Although E.D. Smith & Sons Ltd., is well known for jams, pie fillings and sauces, the company isn’t as well known for the technology it provides to the 400 employees at its facility just outside of Hamilton, Ont.

But

according to the jam company’s lead IT person, products like the IBM eServer i5 — the result of a $500-million IBM initiative to provide small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with cost-effective servers — will give workers at the firm’s manufacturing, warehousing and office complex in Winona, Ont., increased capabilities.

The eServer i5 solutions will be the first systems powered by IBM’s POWER5 64-bit microprocessors. Running i5/OS, the next generation of OS/400, the eServer i5 will also facilitate the simultaneous operation of multiple operating systems including i5/OS, Windows, Linux and AIX 5L.

“”We’re going to install it in July rather than in the fall,”” said Beverly Russell, director of IT at E.D. Smith. “”The i5 for us is a major upgrade. It’s going to give me the multiple independent partitions, the ability to run AIX in the partition when I need that and the ability to run Linux. And it’s about three times as fast as the machine I have today. I’m currently using an iSeries model 820.””

Russell said that the eServer i5 her company will implement next month will provide the needed “”horsepower”” to accommodate whatever workload is thrown at the IT department as the company grows.

“”I’ve been running this iSeries 820 a little over two years,”” she added. “”I actually held off upgrading it at Christmas because I heard there was a new type of technology on the way. I’m glad that I did because the new machine is cost effective and it’s a lot more powerful than if I had upgraded to the 825 at Christmas time.””

Barry Pow, iSeries product manager for IBM Canada, said that although i5 is currently being marketed as an SMB solution, the product line will ultimately also serve the needs of large businesses.

“”With the i5, because of the POWER5 processor technology and the cost structure associated with that, we’ve now been able to package it and price it so that we clearly are focused on the small and the medium to large businesses,”” said Pow. “”The reason that right now we only talk about small and medium business is because we haven’t announced all the models in the family yet.””

Coming up in the third quarter will be a 16-way processor, he continued, and this will be followed in the future by a 64-way processor.

Although E.D. Smith won’t be running its eServer i5 until at least next month, it has been running the i5/OS in beta since February 2004 as part of the early release program.

“”I’ve been running partitioning for quite a while,”” said Russell. “”The reason that I partitioned the system that I have today is because I wanted to be able to really isolate my server type workload from my more data entry type workload. It’s very important that I make sure I optimize the resources appropriately and make sure that I keep that response time fast for my users.

Because the owners of E.D. Smith are planning to grow the business — probably through acquisition — the ability to have multiple partitions running in different time zones is a big deal, added Russell. And while she’s unaware of the identities of potential acquisition candidates, or even where they may be located, she said that the ability to support all time zones will make her job easier.

“”At this point in time I have no idea where in the world that acquisition will be or what time zone,”” she explained. “”But by adding the time zone support within the partitions, it isn’t going to matter. The system is going to take care of everything, and I can have one partition running, say, in Italian local time and one partition running in Eastern Standard Time.””

E.D. Smith is also using linked iSeries and xSeries servers to power its ERP system and to provide its employees with e-mail access.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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