In 2010, IBM introduced workload capacity to i 7.1. Workload capacity allowed administrators to define specific workloads that can be limited to only using x number of processors on a partition.
The idea is that if I’m running ad hoc queries on an i 7.1 machine, for example, I could assign my user queries to a workload capped subsystem that would limit the amount of system resources (including CPU) these queries could use. So I theoretically could set up a query subsystem that would be limited to only using 2 out of 4 processors assigned to my partition. This would prevent a batch-intensive query from consuming too much CPU, and keep it from disrupting my production environment.
Workload capacity allows you to expand your work management capabilities by allocating your processor resources to specific subsystems the same way you allocate memory resources to subsystems in pre-7.1 systems. In IBM terms, this creates sub-capacity workloads that are limited to the amount of resources they can use.
Here’s where it gets interesting as sub-capacity workloads meet sub-capacity pricing.
In his February 14th You and I blog post, Chief Architect for IBM i Steve Will mentioned that last week, ‘…IBM’s Software Group added IBM i “Workload Groups” to the list of virtualization technologies which qualify for sub-capacity pricing.’ This means that sometime soon, you may be able to get IBM pricing for licensed products according to the number of processors the product’s “Workload Group” is using, rather than the number of processors on the partition. I’m still waiting for more details, but this sounds very interesting from a pricing standpoint.
The other big question about this is whether third-party IBM i vendors will also start offering sub-capacity pricing. Some of these packages have pretty small footprints and don’t need a lot of processor power. It would be nice to pay licensing (and yearly software maintenance) for these products based on the amount of processor power they need rather than what’s on a partition. This could be a real boon if a third-party package was priced to only use one processor out of five on a Power 720 partition, rather than having to pay licensing for using all five processors. I could think of plenty of packages that could easily pull off much less than the total # of processors allocated to a partition.
To get the whole story, consult these three blogs/presentations.
- Dawn May’s original post about workload capping groups. This explains the technology.
- Steve Will’s February 14th post about Software Pricing with IBM i virtualization, which discusses how workload capping fits into IBM Software Group pricing
- IBM’s Passport Advantage Software Presentation on Licensing Count Rules for Sub-Capacity pricing for IBM i Workload Groups
If anyone has any information on sub-capacity pricing for IBM i licensed products or for IBM i third-party software, please feel free to email me or add a comment to this post.
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