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8 Signs it's time to consider getting your first small business server

Small Business Servers
Is it the right time for you to get a small business server?  While the process of growth within small businesses can be exciting, business owners are often faced with technology pains that accompany a growing team. With more people come more computers and the once effective peer-to-peer method of managing computers when there were just a handful of people no longer proves to be effective or sustainable. With this growth in your business, it may be time to consider getting a small business server. If you are beginning to manage a small fleet of computers that share printers, scanners, internet access or information, then a small business server may certainly ease your growing pains. Today’s servers are no longer designed with just large organizations in mind as they were in the past. Servers are now made to help simplify and grow businesses of ALL sizes and can be purchased at an affordable price point. Servers allow for non-stop, 24/7 business operations and play a big part in a productive organization’s processes.   Let’s take a look at some of the sure signs it’s time to consider a small business server for organization. Signs you need a small business server #1 – Your business requires files and data that currently resides on more than one computer to be secured from unauthorized access, corruption or total loss #2 – You manage multiple computers that share scanners, printers, fax machines, information or internet access #3 – You want the flexibility of accessing your files while away from the office, backing up business-critical items that reside on multiple computers or restoring deleted or previous versions of files #4 – You require a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) software and accounting programs to communicate with your customers and vendors #5 – You would like to dictate user rights and abilities to access certain files and data on the network  #6 – If a user’s computer goes down, you’d like them to be able to sign into another computer and resume their work #7 – You need employees to share software tools and databases #8 – You...
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6 Reasons Why You Should Choose IBM POWER9 for your Application Platform.

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IBM recently introduced their newest POWER servers with the POWER9 processor to the marketplace. Has your business has been debating staying on the IBM i platform instead of migrating your data to the cloud or to another OS platform like Linux Servers or another x86 server solution? You really should consider the benefits of the latest POWER9 systems are and IBM i 7.4.  The AS400 iSeries POWER lineup of servers has long held a reputation for reliability and security. IBM i is all about integration and innovation. Businesses running high-traffic, mission-critical applications are deploying IBM Systems in their own data centers and in the cloud.  Digital transformation initiatives like the the IoT, business process automation, mobile and analytics demand a lot of resources for planning and strategy. iSeries hardware requires less maintenance and fewer resources, so IT teams can focus on delivering on strategic projects.  Faster, Highly Flexible and More Resilient  Running POWER9 in your data center or in the cloud offers advantages like surprising technical flexibility and affordability compared to other systems running Linux, Windows or flavors of UNIX.   IBM POWER is like a technical fortress for data and applications which enable and run business systems like: Enterprise applications like SAP, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Infor XA (MAPICS) Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, and High Availability Security monitoring and encryption. Business Intelligence and analytics applications which work with DB2. Artificial Intelligence and AI-powered Managed Security Service Providers Communication and file transfer If you are already running IBM servers in your IT environment, we’re likely preaching to the choir.  Let’s explore six of the many benefits of upgrading or converting to IBM POWER9 and the IBM i 7.x operating system.   1.  Technology Infrastructure Without Compromise  To keep pace with today’s fast-paced, digitally dependent business environment, companies of all sizes need stable, reliable technology infrastructure which can stand up to heavy workload. Businesses are deploying solutions like AI, the IoT and cloud on the IBM i platform because it provides an integrated platform without compromising on security, scalability or reliability.  POWER servers, like their AS 400 & iSeries predecessors, are world-renowned for reliability. Yet...
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IBM i Saves Money for Companies in Multiple Ways

IBM i Saves Money for Companies in Multiple Ways
From its inception in the 1980s, the IBM AS400 and OS400 operating system has had many iterations and transformations over the years, but it has consistently maintained the distinguished honor of delivering businesses the lowest TCO midrange computing system in the industry. To this day, tens of thousands of businesses, including the largest companies in the world rely on the IBM i to run their most critical applications. There is no single reason, but collectively, the entire IBM i package of hardware, operating system, integrated database and all the features they encompass and provide businesses, is what contributes to the extremely low total cost of ownership that no other midrange computing system can provide. The IBM i POWER system platform itself, is a turnkey business system that requires almost zero IT staff to maintain on a daily basis. Case in point, a number of companies over the years have contacted Midland for assistance for a system no one at the company knew existed, until the day something stopped working. This triggered a man hunt, a door to a small closet being opened for the first time in recent history, and the discovery of a very dusty black box. These systems ran for a decade or more without a single failure, and in some instances, did not require any human interaction. Some of these older systems included System/36’s from the 1980s and first generation AS/400s from the 1990s. Hearing stories like these are amazing testaments to the rock solid architecture that is today known as the IBM i. Not to mention, these types of stories are completely unheard of for other midrange platforms. The key elements why businesses should consider an IBM i, and why executives might want to think twice before migrating off the IBM i:  - Lower License Costs - Lower Personnel Costs - Less Downtime - Faster Application Response Times From the outset, OS/400 was designed for ease of use, a key factor that has continued to save businesses money on system and database administration tasks. Most IBM i administration functions are automated today, with self-healing, self-configuring, self-tuning, self-protecting and like management...
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The Real Cost of NOT Upgrading to POWER9

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POWER System upgrades are often among the most prolonged and undervalued IT decisions. Why rush to invest in a POWER9 upgrade when your POWER7 or POWER8 server performance is perfectly fine? Truth is: over a 5-year span you may waste a good amount of cash maintaining those legacy systems instead of capitalizing on the true cost savings and many additional benefits a POWER9 server offers. Not a believer? Well here are the facts.Why Regular Hardware Updates Actually Save You MoneyLegacy IT modernization isn’t a persistent budget drain. On the contrary, regular updates save you a hefty sum in the long run. Here’s why:Increased Maintenance Costs The cost of maintaining an older POWER system gets steeper over time, especially for technologies nearing the end of support (EOS). Surely, you can always opt for paid extended support. However, doing so can double the normal yearly maintenance costs. In essence, extended support is a short-term patch that makes subsequent upgrades even more costly. If you are not already aware, IBM is ending support for many POWER7 servers in 2020 (10 POWER7 models to be exact). For most companies, the increase in both hardware and software maintenance costs alone should be enough reason to for a POWER9 upgrade. More on this topic in a bit. Higher Security RisksPOWER systems without IBM’s support cause significant risks to businesses, resulting in weakened defenses for AIX and IBM i software, the operating system and hardware. While your POWER systems won't stop running per se, IBM will no longer bear responsibility of creating patches and fixes to prevent cybersecurity breaches and other security vulnerabilities that could potentially inflict significant harm to your business. After assessing the costs of such a scenario, I believe most companies would agree the risks of an unprotected infrastructure would certainly justify a POWER9 upgrade.As a result of a 14 year joint research endeavor conducted by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the pair were able to assess the detailed financial impact and consequences data breaches cost companies across every industry, including calculating the various cost and compliance factors for every stage of a response• In SMEs...
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POWER9 in 2020: What’s Coming Ahead

POWER9 CPU
POWER9, IBM’s latest family of scale-up servers, has been around since August 2018. Since it’s debut, they received several new members, along with other hardware upgrades. In this post, we offer a quick recap of the new IBM releases in 2019, along with the outlook for 2020.  Before we dive into the updates, here’s a quick refresher on POWER9: New chips come with a 14 nm process (from 22 nm in POWER8), 8 billion transistors and peak bandwidth of 192 GB/s. The pipeline got a trim: 5 stages were eliminated from fetch to compute; 8 cycles were removed for floating-point operations. New hardware acceleration that includes enhanced on-chip acceleration, PowerAXON, Nvidia NVLink 2.0 and CAPI 2.0 Support for Power ISA v3.0. DDR4 DIMMs memory and higher memory capacity per socket.  Check our head to head comparison of POWER8 vs POWER9 for more insights. Key POWER9 Upgrades and Releases in 2019 As usual, IBM made a set of new feature announcements and hardware releases during spring/autumn 2019. Below is a brief recap of those: In August, the company released a new generation of mainstream SAS 2.5- inch flash drives POWER8 and POWER9 systems that come in 931 GB, 1.86 TB, 3.72 TB, and 7.45 TB capacities*. At the same time, they shipped an upgraded processor for the POWER E980 model, consisting of a six-core Cumulus process with a base speed of 3.58 GHz and a turbo speed of 3.9 GHz. Later in October, a new generation of SSD drives for POWER8 and POWER9 models was released in 387 GB, 775 GB, and 1550 GB capacities. As well, they upgraded the POWER S924 model to support 11-core or 22-core typical 3.45 - 3.9 GHz configurations in a 19-inch rack-mount. (Read more about IBM Solid State Drives Here) In addition, IBM published fresh performance benchmarks showcasing how POWER9 servers stack against earlier POWER8 releases. In short, newer servers can deliver up to 60% in a performance boost. Last, but not least, comes the IBM i 7.4's first Technology Refresh update since its original release. As per official notes: IBM i now supports the new...
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IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 Comparison for 2020

IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 Comparison for 2020
Hardware upgrades – always a tough call. Should you invest in a new POWER server if your workloads are running just fine on an earlier model? Perhaps, as the new POWER9 servers received a major performance boost thanks to improved hardware, memory, and enhanced on-chip acceleration. In this post, we’ll show exactly how POWER9 compares to POWER8 in terms of memory, CPU, TCO and overall performance. Let’s dive in! POWER8 vs POWER9: Tech Specifications and Main Improvements POWER9 with comes loads of new hardware. Some are enterprise-grade, other are more focused on small to mid-range applications. The latter include Power9 models S922, S914, and S924 as well as Linux and SAP Hana specialized variants, the L922, L924, H922, and H924. Every new model comes equipped with robust POWER9 processors: Source: IBM Here’s a quick comparison chart further illustrating how POWER9 hardware stacks against POWER8 and POWER7: Arguably, the biggest advantage of a new POWER9 server over POWER8 is the new hardware acceleration platform consisting of the following: Enhanced on-chip acceleration – Gzip x1, 842 Compression x2, AES/SHA x2.PowerAXON – a collection of high-speed I/O interconnects operating at a signaling rate of 25 GT/s. The AXON stands for A-bus, X-bus, OpenCAPI, and NVLink.Nvidia NVLink 2.0 – the upgraded lane can communicate at 25Gbps in the first iteration.CAPI 2.0 – can help achieve four times the bandwidth of POWER8 in combination with PCIe Gen 4. Secondly, IBM gave POWER9 pipeline a trim and reduced it to 12-stages: 5 stages were removed from fetch to compute, and from fixed-point operations.IBM eliminated instruction grouping at dispatch.Hazard avoidance and reduced hazard disruption received an upgrade. So what do all of these hardware upgrades mean in terms of performance and stability? Here are a few quick TLDs before we dive into the specs: Compared to POWER8, POWER9 has 1.5x better performance and 2x more memory.POWER9 comes with 1.8x more memory bandwidth per socket and up to 57% lower solution cost.In general, IBM state-of-the-art servers are 18x times more reliable than those from other companies.  POWER 8 vs. POWER9 Performance Compared With a new system series comes new Power benchmarks...
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IBM i 7.4 (V7R4) Details: Everything you need to know

IBM i 7.4 (V7R4) Details: Everything you need to know
IBM i V7R4 (7.4) OS400 enhancements and additions improve Power9 and Power8 system and DB2 database performance, security and availability. Details of OS400 V7R4 features and specifications for IBM i Power Systems are explained below in detail, and arranged by the following topics: Security, System Management, Networking, Availability, Application development, Miscellaneous features. IBM i V7R4 (7.1) release date is June 21, 2019. OS400 V7R4 is supported on IBM Power9 and Power8 processor systems, and is not supported on earlier IBM Power system processor generations. All IBM i customers should read the IBM 7.4 memo before upgrading to ensure compatibility and verify if discontinued support of any software, hardware products or features affects your system. IBM V7R4 hardware enhancement details can be read about here. IBM i SecurityIBM i Authority Collection A significant advancement for IBM i security is the new Authority Collection service feature, capable of analyzing object authorities of users and applications to ensure only the minimum required authorities are granted to run applications. By securing objects in an application with minimum authority required, security administrators can now safely remove unnecessary user authorities to objects used by an application. Most IBM i applications have excessive authorities granted to objects within the application. For instance, when an application gives *PUBLIC *CHANGE or *ALL authority for objects within an application, and accessing a DB2 file, when it only requires *USE authority to the data. Applications with unnecessary authorities creates security vulnerabilities by allowing users and other applications to make changes to data outside the application.   Authority Collection service captures data associated with the runtime authority checking built into IBM i security of OS400. The authority data collected is stored in a repository for displaying and analyzing the data and determine the minimum authority required to the objects the application need to run successfully. Minimum authority should be granted to objects as a best security practices require to protect against unauthorized access from outside the application.  IBM i 7.4 Authority Collection service also allows the collection of authority information for specific objects when accessed by any user, instead of for all objects accessed by a specific user....
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POWER9: Main changes and updates Vs POWER8 (2019)

POWER9: Main changes and updates Vs POWER8 (2019)
A newer Article is now available to read: IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 - A Comparative Analysis for 2020 POWER9 is here, and with it comes loads of new hardware. With the second batch of released hardware there are several new systems that are focused on small and mid-range applications. These include Power9 models S922, S914, and S924 as well as Lin...
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How to Accelerate the Use of AI in Organizations with Power9 Systems

How to Accelerate the Use of AI in Organizations with Power9 Systems
Written by: Bob PiccianoOpen any business publication or digital journal today, and you will read about the promise of AI, known as artificial or augmented intelligence, and how it will transform your business. The fact is, AI will not only transform your entire business, whether you are in health care, finance, retail or manufacturing, but it will also transform technology itself. The essential task of information technology (IT), and how we measure its value, has reached an inflection point. It’s no longer just about process automation and codifying business logic. Instead, insight is the new currency, and the speed with which we can scale that insight and the knowledge it brings is the basis for value creation and the key to competitive advantage.   IBM Engineer, Stefanie Chiras, with the IBM Power System AC922. (Photo: Jack Plunkett).   This trend is fueling a surging interest in deep learning and AI, or, as IBM calls it, cognitive computing. According to IDC, global spending on AI-related hardware and software is expected to exceed $57.6 billion in 2021, almost a five-fold increase over the $12 billion that will be spent this year. The real promise of AI is to unleash actionable insights that would otherwise be trapped in massive amounts of data. Much of that data is unstructured data, such as the data that’s generated by such things as written reports and journals, videos, social media posts or even spoken words. Since we introduced IBM Watson, and our powerful AI cloud platform, we’ve continued on our journey to reinvent computing for this new era. And we’ve learned that to meet the new demands of cognitive workloads, we need to change everything: from the algorithms and mathematics that are the foundations of the software, to the hardware that drives it and to the cloud that deploys it. Organizations that apply deep learning and AI, which are the superchargers for extracting insight, need to use the right architecture to ingest and analyze very large data sets. And you need to be able to do it at lightning-fast speeds, or faster than your competitors. IBM is unveiling...
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The Big Difference Between Power9's Industry Standard Memory vs Buffered Memory

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POWER9 Memory changes and what it means. Our last article was about the primary changes made to the POWER Systems, scale out line up with the release of the first set of POWER9 (You can view some of the POWER9 benchmarks here) servers back in February. We briefly covered several of the changes including the change made to the type of...
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