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Introducing IBM i System Subscription

IBM has introduced the IBM i System Subscription, designed for affordability and simplicity. Get insights on this latest announcement from IBM’s Dylan Boday.

You don’t need to be told that the IBM i community, and its client base, are unique. For starters, the IBM i OS and Power Systems hardware run in some massive corporate IT environments worldwide. In terms of their size and influence, these large customers are obviously important to IBM.

Of course, there’s another set of IBM i clients that exists on the opposite end of this spectrum—and, for all practical purposes, in another world. Many of these clients run their entire business on a single box. Many have little to no in-house IT staff. A single employee may be responsible for maintaining that box, that responsibility being just one entry on a lengthy list of job duties that generally fall outside of computer operations. But because there are thousands of these installations, these clients, in terms of their vast numbers among various other reasons, are also obviously important to IBM.

And it is this unique set of clients that stands to initially benefit from this week’s significant IBM announcement: the introduction of the IBM i System Subscription.

The System Subscription bundle consists of new Power10 hardware—an S1014 server running one active IBM i core, loaded with software from the P05 tier, and operating on-premise—coupled with access to IBM client support and problem resolution/proactive problem avoidance services.

IBM’s Dylan Boday, vice president, Product Management, Hybrid Cloud, Systems and AI, describes the System Subscription as an “as a service (aaS) IT solution.”

“It is a cloud-like experience: You sign up for the bundle over the terms, and you get capacity on-prem,” he says. “I view it as Platform as a Service (PaaS), because I think about it as the database, integrated with IBM i, with the customer just needing to bring their application on top.”

Built for Affordability and Simplicity

IBM i System Subscription is designed for affordability as well as simplicity. As Boday points out, on a per-user basis, the bundle runs around a $50-55 per month list price—typically less than what you’d pay for your smartphone plan. The plan is billed annually, with clients allowed to choose initial subscription terms of three, four, or five years, with renewal options of one or more years. Payment terms and price do not change over the duration of the subscription, making it easier for the business to make and carry out its planning. But as new technology becomes available, clients can update their subscription at any yearly interval.

The support options are also a critical component of the System Subscription. Through this offering, one-box IBM i shops will now receive access to advanced levels IBM support that was once limited to multinational, multi-conglomerate clients housing hundreds of servers. IBM i System Subscription features:

  • 24-7 support, including 30-minute response times for Sev 1-2 events
  • Remote code load of firmware
  • Recommendations on OS updates/upgrade planning

In addition, IBM i System Subscription provides for case monitoring and engagement, and problem avoidance assistance in the form of code-level assessments, communication of planned events to appropriate support team analysts and more.

Illuminating IBM i Businesses

Throughout the process of crafting the System Subscription solution, Boday admits that the feedback that IBM solicited and received from small and midsize (SMB) IBM i businesses was illuminating.

“Some light bulbs went on for us is how I would describe it,” he says. “Most of our customers, they want variable capacity and the economics associated with that along with everything else. These small customers—who are betting their business on IBM i—naturally they want that great capacity and great capability, and they want to maintain technology currency. However, they want to remain on-prem, efficient, secure and available. And they prefer a set capacity that they know will work for them, along with a consistent payment that won’t vary over time.”

He adds: “We’re extending the simplicity and robustness of Power and the capabilities of IBM i, and the integration of that all into a single subscription offering. We’re meeting our clients where their challenges are. Now they can focus their resources on other high-value projects elsewhere within the business, because we’re taking care of much of their IT environment for them.”