly, there's not enough noise about it. It's quiet, it works, so we don't talk about it. It's a local initiative it's not a global initiative.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user758151
    Senior engineer systems admin at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    It has improved the stability of our Oracle database

    What is most valuable?

    • The Live Partition Mobility (LPM) feature.
    • The virtualization feature.

    Depending on the simplified remote restart for the DR, that's what we're looking forward to.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has improved the stability of the Oracle database. We have a big database running in a Power environment and it is more stable than compared to what we are adding.

    What needs improvement?

    I would say the cost. They need to work on the cost because I think it's quite expensive and that's a changing trend in the industry, to be more focused on the product.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I started using Power when I started at T-Mobile three years ago. They had POWER5, and we migrated them to POWER6. So it has been about three years, maybe a little longer.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    For the scalability, we do have the capacity planning and we do plan accordingly and I think we would go for POWER9 if we had to, depending on the usage. I think there is still scalability room for us.

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

    I think T-Mobile has a big shop of Intel for Linux servers and they have Power for AIX servers.

    How was the initial setup?

    I wasn't involved in the initial setup because we have an SME who does that and I'm just an engineer at the back end. I do the operations support, so that's where I come into the picture.

    What was our ROI?

    We do see ROI from the move from POWER7 to POWER8. We do capacity management and we are able to move quite a lot of workload.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Would I prefer a license based on a cloud system?

    We have Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) and that's more for the application side. I haven't dug into this more to check how the database would do on the cloud so I'm not sure about that.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are using AIX with POWER8 but we do have a mix of POWER7 servers as well. 

    We do capacity planning, and we try to maintain the Power capacity monitoring and to maintain that we've got enough capacity for a year worth of workload. We plan ahead as well for the coming workload. What we've got is enough for one more year.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user756285
    EVP Technical Solutions at Helpsystems
    MSP
    Virtualization is the key, as we can more easily spin up a new partition, virtual instance

    Pros and Cons

    • "From a software developer standpoint, virtualization is really the key, as we can more easily spin up a new partition, virtual instance of IBM i."
    • "Better manage heterogeneous footprints of all the different operating systems that are out there across one common interface."

    How has it helped my organization?

    I think the main thing that POWER8 is doing for the industry in general is it's leap frogging all the other technologies that exist out in the market from a performance capacity and total cost of ownership point of view. You can scale these servers up or scale out and replace a lot of footprint for other organizations. 

    An IBM i customer is more of a traditional business, they've been around for a while, they've been running on IBM i for, maybe, a couple decades and for them it's all about being able to continue to move forward, maybe even scale down the size of the server, the footprint of the server, the energy consumption and all those things that come along with it.

    What is most valuable?

    Help Systems is a provider of IBM i and AIX systems management software. We use the server in our infrastructure to develop technology to solve customers' problems in automation. We're using POWER7 and POWER8 servers, highly partitioned, virtualized; using SAN storage to help us build up our development environments.

    Our solutions include the top issue of the day which is security. Everybody's concerned about security, so we do that. We do automation software, which we've been doing for years, and then monitoring software also.

    From a software developer standpoint, virtualization is really the key, as we can more easily spin up a new partition, virtual instance of IBM i. We can have it preloaded with our different softwares that we need to test out. To me it's a virtualization. We use that through having a SAN and POWER8 technology.

    What needs improvement?

    With POWER it has everything that we need from a scale up and scale out capacity, capability to stick lots of work and footprint on it. For IBM, the challenge that everybody has in the industry, and in the processor world, is that we've kind of hit the "knee" of the curve with Moore's law. Processors aren't getting faster. The neat thing about IBM is the innovation that they're doing to offload work from the processor and do more simultaneous things. 

    I'm really excited about the artificial intelligence even if you don't always think of systems management companies like us being excited about that technology. But we have a lot of information too, and helping our customers more easily mine that - I see some great opportunities. 

    And to better manage heterogeneous footprints of all the different operating systems that are out there across one common interface.

    When we talk about cloud licensing, or maybe tenant-based licensing, definitely there's a shift in the marketplace in that more of our customers are looking at things like infrastructure as a service, where they're going to be having their IBM i footprint hosted by somebody else, maybe on somebody else's partitioning. Sister partitioned systems. So then licensing does become an issue in how do we take that on-prem customer perpetual license and convert it into something that they can consume as they go, because people are used to that with Amazon and other technologies.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability and scalability is why you invest in IBM i. You don't have issues. Like any organization, we have some other applications that run on non-IBM i stuff and to say that it's as reliable - it's not. With IMB i you know it's there, you don't even think about, "Is the server available? Is my application available?" It's always available. 

    I travel around visiting hundreds of customers every year and it's the same story. We don't have a problem. I was at a customer a couple weeks ago and they talked about that IBM i had been running for over a decade without any outage, until somebody was in the back room moving some wires around, a new electrician in the company, and they accidentally turned off the wrong switch. And then they had some outage. 

    But it's human error that causes the problem. It's not the system itself, it's not the operating system or the hardware that's a problem. 

    What was our ROI?

    Going from POWER7 to POWER8, the big thing to me is it's not even necessarily the performance, it's the capability of virtualizing, more easily done through some of the different technologies that we have so it can spin up new environments more easily.

    What other advice do I have?

    Today's world is more about the applications that we have. So, the challenge for the IBM i customer is staying up with time. We have to modernize. We've been talking about it for years - modernizing the applications - so that when my daughter or my son comes and works for you, they're working on a browser type interface. They're not using a green screen interface. That's probably the biggest challenge for IBM i customers. 

    To a certain extent that's probably true in AIX too. We don't have enough of the web user, graphical-type interfaces that are on this platform that keep people around because they think green screen, they think old. Reality is, they might be running a green screen but the infrastructure behind it is POWER8, running SAN storage, SSD, flash technology. It's probably virtualized and they don't even realize it. But it's quite a powerful system and quite a highly modernized system in the background.

    Linux on POWER is another good opportunity for customers because all of a sudden you wake up one day and you have 500 Intel-based Linux servers in your datacenter and if only you would have known that you could have invested in one POWER server, or two POWER servers, and scale that down to only a few instances of Linux on POWER. Think about the power. To me it's just simple math. Whenever you have 2,000 or 500 or 300 servers trying to manage a business, there's just more that's going to go wrong. And so if you can scale up with the Linux on POWER, that's the way to go.

    Regarding the OpenPOWER Foundation, at first I was kind of skeptical. I thought, "Okay, well what does that mean to an IBM i customer or an AIX customer?" But what it means is that IBM is spending an enormous amount of time working on technology that's going to take us and make things like artificial intelligence, and the Watson, and all those things a little more commonplace. 

    And for all organizations, we all have more information than what we know what to do with. If we can better harvest that and predict our customers' trends and purchases, were going to be so much farther ahead than the competition. And if you're doing it on IBM i you'll be able to do that with a fairly small cost of ownership, to get into some really big super-computer type technology to do that. 

    So the open source thing as part of that brings on some new players that are helping IBM to invest. Obviously IBM is a business and if they're buying up POWER9, and if I have to wait for a POWER9 processor because some large open-source type consortium partner is buying that POWER9 technology, that's good for IMB i and AIX customers because it makes the POWER server itself a very viable economic decision for IBM too.

    It's unfortunate, market wise, POWER is not known as well. But the total cost of ownership, IBM's done a great job of lowering the price to entry and then the scalability, security, and reliability. I mean it's second to none in the IT world.

    Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    it_user523146
    Technical Resource Manager at a engineering company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Enables us to fairly dynamically add resources to the servers, to the LPARS, as we need them

    What is most valuable?

    The threading, the portability through LPM, the ability for it to easily migrate between the environments, and the power of the chip. The flexibility of the chip, we found pretty nice.

    We have the ability to fairly dynamically add resources to the servers, to the LPARS, as we need them; I don't know that other systems have that flexibility. At least from what I've seen.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It would be the efficiency of the chip, the ability to handle a phenomenal amount of load for not a lot of money. At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to.

    What needs improvement?

    What I'd like to see would be more of a usage-based licensing model. COD got close, but you still have to buy the basic things, and you can't turn them off really well. Then they came out with being able to use it for 30 days. After that, you might as well just buy the processor.

    It would be nice to each month go through and say, "Okay. This is what we're using," pay for it, true up, and be much more like that cloud-ish type thing with an on-prem. With all the benefits of being on-prem.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Excellent. They're usually knowledgeable.

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

    I inherited it. We use it because it's been performing well. In our world, we essentially have POWER systems or Intel-based applications, and we generally find the compute and the processing power, and the ability to handle the load, is far better on the POWER systems.

    How was the initial setup?

    In terms of upgrades, we've gone through multiple iterations. It was complex, but it was intuitive. We have an AIX team. They were able to upgrade the environment. Stand up the new environment. We were able to use LPM to migrate the load over from the old POWER7 to POWER8. It worked pretty well.

    What was our ROI?

    We don't really measure because we lease the system, so we have a natural opportunity. I would expect that if we went back and we tracked the performance per dollar spent, we would see a return on investment improvement.

    What other advice do I have?

    We have two POWER E850s and one E870. Most of our transactional systems, engineering, they're mostly out-of-the-box applications. PeopleSoft, Siebel, engineering applications.

    I consider IBM to be a market leader in the server sector. They need to keep creating a price-effective system that competes with commodity hardware, which I believe they've done so far.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user756282
    Technical Architect
    Vendor
    LPM is very helpful in our environment and our customers are happy with the performance

    What is most valuable?

    The new thing which we have brought is LPM. Although it was available with POWER7 as well, but that does help us out a lot.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Honestly, the customer is always happy if he gets good performance.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to have some stats where the CPU is getting utilized and to see how much of the actual CPU I'm using. It's like hypervisor stats which I should be getting.

    Also, if I could get a similar thing on a cloud, so I could switch from cloud to datacenter, datacenter to cloud. It should have that flexibility somewhere.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    About three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No, we've never had any issue in terms of stability. It's always better. We don't see unexpected outages. So, that's the best thing.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    It's good. We normally have them for problems with the hard drive, and for the software it is also fine.

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

    Some of our colleagues that attended the conferences, they were excited about the new features, that's the reason we brought the POWER8 into our system.

    How was the initial setup?

    I don't think we know IBM initial setup because we have some colleagues working for a long time and they have much experience with this kind of set up.

    It was straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We have done testing with Intel, we have done testing with POWER, and the performance we were getting with POWER is actually very good compared to what we were getting on the other systems. So that's the actual background.

    What other advice do I have?

    Majorly, what we have is on POWER8. We have POWER systems, we others for development and testing, environment hosted, but all the production is majorly on POWER8.

    Currently, I see IBM as a market leader in the server sector. And I see, there are a lot of other options that are coming, such as cloud-based, AWS and the like. We are people who like to test and see if we keep the same thing for a longer period on the market.

    To continue to be a market leader, I personally think IBM should be on the cloud, more in the cloud space. That is something that they should do much faster now.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user756276
    Manager at a media company with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    We see a big difference in the processing for JDE 9.1, it's faster; and the system is always up

    What is most valuable?

    Faster. We use JDE 9.1, and from the time that we started using the POWER8 hardware and processors, we could see a big difference in the processing for the JDE 9.1.

    How has it helped my organization?

    From an IT perspective, on my side of the systems, we don't have the JDE CNC team down on us all the time trying to blame everything on the system running too slow. Now they can't blame it on us because everything's so fast, they're just amazed by it.

    We're in oil and gas and I think, right now, we're on the top of our competitors with the systems that we've had. From some of the other companies I've talked to, they're still using old IBM systems or they've gone to other platforms.

    What needs improvement?

    The CPU. It could always get faster. Pricing's always an issue - with every company; it could always be better.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    A year and a half, roundabout.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    On a scale of one to 10 - I've been doing this for 30 year's - I'd give it a ten, being the best. They're always there. They're always available. When the other platforms are going down, and they're working on them all the time, mine's always up. When the other platforms are having security issues, no one's getting into mine.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Very good. Sometimes.

    I have one thing that I have a problem with, it's when they outsourced everything to India. I would rather have gum surgery than get on the phone and talk to somebody to try to put me with a technical consultant. Whenever I do get someone who picks up the phone here in the USA, I think, "This is going to go quick." It just never does when I get someone else, and my colleagues feel the same way.

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

    We were using the POWER7 and moved up to the POWER8, because our contract was running out and we got a pretty good deal to move up to POWER8 hardware.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was complex. We had IBM lab services come do it for us rather than our business partner, and it went well.

    What was our ROI?

    We see a return on investment from the move to POWER8.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Only IBM, for now.

    What other advice do I have?

    We're using POWER8 with IBM i.

    It let's me work more efficiently. Keeps me around a lot longer.

    I consider IBM to be market leader in servers. To remain a market leader in the servers sector they need to keep doing what they're doing. I think they're going in the right direction.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user756273
    Admin
    Vendor
    Backups and data recovery work great; it actually helped us move up in market share in our industry

    Pros and Cons

    • "The backups work great, data recovery works great."
    • "Everyone likes speed. Not that speed has been an issue up until now but you can never be too fast."

    What is most valuable?

    The hardware keeps getting better. We're hoping for a POWER9 announcement here so we can try to roadmap what we're going to buy next.

    The backups work great, data recovery works great, and as far as customer innovations, they can connect to us, we can get them what they need, and it gives us the tools to give them what they need.

    How has it helped my organization?

    POWER8 was a huge upgrade. I think we had POWER6s before, and just the I/O and getting the information we need faster to the customers. We had a little saying of "one click, two seconds," get them what they needed, and POWER8 helped us get there to provide that for them.

    We're in the insurance industry and we actually moved up in our market share because of it. We started being able to make remote apps that our customers could get to. Then call on that backbone, of that system, and enter information, upload it to us, those types of things, all tied in, that we probably couldn't have done with the POWER6

    What needs improvement?

    That's why we came to the IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage Technical University conference, to see what's coming next, to see what we can maybe take advantage of.

    Speed. Everyone likes speed. Not that speed has been an issue up until now but you can never be too fast.

    I know we have some Windows stuff in-house and I know they have some data deduplication, so I want look at and see some of this newer stuff; we'll take advantage of that. It's something we'd like to see in POWER8. I know some people save stuff in two spots, and then it's four spots, and then it's in 400 spots. And how do you clean that up?

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been there ten years and they've been using it since before I started.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Absolutely none. No issues. I think we added some hard drive space. I was scared at first because I didn't know - I came from a Windows side of the world - thinking, "This is going to be end of days," and it was a none issue. It was really easy.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    They're great. They answer the phone, they call me back. Sometimes I get busy and forget to email them back, and they remind me, "Hey, are you still having problems? We're here, whatever you need." And, they're pretty fast, pretty responsive.

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

    The DB2 for the database is our backbone of our system, we run off that for everything, so that's what brought us to POWER. Our web servers point to it, our mapping servers point to it for mapping solutions. Everything points to that and it's what we run off of.

    How was the initial setup?

    The upgrade from POWER6 was really, really simple. We upgraded the operating system and just did a backup and a restore, or a backup off the old hardware, restore onto the new.

    What was our ROI?

    I don't get to look at most of that. It's kind of above my pay scale, but from my understanding, from what I've heard through the grapevine, ROI is there.

    What other advice do I have?

    We have the POWER8 boxes currently, we have four of them with IBM i OS installed. We currently have two sites and they kind of mirror each other, and then we also use the IBM's Lotus Domino installation for our email.

    I gave it a nine out of 10 because no one's perfect; and it's not free. But you also get what you pay for.

    I consider IBM a market leader for servers, absolutely, hands down. For our business, we'll probably never not have an IBM box in-house. And I know we just keep doing more and more with it. They keep putting more and more features into it, more stuff for us to take advantage of. I don't know why we would go elsewhere.

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