Watch IBM i Chief Architect, Steve Will, discuss the future of the IBM i in this exclusive recorded webinar.

Steve Will is the Chief Architect for the IBM i operating system. Steve has worked on IBM i and its predecessors since before the creation of the AS/400, and is currently responsible for setting the strategy of the IBM i operating system, as well as deciding which enhancements will be implemented.

He is an award-winning speaker, author of one of the most popular IBM i blogs ("You and i" -, and is one of the most sought-after voices at customer briefings and events.

The challenges faced by midsize businesses remain daunting. Yet as signs of economic recovery emerge, IT spending by these businesses is increasing. Technology continues to offer the potential for greater competitiveness, improved efficiency and higher productivity. The technology value equation is, however, becoming broader. In most industries, organizations continue to upgrade core business systems and expand in e-commerce, while seeking to exploit new waves of analytics, mobile, cloud and social media technology. Adoption of next-generation technologies has been driven by fundamental business trends. More complex business environments have led to unprecedented growth in analytics. Demand from customers, partners and inhouse staff has made use of mobile devices routine. Growth in social media has obliged businesses to follow their customers into new channels. Cloud computing offers new opportunities to reduce IT costs, accelerate solution delivery and increase flexibility of deployment.

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In representative installations in midsize manufacturing, distribution and retail companies, three-year IT costs for use of IBM i 7.2 and Power Systems average 45 percent less than for use of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014, and 51 percent less than for x86 Linux servers and Oracle databases.

Figure 1 summarizes these results.

Figure 1: Overall Three-year Costs by Platform – Averages for All Installations

Costs included hardware acquisition and maintenance; license and support costs for operating systems, databases and other systems software; personnel costs for system and database administration; and facilities (primarily energy) costs. Hardware, maintenance and software license and support costs are based on discounted prices reported by users.

Installations are composites based on input from 42 midsize businesses employing IBM i on Power Systems, Windows servers or x86 Linux servers in manufacturing, distribution and retail companies. Companies ranged from $300 million to $1.65 billion in revenues, and employed 500 to more than 5,000 people.

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Costs of Downtime

IT costs are only part of the picture. The ability to maintain high levels of availability and security also has major bottom-line implications.

It is a truism that downtime costs money. In world of globalization, Internet and mobile commerce, and social media interaction, 24/7 availability has become the norm for a growing number of systems.

The impact not only of unplanned (i.e., accidental) outages, but also of repeated planned outages for tasks such as software updates and scheduled maintenance may be substantial. Operations may be disrupted, orders and shipments delayed, and a wide range of other activities affected. Customers may be alienated and business lost.

Costs of downtime have been widely documented for core business as well as e-commerce systems. In some industries, they are clearly increasing. Among businesses that operate tightly integrated, lean supply chains, for example, there is growing evidence that disruptions at any point may cascade rapidly through the entire supply chain. The effects may continue to be felt long after service has been restored.

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