To those pointing out that you can get a very capable i to run lots of
stuff that would otherwise run on multiple commodity servers:
That's all well and good, but in my experience, it is common to have
multiple platforms anyway. Where I work, we have a relatively small i
as well as a host of other machines. Would it be easier to administer
a large i rather than the complex ecosystem we have? Almost
undoubtedly. But the upfront cost would be astronomical for a company
our size. Not just in dollars but in time and headache.
Now, I can't say that we are in a position to abandon the i either.
But would it be easier/cheaper to migrate non-i stuff to i, or to
migrate i stuff to non-i? Both of these are painful (and perhaps
impossible for many companies), but it *feels* like moving toward the
i is moving toward lock-in, and moving away from the i is moving
toward greater freedom (interchangeability, scalability, software
choices, etc., etc., etc.).
I stress that it *feels* like that. Maybe it wouldn't feel like that
if IBM made their case better. There is a strong association not only
of i with green-screen, but also of i with OS/400 and its descendants
(sorry I don't know the proper name). I know at some point there was
a split between Power hardware and the i OS, but this is not well
known and the implications of this are not well understood.
(Especially outside the i community, but even to a large extent within
For example, it's not completely clear to me whether you're "supposed"
to run both native i and *nix stuff on the same box. If the answer is
yes, then is the *nix stuff "supposed" to be run on PASE or
"natively"? If PASE, then is there an answer for the porting hassles
and apparently sluggish performance? If "natively" then are there
options other than AIX, and do these perform as well as commodity
boxes? If the i is somehow "managing" disparate platforms on the same
box, surely there is some kind of performance overhead for this? Is
the benefit just the reduced number of boxes to manage, or is there
some kind of interoperability improvement (like shared storage, or
somehow better communication between a native i program and a native
*nix program on the same box)?
For all I know, there are great answers to these and other questions
that come up whenever people talk about the i. If there are, they
should be pushed out there much, much more vigorously.