The world of IBM hardware is dominated by a seemingly endless array of numbers to describe processor speed, drive storage space, transfer rates and plenty more. But perhaps no group of numbers is more confusing than part numbers. Many different part numbers, FRUs and feature codes are in your data center right now. Knowing the difference between a part number, a FRU and a feature code can save you a lot of time, and a lot of money.
The Part Number is pretty straight forward. A part number describes a specific part within a specific system among IBM’s various product lines. For example, there are several fibre channel expansion cards for a variety of IBM products, but there is only one part numbered 46M6140, which is a dual port expansion card for an IBM BladeCenter. Part numbers tell IT infrastructure technicians exactly which parts are included in their servers, storage and networking equipment. These part numbers are also used in IBM marketing materials to help technicians configure their equipment to meet their requirements.
FRU stands for Field Replacement Unit. It is the number that you’ll find on a piece of hardware, along with the part number. The FRU numbers are what you’ll want to reference when contacting your IBM Business Partner to replace defective parts in IBM systems.
Knowing the Feature Code can save a lot of money when you ask your business partner for a part. The feature code is used by IBM to process orders. They use feature codes because any one IBM item can have as many as twenty or more part numbers. For example, a 3129 36GB 10K hard drive can use 00P1519, 00P2676, 07N3774, 07N4803 as part numbers –- there are over ten more part number for this single drive. To save time and avoid confusion, IBM and IBM business partners use feature codes to describe this specific drive when processing orders.
Knowing the correct feature code is valuable. At Frontier we have had customers come to us requesting a specific part number: 00P2676, as an example. This is one part number among many assigned to a unit with a certain feature code. If they only have this specific part number and search the internet, they may find one reseller advertising that part number for $150 dollars. This vendor is hoping their caller doesn’t know the the 00P2676 part number is a feature code 3129 drive, which has many corresponding part numbers. Had they asked for a feature code 3129, they would have paid $50 for the drive. If you are not well versed in features codes, it is important to have a vendor like Frontier that will reference the correct feature code when you ask for a specific part number.
If you have any questions about part numbers, FRUs or feature codes, give Frontier’s IBM team a call. We’ll tell you exactly what part you need, and which FRUs and feature codes will work as replacements.
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