AS/400e Dedicated to Domino

IBM's AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino brings to the AS/400 market more than a new look; it delivers an unprecedented level of price/performance for entry Domino environments and builds upon the success IT shops have experienced running Domino native on the AS/400.

Scheduled for availability on Sept. 24, 1999, the AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino will be distinguished from IBM's more traditional line of AS/400s not only by the yellow band across its façade but by its capacity to run multiple Domino applications on the same server footprint.

"Many, many customers have responded to the compelling value that Domino for AS/400 delivers," says Randy Grimm, AS/400 1999 announce program manager. "At the end of 1998, after less than 10 months on the market, Domino for the AS/400 was the second most popular platform for Domino. In the fourth quarter of 1998, Lotus survey results show that 28 percent of U.S. companies deploying Domino chose the AS/400 as their server platform." Additionally, at least 25 percent of AS/400s sold specifically for Domino went to customers that had never before owned an AS/400.

To keep ahead of the demand for Domino on the AS/400, IBM will offer the Dedicated Server for Domino in three new AS/400e Model 170 processor varieties. The 2407, which represents the smallest processor feature and is expected to be priced starting at $11,000, will target e-mail environments and users who want to get started with basic Domino applications. Priced starting at $16,500, the 2408 is the middle processor in the new line and is designed for typical Domino mail, plus heavier Domino applications. The largest processor, the two-way 2409--priced starting at $22,500--is designed to handle both Domino mail and much heavier Domino applications for many more users. The prices announced represent a base server configuration, which includes a RAID controller, extra memory and 4GB of disk.

The AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino is optimized to do one thing, and do it well. With the dedicated Domino server, IBM delivers two-to-three times the Domino workload price/performance, according to Grimm. "Each version of the Dedicated Server for Domino can handle several times the number of typical mail users as a regular processor model running Domino natively," he says.

On the Commercial Processing Workload (CPW) scale, however, the AS/400's traditional processor features deliver more for the money, with regard to versatility and overall performance, Grimm points out. "For customers, it comes down to what kind of computing resource they want to buy--one that's focused on Domino, or one that's capable of a mixture of many, many different workloads," he adds.

The dedicated Domino server will be particularly useful in environments where e-mail has become mission-critical and where users have implemented Domino applications to facilitate operations such as sales force automation, human resources or help desk, according to Kelly Schmotzer, worldwide groupware marketing segment manager for AS/400 brand.

Rather than running mail and other Domino-based applications on separate appliance servers, the AS/400e Dedicated Server for Domino enables users to take advantage of the AS/400's subsystem architecture. "When Domino was introduced, IBM was able to create Domino partitions on the AS/400. Each partition carries a separate Domino workload, operating in a protected subsystem," Schmotzer says, adding that these subsystems on the AS/400 contribute to the overall reliability of Domino on the platform.

The new dedicated server is expected to accomplish two things, according to Schmotzer. The first is to stop the proliferation of non-AS/400 Domino servers within AS/400 environments. "A lot of AS/400 users wish they had an AS/400 that price/performed for just Domino," she adds. The second will be to make "a dent" in the segment of customers who have not experienced high reliability in their network environments, leading to the creation of PC farms that require servers to be clustered and failed over.

At least one industry watcher views IBM's focus on Domino as a smart move from both a software and hardware perspective. "IS managers don't have time to become experts in every technological area, and anything companies can do--IBM included--that lowers the pain and lowers the training and cost of deploying an application is going to sit well with the IS manager," says Tim Sloane, managing director with Aberdeen Group Inc., a Boston-based IT research and consulting firm.

While an investment in a Dedicated Server for Domino requires a strong commitment to that application, Sloane points out there is a strong market today for IT appliances--e.g. network appliances, caching appliances, messaging mail appliances, etc. "Obviously, if you have a horizontal application that you're committed to, then you can start thinking about doing it as an appliance kind of play," he says. "And there are companies that are totally committed to Domino, and being able to have an appliance-like solution makes, sense."