The largest General Motors dealership in Canada said it has put the pedal to the metal on several key business process following a recent upgrade to an IBM i5 server.
Roy Foss Motors, based in Thornhill, Ont., said it has
already seen a considerable speed boost in its lease management, service and body shop management system since moving over to the i5, which is powered by Big Blue’s Power5 processor, about three months ago. The firm, which has five locations in Toronto and conducts about half a billion dollars in sales each year, upgraded to the i5 after converting one of its locations to new custom-built software. Roy Foss usually gives one of its dealerships the old machine, then gets a new one, according to its CFO, Brian Bone.
At the end of every month, Bone said he purges all receivables from the system, a process that usually began at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 8:30. So far, he said, the i5 has shaved two hours off that job alone.
“”I’m kind of a history freak — I love keeping things forever,”” he said. “”I’ve got some things that go back to about 1985 on the system, so it’s a massive file.””
Bone said Roy Foss, which has about five IT people in his group, prefers to create all its own applications, rather than those from third parties.
“”The billings run considerably faster — they’re probably 50 per cent faster,”” he said. “”When you run them, you kind of have to not look at the screen, because it will be finished before you blink.””
IBM is emphasizing not only the speed of the 64-bit Power5 processor on the i5, but also its ability to run several operating systems at once, like Linux or Windows. Barry Pow, IBM Canada‘s i5 product manager, said the company is seeing fairly high adoption of what it is calling “”xSeries”” deployments. These are situations where customers use micro-partitioning features in the i5 to create a virtual LAN to store data and pass it from Wintel environments to commercial applications that might be running in a different environment.
“”It gives them the security and the performance,”” he said.
Bone said Roy Foss has stayed loyal to IBM because of the iSeries line’s stability. The companies have had a relationship stretching back 20 years, he said, and the i5 purchase should extend it even further.
“”We wanted to allow for about four or five years’ growth,”” he said. “”We’ve been AS/400 users for quite some time. Performance-wise, we got about 10 times the performance of the previous box.””
Pow said the i5 should help IBM win more customers from its competitors in the server space, which include HP and Sun. The firm also lets clients retain their server’s serial number when they upgrade their boxes.
“”That’s been a big plus for the customer, because there are tax advantages, of course,”” he said.
IBM recently said one of its higher-end eServer, a p5, had managed to run three million transactions per minute in a benchmark test.