Now that IBM has announced a new line of Power Systems and a new version of the i5/OS operating system, JD Edwards customers are asking, “Should I run my applications on this stuff?” To help you answer that question, here are some important things you need to know before you give Big Blue a call.

The Basics

First off, here are the essential facts about what IBM has done. This month, the company completely replaced its System i and System p servers with new line of Power Systems. All of the systems run on the latest POWER6 processors. Each model in the Power Systems line comes in IBM i, AIX, and Linux Editions. These editions are configured to meet the unique requirements of each operating system and the customer bases that use them. Here’s an IBM diagram that shows how the computer giant unified the System i and System p lines.

As I said in a previous article, the Power Systems line offers excellent price/performance and could reduce hardware costs for JD Edwards customers that run their applications on the System i. What I did not say is that the new systems are the platform of choice for i5/OS V6R1, the new version of the operating system for both the System i and the new “IBM i Editions” of the Power Systems models. (By the way, IBM has renamed i5/OS. It is now just “IBM i” and the new version is IBM i 6.1.) You can also run IBM i 6.1 on all System i models as well as on the iSeries Models 800, 810, 825, 870, and 890.

IBM’s latest version of this operating system offers a slew of benefits. Rather than drag out this article with the list of features, I would encourage you to read a write-up I did on the MC Press website several months ago. That should give you a good sense of whether V6R1 (or i 6.1…take your pick) is right for you.

Can You Run JD Edwards on IBM i 6.1?

The answer is “yes”, but with some exceptions and qualifications. If you’re a JD Edwards World user, chances are very good that you can run on the new OS version. That’s because Oracle has certified World A7.3.08 and above as well as A8.1 and A9.1 on i 6.1. If you intend to upgrade to IBM’s latest and greatest, here are some things you need to know.

  • Upgrades are available from i5/OS V5R3 and V5R4 only.
  • Your applications will have to go through a conversion process the first time they run under i 6.1. Not all programs will convert without a hitch. To learn more about the conversion process, read the IBM Redpaper on the subject.
  • You will also need to download and install an update from Oracle to run World in the i 6.1 environment. Updates are available on Oracle’s Customer Connection web site for World A7.3, A8.1, and A9.1.
  • Finally, you will need to ensure that your custom programs can run on i 6.1. They must go through the conversion process mentioned above like all other software.

If you find these tasks a little daunting and are on maintenance with Oracle, the JD Edwards World team in Denver will be happy to help you work through the problems. Just give Oracle Support a call. Also, check out the documents about World and i 6.1 at the bottom of this page in Oracle Customer Connection.

If you’re a JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customer, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that EnterpriseOne is running quite nicely on i 6.1. The bad news is that at this point, it is only doing so in IBM and Oracle labs. In short, i 6.1 is not yet certified on EnterpriseOne, but that’s going to change soon. According to sources close to both companies, certification should take place within the next two months. From a technical perspective, you could probably run current releases of EnterpriseOne on i 6.1 right now. If anything breaks, however, forget about getting support.

How Will JD Edwards Perform on POWER6?

Now that the Power Systems lineup has hit the street, many of you will soon be considering whether you should upgrade to the new POWER6-based models. Naturally, you will base part of your decision on what Power Systems model has the performance to support your users.

At this moment, there is little in the way of system sizing data to help JD Edwards customers pick the model that is right for them. If you are an EnterpriseOne user, however, there is one interesting document you should read. Last summer, the IBM Oracle International Competency Center installed EnterpriseOne 8.12 on an IBM System i Model 570 running on POWER6 processors. It then ran benchmarks that compared this configuration against a similar one running on a POWER5-based system. While the System i Model 570 has been replaced by the Power Systems 570 i Edition, the two servers are very similar. As such, you can draw some conclusions about EnterpriseOne will perform on the Power Systems 570. To learn more, read the benchmark report. I would also encourage you to check out the other excellent reports that the Competency Center has put out on JD Edwards and the System i. Then, contact the Competency Center for up-to-date advice on how to size your JD Edwards implementation for the new systems.

As you can see, deciding whether to pair up your JD Edwards applications with the new Power Systems or with i 6.1 is not a trivial decision. That’s why I have given you links to a fistful of other documents so you can read up on the subject. Of course, feel free to fire off any questions you might have in the “Leave a Reply” box below. I’ll do what I can to answer them or direct you to the right resources.