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POWER > Systems Management > Performance

Take a Holistic View

Hardware Configuration

If your enterprise system has gotten more complex over the last few years, with new applications and users, it may be time to revisit your hardware configuration to optimize performance.

Companies benefit when they practice taking a holistic view of enterprise systems every two years or so, says Jaqui Lynch, a solutions architect and independent consultant. “In the past, systems may have been set up using best practices at the time, but these may not be the best practices anymore. Technologies change and businesses may need to adapt,” explains Lynch.

Getting a Better ROI

When clients evaluate what they have, they often find cost savings can be realized from moving to the latest hardware, according to Lynch. “Once a system comes out of its three-year maintenance agreement, for example, maintenance costs usually increase. And maintenance is a huge expense. Upgrading the hardware could eliminate a large chunk of that expense,” she adds.

“In the past, systems may have been set up using best practices at the time, but these may not be the best practices anymore. Technologies change and businesses may need to adapt.”
—Jaqui Lynch, solutions architect and independent consultant

For example, some enterprises may determine they’re paying too much for maintenance with an older model POWER6* system. They may be likely to realize a good business case to upgrade to POWER8*, because companies on the newer POWER* releases don’t have to deal with the maintenance issues or the higher power and cooling costs associated with the older technologies.

IBM clients can also realize software benefits. With POWER8, a company can run AIX* 7.2, the newest version, which lets them take advantage of advanced features, such as flash cache, that aren’t available with older POWER configurations.

Though obvious improvements exist for implementing the latest technologies, organizations don’t always need the latest OS to experience upgrade benefits. It’s possible, though not optimal, to run AIX 5.3 on POWER8, for example.

Some IT professionals may be frustrated if it seems the standard answer to resolve a service interruption or performance degradation is to upgrade their firmware or OS.

However, sometimes an upgrade may be all an organization needs to fix a persistent issue. “I once had a client with a hardware problem that was really killing their performance,” Lynch says.

“I looked at their firmware and realized it was eight levels back. Three levels above where they were, the problem they had was addressed.” Once the client made the upgrade, the problem went away and performance improved significantly.

When an organization waits too long to address a minor issue, however, it can lead to a major problem. For example, a previous firmware issue could have been resolved with an upgrade to level v810. But v810 is now withdrawn, Lynch says. A company would need to upgrade to v860 to resolve the issue. “The company wouldn’t just be looking at the routine firmware update that was originally required. Instead, the company would have to change releases, and that’s disruptive,” she adds.

Meg Woods writes about technology and innovation for enterprises.



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