Side by Side
The IBM system was implemented at the institute with the help of systems integrator Key Information Systems of Woodland Hills, Calif. This was the first time FIDM had the opportunity to do a complete side-by-side deployment. While the 840 continued running, Key Information Systems set up the 570 in a test environment.
“A big lesson learned from the project was, if at all possible, you should do a side-by-side implementation,” said Reynolds-Lair. “It is much easier and much less stressful.”
The switch to the i5 meant upgrading the i5OS operating system from version 5.2 to version 5.3. Reynolds-Lair reports that this was accomplished without interrupting service to the users. She also adds that no unforeseen events came up during the implementation; everything was resolved during the test phase.
“It’s a real luxury having three months to iron out all the bugs,” she said. “I’ve been getting calls from users saying they are delighted with the improvement in e-mail performance.”
She notes that the financial apps are now running much better. The old system grew sluggish when as many as four or five people launched interactive financial queries. These days, the IS department estimates queries are answered seven times faster.
As a result of having the additional partitions, the institute has been migrating some of its peripheral Intel boxes to the i5 for Web applications. That means some of the various Web sites, portals, and Web applications are running on the iSeries 570 i5 using IBM Websphere Commerce Suite. This includes the student portal, the alumni Web site, the FIDM museum site, a job search engine, and a museum shop. Another online store is being added this quarter.
“Our Web sites are running wonderfully on the i5,” said Reynolds-Lair. “We now have our entire business on this one machine including financials, our customer student applications, our portals, databases, and Domino for e-mail.”
Another i5 feature that has come in handy for the FIDM is IBM’s much hyped On Demand technology. With On Demand, FIDM can add more capacity during periods of peak demand. The 570 currently uses nine processors and has three more available when needed. These can be turned on permanently for $50,000 a processor or rented for as long as needed.
“We get 14 days free whenever we need it,” said Reynolds-Lair. “It gives us the ability to deal with peak loads without having to add another machine.”