Withdrawal symptoms: a bunch of IBM services tweaks, storage removed

September 21, 2022

Timothy Pricket Morgan

Every product comes to the end of its lifecycle, be it hardware or software or even services, because old hardware is difficult to repair or troubleshoot as it wears out (in the case hardware) or suffers from rot (in the case of software) or brain drain (in the case of services). And the same goes for a bunch of different things that affect some big Power Systems stores.

With a slew of new Technical Account Manager (TAM) and ServicePac service offerings for the Power Systems line, which we reported on in August, it’s no surprise that Big Blue is retiring its Proactive Entry Support service for IBM i, AIX and Linux platforms running on Power iron. This is described in announcement letter 922-072, dated September 13. It appears that the withdrawal from sales is effective immediately, but obviously IBM will honor all service contracts it has signed until the end of their term.

On August 9, in announcement letter 622-019, IBM announced that its Technology Services group, which provides technical support for its hardware and software as well as systems integration and other activities, is offering a set of Expert Assist services in conjunction with System z, Power Systems and storage hardware and has simplified and codified these offerings in the wake of the rise of Kyndryl services. IBM isn’t very specific about these offerings, but Expert Assist aims to provide technical advice on technology choices and implementations to solve specific problems. You can purchase units of work (we assume it’s a block of hours) for remote or on-site support. There really aren’t many details available, which is often the case with service announcements. They are often intentionally vague. Again, so are customer service needs.

Now let’s move on to storage.

Effective December 16, IBM will stop selling tape drives and media cartridges in the LTO-6 format, as you can see in announcement letter 922-096. Customers must then place orders and take delivery of the devices by January 16, 2023. Discontinued machines include the Ultrium 3589 and 3599 machines as associated peripherals and media. IBM will of course sell these machines on the secondary market, as will third parties, as long as supply and demand continue. And of course, hardware support will be available for these LTO-6 machines for a long time. But the lure of newer, denser tape drives and libraries will no doubt have some appeal. As we report elsewhere in this issue, the LTO Consortium – which is led by IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Quantum – has just released the LTO-14 standard, offering 576TB of native capacity and 1.44PB compressed on a single tape. . With 2.5 TB native and 6.25 TB compressed for LTO-6 capacity per cartridge, the LTO-14 standard is 230 times denser. In fact, we believe that the compressed capacity of a single LTO-14 cartridge exceeds the data on many IBM i systems in small and medium businesses – which is precisely the point.

On December 31, as we see in announcement letter 922-094, certain models of IBM’s TS7700 series tape libraries are also being removed from the sales catalog. The 3952F07 model, to be precise. And again, IBM will still sell them used while supplies last.

And in the 922-105 announcement letter, we see that the software has been retired and support has been discontinued on some versions of FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R all-flash storage and XIV scalable storage. To be specific, XIV Storage System Software Gen3, versions 11.xx and FlashSystem Software V12, versions 1.1.x, are getting the ax, as are the support contracts for them starting September 16th.

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Tags: Tags: AIX, FlashSystem, IBM i, Linux, Power Systems, ServicePac

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