Challenges and Solutions

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.

Certain things, however, do not change. Companies still require systems that run core business processes securely and predictably. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and equivalent core systems remain the backbone of IT infrastructures – and as new technologies are deployed, their role becomes more, not less significant.

Analytics tools draw heavily upon customer, operational and financial data generated by core systems. Mobile solutions interact with them, and this is also the case when social media support such functions as ordering, inventory availability queries and account services. Most cloud deployments in midsize businesses complement and interface to core systems.

The quality and functionality of core systems – and of the platforms they run on – have ripple effects that may extend across entire application portfolios. If quality of service is impaired, processes across organizations may be impacted. If core systems are expensive to deploy and operate, fewer resources will be available to meet new technology challenges.

This report deals with these issues. Specifically, it compares the IBM i operating system deployed on POWER8-based systems with two alternatives: Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014, and x86 Linux servers with Oracle Database 12c.

There are sharp distinctions between IBM i 7.2 and Power Systems, and these alternatives. Architectures and software environments are significantly different. IBM i 7.2 and Power Systems are optimized to deliver levels of availability and security that are – by wide margins – higher than those of Windows and x86 Linux servers. Risk exposure is correspondingly less.