----- Original Message ----- From: "John Jones" <chianime@xxxxxxxxx>
To: "Midrange Systems Technical Discussion" <midrange-l@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: Server consolidation


So no one in Maine teaches SQL, C, or Java? Must be sad times in New
England.

Okay let me rephrase that. There are no colleges teaching any of the stuff we are using. There used to a time many years ago when a small community college in Northern Maine used to teach students about the IBM i (AS/400) platform. This is the college I graduated from over 20 years ago. To the best of my knowledge they don't offer any kind of a programming degree. We have a lot of "green screen" application written in RPG. I've heard a lot of people say RPG is not dead, but if they're not teaching it in any of the colleges then who's going to be around to maintain all the legacy code when the dinosaurs like me start retiring? We do have a growing amount of web applications written in EGL. Granted IBM offers free online education for EGL but I don't think it's anything they're teaching at the college level. We also have a fair amount of reports written in BIRT. It probably doesn't help that both my manager and a lot of the upper management don't understand what an IBM i can do. The current IT manager took over when the previous manager retired. The previous IT manager knew a lot about the IBM i and could speak for some of it's capabilities. The current IT Manager is the former PC / LAN administrator and doesn't really care too much for the IBM i. When you mention things such as sever consolidation to him using an IBM i he won't talk about it and would rather have a room full of less dependable PC servers. It's like I'm the only one left that is an advocate for the IBM i and there is still a fair amount about the systems side of things that I don't know because my background is in programming.


On a more serious note, if they're replacing 1 520 with n Windows systems
for an "internal cloud" I'd be hard pressed to see where/how they'll be any
cost savings. Every Windows server will need an OS license, anti-malware
software, monthly updates, a hardened configuration, and various other
bits. If the app is subject to HIPAA or PCI then every server will most
likely also need monitoring and logging tools (normally licensed per
server). This may also make audits take longer (with auditors being paid by
the hour) since the environment is more complicated. Networking is more
complicated. Data center space/heat/power may be greater.


I would agree with that. HIPAA is a big issue and concern to us. I would say that probably a good share of the PC based applications we have now are not HIPAA compliant while a lot of the programs we have on our IBM i are because we've enabled journaling on a lot of our data files and tables.

Of course, if you're truly going cloud and using a service provider for
everything then there is a potential for savings. But of course processes
will have to be retooled to fit the provider's offerings v. how you're doing
business today.


I think they're going to find that there is going to be certain limitations on what the new systems can do and how much of our current data their going to be able to import into the new systems. For that one reason they may find that they'll have to keep the IBM i a lot longer in order to archive some of the historical data we have. There has been some talk about looking at an IBM i cloud solution or having a vendor host an IBM i for us.

I think your director needs to play golf with a different group of buddies
and/or read different mags in flight.

I was told by my manager that the Exec Director has a "buddy" who works for a hospital in California some where and they switched to cloud computing so that is where he got the bright idea. I guess it doesn't matter that were not a hospital and that were a community based agency providing Home Health and Behavioral health services. While both types of business fall under "healthcare" they are totally different in some ways. The services we provide are different and a lot of our funding is different. I just get the feeling they're making a big mistake. Why dump a system that has been dependable and reliable for all these year. I feel their mentality is if we don't understand it then let's get rid of it. Heck even Microsoft has commercials where they say "to the cloud". Also with a canned systems they're not going to be able to make enhancements like they can now with the in house developed programs we have. Also when bugs crop up and you know they will they'll be at the mercy of the vendor to fix them on their own schedule. A consultant told them they could get rid of the IBM i in 6 months. It's been a year now, and they still haven't purchased any new server hardware or a single software package, yet meanwhile our IBM i is getting older and we're still on V5R4.


On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 8:41 PM, Michael Soucy
<michaelsoucy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

I'm wondering if anyone out there has done a server consolidation using an
IBM i or Power system. The company I work for has an IBM i5 model 520 which
they want to completely get rid of. The IBM will be replaced with a bunch
of Windows servers and all of the in house developed software will be
replaced by canned Windows software. The Executive Director has it in his
head that he wants to move to "Cloud Computing" to save money. As it is now
it looks like we may be going with an internal cloud. The reasoning for
moving away from the IBM i is none of the colleges in the state of Maine are
teaching anything about IBM midrange platforms, so the future doesn't seem
to be with the IBM i or Power system. Another reason is all the canned
software that is out there for our industry (Healthcare) is all windows
based. Would the agency save any money if they looked at server
consolidation with say a Power 7 system? If so, where can I find out more
about it and any possible cost !
benefits? I tell you I'm going to miss our IBM i when it goes.

Michael Soucy
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John Jones, CISSP
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