Archive for September, 2008

Market dynamics and IBM vs IBM

Yet again I find myself handcuffed in terms of what I can say about my current projects, but inspired to respond to long time buddy James Governors blog or twitter posts.

In a blog entry, James takes up the cause of the underdog, in this case, Nick Hortovanyi who is working down-under to sell IBM hardware and software. Nick complains in a blog entry about trying to sell IBM Software and IBM System x servers, while IBM System x are running adverts in the press advertising Windows software and middleware.

So James, you as much as anyone knows that IBM is a big company, measured in small pieces by their own PNLs. Do you hear Power Systems VARs and Partners bleating because System x (x86 servers) advertise and promote Intel Inside and Windows ? Did you hear mainframes complaining about SWG making Windows enterprise ready?

For that matter, when was the last time you recall seeing IBM SWG extol the virtues and scalability of IBM System x Enterprise Servers? The iDataPlex is an awesome machine for running Windows and Linux web infrastrcuture, but you wouldn’t know from IBM SWG advertising. You’d be surprised who pays whom to run these adds, but the x86 marketplace is fiercly competitive and if IBM only sold IBM, we’d be out of that business before you could spell b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s i-n-t-e-l-l-i-g-e-n-c-e.

I’d be more interested and concerned about the support and incentive Nick and his peers were getting to sell IBM products, than what IBM was doing in advertising. If we fail in the former, we fail, period, no matter what advertising we run.

More history rewrites

One of todays cyber storms is the release of Googles Chrome browser. It comes with it’s own comic book style explanation which includes some major rewrites of history, including a few geographical snafus as the Register points out.

However, my favorite is the one on page-4 where it says “We’re applying the same kind of process isolation you find in modern operating systems” – Like err, address spaces in the 1970’s mainframe systems. Just because Windows was borked doesn’t mean everything else is… but then if Google says its true, it must be. So how radical is the concept of running tabs as processes and freeing up all the memory when you close a tab… not very.

Oh yeah, and I remember around 1985 when the VM/SP pubs team first used cartoons to explain topics in some of the VM/SP manuals, so even thats not new google. Still nice to see the youngsters re-invent the old, maybe next up will be google coke, if you put a dirty penny in it, it cleans it… Wow.

Having said that, I’ll be trying out Google Chrome, muppet I know.

Most Mainframe MIPS Installs are Linux

over on the ibmeye blog Greg makes this observation: “I found this surprising (if true): More than half the mainframe MIPS IBM sells are Linux” and “That seems to go against the trust of IBM’s marketing push.”

I have no idea if the numbers quoted are accurate, but I don’t see the inconsistency.

We’ve been on an Intel and general server consolidation drive for 15-years now. Back in the mid-90’s it was much harder, we were trying to convince organizations to move their Unix workloads to OS/390, aka MVS, aka z/OS, using the Unix Systems Services, but it was a tough sell. Even before that a few of us, primarily in Europe were driving to get customers to consolidated under utilized and unreliable file servers to MVS or VM using either LANRES(for Novell Netware) or the LAN File Services for MS and OS/2 LAN Servers.

I think the current trend to migrate to Linux on the mainframe is entirely consistent with organizations efforts to make the most of the environmental benefits of a large centralized server, along with the ease and openness of Linux. IBM has a massive internal effort, moving something like 3,500 servers.

Can you provide examples of where you think it’s inconsistent Greg?


About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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