T’is the season of discounts, and it apparently applies to the zEnterprise as much as it does to holiday gifts. This deal, however, does not appear to end with the holiday. DancingDinosaur supports anything IBM does to lower enterprise data center costs.
Here’s the deal: migrate competitive workloads to the zEnterprise Blade Center Extension (zBX) and you can receive up to six zBX Power or x86 blades for free. So, replace 2, 4, even 6 HP UX or Linux Systems or x86 servers (remember, there are now Windows blades) and receive an equal number of free Power or x86 blades to run in the zBX. The deal focuses on HP, but IBM staff says it applies to Oracle/Sun systems too. Given a $5000 cost for low end x86 blades, that could amount to a $30,000 discount on top of whatever other discounts IBM will throw in. For high end, more richly configured blade replacements it could come to much more.
Of course, you need a zEnterprise (z196 or z114) and to buy a new zBX to cash in on this. But, if you took a deeply discounted System z under the IBM Solution Edition program you could get in at a bargain price. And if your choice was a z114, IBM also is offering the DS8800 storage system for the z114 at an attractive entry price.
The deals are being offered under IBM’s Freedom by Design program. IBMer Paulo Carvao details the blade offer here in a presentation titled System z: Delivering on the Promise of Smarter Computing. Check out slide #15.
Even without free blades, the z makes an attractive consolidation play. According to IBM you can consolidate an average of 30 distributed servers or more on a single z114 core, or hundreds in a single footprint. In effect, you can deliver a virtual Linux server for approximately $500 per year, which works out to be as little as $1.45 per day per virtual server. If you are consolidating Oracle servers, the savings in Oracle licensing costs alone would cover a big chunk of the investment.
A dearth of zBX blade performance data, however, has slowed zBX adoption for some. A little performance data, however, has started to trickle in. For instance, some recent results came from an Italian company that moved its SAP workload to POWER7 blades on a zBX. It was able to boost bill processing from 60K per hour to 430K per hour, better than a 7x increase.
In general, IBM blade performance in the zBX should be the same as the performance in its standard blade centers. Actually, it might be a little better since the consolidated zEnterprise-zBX combination can cut down the number of network hops in some situations. And IBM insists zBX blades are priced competitively like its standard IBM blades. And then there are the free blades with a competitive upgrade, with which no one will quibble.
While on the subject of zEnterprise deals, the regular prices of specialty engines continues to be a MIPS bargain, delivering more MIPS for the money than earlier versions. One customer used the increased MIPS from zEnterprise specialty engines to reduce the number of cores the company bought, which resulted in a substantially lower acquisition cost with no reduction in overall MIPS. With the right workloads, this is a very effective cost saving strategy.