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March 13, 2012


Satid S.

One strength of running SAP on IBM i, and thus DB2 for i, is the powerful Statistics-based System-wide Index Advisor tool that was available in DB2 for i V5R4. This tool makes it more efficient than in the previous releases to identify and create useful "missing" indexes for large tables that DB2 engine is looking for more effient run-time improvement.

Over the past 5-6 years, I have been using this System-wide Index Advisor tool to create many useful indexes for SQL-based applications on DB2 for i in only one or a few days that delivered much faster overall application run-time performance, for example 2-hour operation came down to 15 minutes or a 5-minute transaction down to 15 seconds with indexes identified by this tool.

This benefit translates to investment saving in HW upgrade for better application performance.


We just implemented Lawson on a Windows platform instead of an IBM i. Huge mistake! Most unstable App we have.


Another strength of IBM i for the SAP shop is that we can run many separate JVMs at the same time in the same partition. Other O/Ss cannot do this. The result is far fewer partitions required to run SAP on i vs other O/Ss. One of my SAP customers considered moving from i to AIX so IBM configgered it for them. About triple the partition count, significantly more memory required due to that, a fair bit more CPU as well and of course three times more operating system images to maintain. If you go Windoze it's much much worse.


One of my customers currently running SAP on Windoze was running it for one geography on i. Three people and one server there, a huge team and over 100 Windoze servers here. Their SAP consultant (an i sort of guy) commented: "Well there you have your very own case study and it's crystal clear which is cheaper to run. When are you going to move everything to i?" The customer responded: "We have little experience with maintaining the i platform and are so much better at working with Windoze, we're moving off i to Windoze for that reason." (And they did.) Didn't seem very well reasoned to me.

Pedro Costa

I know there is no need for it, but I'm here to confirm every word about "SAP on i" generating less consulting fees - an untold confession by consulting companies but sweet music for customers ... well advised customers.

Nathan Andelin

We often hear of people moving to Windows because they are convinced that they are getting more bang for their buck. In other words, they are convince that they are getting better price per performance.

However I recently heard from a manager at one of our banks in Utah complain that the cost for MS SQL Server would be doubling, or something like that, because the 2012 Edition would be priced per core, instead of per processor. I was so intrigued by the allegation that I visited and came across a quote:

"With the release of SQL Server 2012, the licensing for computing power will be core-based."

"Enterprise and Standard will be available under core-based licensing. Cored-based licenses will be sold in two-core packs."

"To license a physical server, you must license all the cores in the server, with a minimum of 4 core licenses required for each physical processor in the server."

I don't know if Microsoft has published pricing for SQL Server 2012 yet, but if my colleague is correct, folks who use MS SQL Server are in for a rude awakening.

I understand that IBM i is licensed by core too, but if the complaint I heard about MS SQL Server 2012 is true, the more bang per buck argument goes out the window.

D Martin

Sadly, this has been a fact since day 1 of IBM's SAP business. I met with the head of SAP Italia several years ago and he told me IBM i was not an option in their business plan. Also, when IBM began beating the drums recommending hosting company websites on the AS/400, I was at a meeting in Rochester, Minn when they were brow-beating us to bring websites to the AS/400. Curiously, I asked how many IBM AS/400 sites were hosted on i...and all the IBM'ers in the room couldn't name a single site. They said they would get back to me the next day. On the next day...still none could be identified. I asked why they were pushing it if they didn't run their own sites on the AS/400? No response. Ditto, I had a similar situation with Lotus Notes on the AS/400. Lotus Notes hosting on the AS/400 within IBM...none! I specified an AS/400 Server for one of our clients and it came in over $155,000. to do the job, while an X-system came in at $30,000.

Kolby Hoelzle

I'm part of the SAP on IBM i Center of Excellence. This is a group within IBM Lab Services that focuses only on SAP running on IBM i. This includes activities from presales and evangelizing to implementation and special projects.

The SAP on IBM i Center of Excellence is trying to change the perception that SAP doesn't run or doesn't run well on the IBM i. The truth is we have many satisfied customers running SAP on IBM i. With a TCO story that is tough to beat, one of our goals is to expand awareness of IBM i for SAP workloads. For existing IBM i customers, the IBM i platform should be the first platform (and only as far as I'm concerned) to be considered when moving to SAP, but too often they are not aware that SAP even runs on IBM i. This is something we're always trying to address.

Don't hesitate to contact me [email protected] if you have any questions about the SAP on IBM i Center of Excellence.

Peter Squitieri

So when did the laws of economics stop working?

A consulting firm that deliberately uses less efficient platforms and methods in order to increase its consulting revenue should get eaten alive by firms that are willing to deliver lower-cost solutions.
Unless nobody knows about them.

We need to keep educating people about SAP on the i

Account Deleted

We had SAP financials on what was then an iSeries and moved to what was then a pSeries. (This was in September 2006.)

This was a corporate decision, and I'm just a peon out in the field, so I wasn't involved in the decision making.

My understanding was that one of the primary reasons for the move was to be able to get SAP software patches faster.

I wasn't involved with the details so I can't speak to Larry's comments about partitions, memory, etc.

We still have SAP running on AIX on Power and at least from my limited perspective it seems to run well.

Peter Squitieri

Here's a link to a study by International Technology Group comparing 3-year TCO for SAP implementations on the i vs Microsoft Servers with VMware ESX. The study used cost surveys from 25 different companies across 6 industries.

The average TCO savings was 36.3% on the i, and it ranged from 29% to 45%.

Besides the lower cost, companies cited the i's much greater reliability, High availability, easy scalability, security and malware protection, and relative simplicity of operation as significant advantages over Windows platforms.

Everyone in the i community has known about these advantages for years, but apparently its operational advantages carry over in to the SAP landscape.

Unknown to most of us, I think, SAP and IBM have partnered since 1995 to optimize the performance of SAP on the i and DB2. DB2 is now the preferred database for SAP, and will almost certainly become more so in the future. Far from being an orphan child, the i has always been an important part of the SAP world. If only IBM would market it as such.

I'll have more to say in later posts, including a study on the cost advantages of moving SAP OFF another platform and ONTO the i. But if your company is thinking of moving to SAP you should make sure they consider hosting it on the i.


Can someone comment on the perception that only small companies can use SAP on i? If CIOs feel that IBMi only works for, say companies under $5B of sales, isn't that going to convince them not to move in fear of stifling growth. With the largest IBMi platforms in Power, what are the limits, if any?

Kolby Hoelzle

There a number of misconceptions surrounding running SAP on IBM i that we're trying to combat. Two that come up frequently (as evident by the comments) are support and scalability. I'll try to address these briefly.

When it comes to support and specifically SAP providing patches for IBM i, it is important to understand at a high level SAP's architecture. There is only a small layer within the SAP architecture that is platform dependent. The vast majority, including all of SAP's business applications are platform dependent. The vast majority of SAP patches are platform independent meaning that all platforms get the patches at the exact same time. When it comes to platform dependent patches, the time to deliver a patch is dependent on the complexity of the problem, similar to any other platform.

Now for scalability. This is one misconception that has me flummoxed. The IBM i is an extremely scalable platform and this applies to SAP workloads as well. On IBM i we tend to scale SAP workloads up instead of out. This allows for tremendous amounts of capacity in single partitions without the extra complexity of multiple servers. Because of the ability to scale up, most SAP on i customers run a non-distributed SAP configuration. There are some very large customers running SAP production workloads on very large single partitions (more than 32 way) with no issues. In addition, IBM i also has the ability to scale out if necessary as is typical of other platforms. This isn't very common with SAP on IBM i due to the added complexity it introduces.

Fabio Valle

We are working about a community for the SAP on IBM i customners in Italy.
Our customers runs SAP on IBM i with a good feel and with our research, we have found about 10 new customers names in 2 years.
This is a good score for us, but in Italy it's very difficult fight with Windows party.

Ron Schmerbauch

Great thread, however, the comment about different patch availability on Aix is an invalid excuse to justify an unnecessary platform change.
to learn the truth about implementation.

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