Depending on when you read this, you are either seeing the final days of support for the IBM Power7 or that milestone is in your rear view mirror. December 31, 2020 is/was the day IBM finally ended support for all IBM Power7 machines.
The change comes as no surprise. Power7 and Power7+ servers have been around since 2010 and 2012 respectively and IBM long ago published the end-of-life dates. But that doesn’t mean many businesses aren’t scrambling to find a solution. HelpSystems‘ 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey shows that 15 percent of IBM i shops are still running Power6 servers, and 38 percent are running Power7 gear.
What do you do if you’re running Power7 servers (or older)?
With the end of hardware support, businesses are forced to make a decision. Knowing the right option for your business depends on a number of factors, such as your software requirements, access to expertise and capital, and long-term strategy for the business.
Just upgrading hardware? Buy Power9 or move to the cloud
If your current software environment is meeting your needs and will likely continue to do so as your business grows into 2021, you just need to figure out the best way to upgrade your hardware platform. For this, there are two primary approaches: You can purchase newer hardware, such as IBM’s Power9 series. Or, you can decide to skip the capital expense and bring your hardware to the cloud, with a provider like Racksquared.
As we’ve covered elsewhere, moving your core IBM infrastructure to the cloud comes with a number of benefits – such as reducing your capital expenses, giving you 24/7/365 access to increasingly-rare IBM expertise and boosting your disaster recovery capabilities. But making the move still requires lots of consideration and planning, which is something we can help you with, too.
Extend your hardware with a third-party Vendor
If none of that sounds ideal, many businesses opt to extend the life of their IBM iron by working with a third-party maintenance company (TPM) to cover and protect their Power7 or older generation servers.
Again, this option has pros and cons that need to be considered in light of your larger business needs. A TPM can help delay a time-intensive and complicated migration to new hardware or the cloud, at a time when businesses are struggling and dealing with inordinate amounts of chaos. But it’s certainly just a Band-Aid solution – one that delays the inevitable. And it’s also a costly one, at that. Businesses working with TPMs frequently pay hefty premiums for the privilege of maintaining outdated machinery.
Going it alone (without a safety net)
There’s one last option – and although it is exceedingly rare, it does happen. When a business finds out their IBM hardware has gone end of support, they decide to just do… nothing. According to IT Jungle, businesses fall into this category for a variety of reasons, including not having the capital to upgrade; not having the appetite to navigate complex licensing changes; or having an unrealistic timeframe for migrating off of IBM to Windows.
While the trend is rare, it’s also intensely risky. If your IBM hardware breaks down and you have no support, you could be staring down extremely-costly, drawn-out delays to get your business back up and running. How long could your business survive if its core applications went offline, due to an avoidable hardware upgrade requirement?
Getting advice and making the right decision
Racksquared has a team of experienced IBM Power and IBM i experts who can walk you through your options and help you select the most impactful and strategic path forward. Whether it’s migrating your IBM Power to the cloud or understanding your upgrade path, we can help. Simply get in touch with us today or visit our IBM Solutions homepage to learn more.