If you’re looking to reduce acquisition costs on your next Power systems machine, be sure to look at IBM i Solution Edition boxes.
IBM i Solution Edition boxes are specially packaged and priced Power 720 and 740 machines that can only be purchased in combination with third-party applications from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). Through the program, if you already own one of the ISV’s packages or are purchasing a package with a new machine, IBM offers a discount for the Power systems hardware that will run your software.
How to qualify
IBM has specific conditions on qualifying for these machines. First, the machine must be purchased with a Solutions Edition feature code, so both you and your business partner must be aware of the program, as it will be hard to go back and claim the discount after a n0n-Solutions Edition machine is ordered.
Second, you must buy a new server. It can’t be an MES upgrade.
Third, the Power hardware purchase discount is contingent on purchasing software licenses or yearly software maintenance for the qualifying ISV product. Training from a qualified vendor can also count towards your discount. Your qualifying software purchase must be above a specific dollar value, ranging from $6,500 for the Power 720 express machine up to $60,000 for the Power 740 machines. Qualifying software includes packages from ERP vendors, utility vendors, high availability vendors, and other popular packages.
See the Solution Editions Website for a list of qualifying vendors and packages.
Finally, you have to be careful when you make the qualifying software purchase. To get the discount, your qualifying purchase must be made within 90 days before or after you purchase your Solution Editions machine. And IBM will want proof of purchase. So time your hardware and software purchases carefully, especially if you’re using yearly maintenance to justify the discount.
What you get with a Solution Edition machine
Using this program, you can get a number of different features for free or at a greatly discounted price, including:
- Some no charge processor core activations, which IBM usually charges a couple of $1ks for each activation
- Two IBM i operating system licenses (IBM i processor core elements) when you buy the 740 machine. IBM used to throw in a free OS for the 720 machines but they have recently changed the program to eliminate this. This is a big deal as OS licenses can run above $40K depending on your business partner. See my post on how much an IBM i OS license can cost for comparison.
- Default unlimited i Access user entitlements for IBM i Access users
- 1-3 Rational Development licenses
- A half-day to a day’s service vouchers from IBM or its business partners. These can come in handy when upgrading your machine.
Overall, it’s a good deal but you may have to talk to your business partner about it. Click here for a complete list of the benefits associated with the IBM i Solution Editions program.
The biggest problem with these machines is that they are only available on the low-end of the Power system line. IBM doesn’t offer Solution Edition machines on higher-end machines such as the Power 750, 760, and 770 machines. Solution Editions are targeted more at the mid-market user. So if you fit into that target demographic, they can be a good deal. It would be nice if IBM offered an edition for large-machine users but like so many other things such as processor activation, it’s more expensive to buy a larger machine. However, IBM may offer other programs specifically targeted at this market so ask your business partner about these.
The second downside is that while this is a permanent program, IBM does change it from time to time. One example is the removal of the free operating system license it used to offer for the Power 720 machines (bummer). So assume this offer is subject to change before you buy and re-evaluate purchasing a Solutions Editions box as close to your purchase date, as possible.