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6 IBM i features that give it an edge

Here are the main features of IBM i, in response to critics who claim that IBM i is “old”.

He’s not “old”, he’s always ahead of the game. Last week, one of my customers confided in me that his network team leader thinks the IBM i is archaic. This network administrator also tells his management that his IBM i server is “old” and that he should replace it with modern technology (hint: Microsoft Windows). For him, it doesn’t matter that his company uses an ERP application that has been in place for 20 years and that works very well. When I hear nonsense like this, I remind customers of 6 IBM i features compared to other operating systems.

Translation of Bob Losey’s original article:

1- The IBM i is delivered pre-tested, pre-loaded and integrated with the IBM POWER server.

It may be some time since you installed your last IBM i server on POWER. Nevertheless, setting up a Windows cluster requires planning, Microsoft licenses and 20 to 60 hours or more of professional services for a basic ERP starting point for a small or medium-sized business. While Intel servers may appear to cost less than an IBM POWER server, the “savings” evaporate when you add the cost of software and configuration. I’ve seen former POWER customers switch to Windows only to spend $20-30,000 on Microsoft licenses and $20-40,000 on configuration. In some cases, even more so. All the savings expected with cheaper hardware were lost due to software licenses and professional services to configure the Intel server cluster.

2- IBM i is an object-based architectural design…

… which offers resistance to viruses by protecting the operating system code from modification (via hardware storage protection) and preventing the execution of executable instructions stored in a file, a common source of viruses. The IBM i also helps protect data from hackers with built-in intrusion detection and prevention, and features an audit log to track security changes and violations for easy compliance and auditing. We all know that Windows can’t make these statements.

3- IBM i offers reliable security with audit and compliance tools.

For companies using Windows and UNIX servers, managing security and viruses is a major challenge in terms of time and money. According to, the IBM i has a long history of a significant deficit of security consultants compared to Microsoft Windows Server and UNIX operating environments. A recent ITG study on the integrated security environment concluded that the IBM i provides companies with an unrivalled level of operating system security.

4- IBM i automatically manages and balances data storage on multiple disk drives.

Automated storage balancing optimizes performance and helps companies avoid reorganizing disk drives and defragmenting disks to reclaim unused space. This capability allows IBM i users to save users and reduce headcount compared with other operating systems. I have Windows users needing a full-time BDD expert / system engineer (around $60-80,000 per year) or a monthly service (in the range of $1-4,000 per month).

5- With hierarchical storage management, SSDs can help improve performance …

…long-term requests or batch jobs. The most active data can be automatically placed on SSDs, making it easier to take advantage of the faster I/O response times of SSDs. I have several customers with SSDs who have documented performance gains of 400% over their previous IBM POWER server with hard disks.

6- For uninterrupted growth and transition to new hardware

The IBM i has a technology-independent machine interface (TIMI) that provides a layer of protection between applications and hardware peripherals, such as processors and disks. Proven over many years and generations of technologies, TIMI protects applications from changes in hardware devices and processor technologies, enabling applications to be upgraded without recompilation. TIMI enables IBM i users to easily move their applications to new operating system or server versions. IBM i users don’t have to worry about switching to new technologies. Many people in the IT industry denigrate the IBM i because they don’t understand, or don’t try to understand, its strengths and how useful it is to their business. I encourage you to remind your teams and management of these 6 IBM i features. These features ensure system reliability, safety and performance, and save you money in the process.

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