• Subject: Performance solutions through hardware
  • From: MacWheel99@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 14:05:56 EDT

Here's an idea for folks doing a BPCS version upgrade, in which there is a 
strong suspicion that a bigger box is needed & that management might be 
downplaying expectations due to sticker shock - hope you don't mind me 
passing on this news item.

IBM is so confident in the performance of the AS/400e for enterprise 
resource planning (ERP) that it will upgrade for free any new system 
that doesn't perform as predicted.

"A lot of customers might be hesitant to go to an ERP solution 
because it's a fundamental change for their entire way of doing 
business," says Jeff Trachy, IBM AS/400 Brand ERP strategist. "We 
want to make our customers feel more comfortable about implementing 
that kind of change."

This new program, called the ERP Performance Protection Plan, 
guarantees that an AS/400e running any of the big four ERP apps --
Intentia, J.D. Edwards, SAP, or SSA -- will be able to handle the 
anticipated business workload during the first two years, or IBM will 
upgrade the box's memory, DASD, and/or processor for free.

IBM chose these four ERP vendors to participate in the program 
initially because they lead the AS/400 market in ERP revenue and 
sales volume. But IBM's ERP sizing program -- in which all these 
vendors participate -- also played an important role in the vendor 
selection. For IBM to guarantee a workload, it must first size the 
system to ensure the box can handle that workload. Eventually, IBM 
hopes to extend the plan to all of the 13 solutions offered pre-
installed on the custom AS/400s.

While ERP customers can join the plan for free, enrollment is not 
automatic. Customers must specifically ask IBM or their AS/400 dealer 
for the plan, and they must also buy prerequisite services and 
software, including a service line contract, PM/400 performance 
monitor software, and a preproduction performance evaluation. These 
prereqs, Trachy says, will ensure that the box is sized correctly and 
running as predicted.

"What we're interested in here is really not in providing remedies 
for our customers," Trachy says, "but we're interested in sizing it 
correctly the first time, providing our customers with an additional 
level of assurance that IBM will stand behind the implementations on 
our platform. You're going to have the trust and confidence in our 

IBM Business Partners will guide customers through a selection 
process to find the specific hardware configuration that will support 
their anticipated workload for the next two years. During this sizing 
process, IBM and/or the Business Partner will specify a certain CPU 
utilization, and if the system differs substantially from that once 
it's up and running, IBM will upgrade the system.

However, customers buying under the plan may get a larger system than 
the minimum required to run a particular workload. This is because, 
under the terms of the plan, you must be able to upgrade in the same 
processor series. For example, a 720 4-way would have no room to 
grow, so IBM would recommend a 730.

For more information, see http://www.as400.ibm.com/news/protect.htm .
-- Cheryl Ross, NEWS/400 Industry Reporter
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