This article is provided courtesy of The 400 Group's Insider Weekly.
The consolidation of IBM's eServer family is one blip closer on the radar screen, says a prominent iSeries insider.
"Expect to see all four eServers in one, eventually," said Dr. Frank Soltis at the Northeast IBM AS/400 User Group Conference held on March 26-28 in Framingham, MA.
Consolidation would be the third and final phase of IBM's server strategy, presaged with Stage I, the Magic Box Campaign in the summer of 1999, and Stage II, the rebranding of the server line in October, 2000. The convergence of IBM server technology has been alluded to by analysts in the past (IW 9/18/2000).
Convergence of IBM servers would mean that shops will be able to run, in different partitions, OS/400, OS/390, Unix, Intel, or even Linux on their box, natively. It would not be the end of any one platform; rather it would mark a universal, flexible platform that would offer choice. The boxes already share common software.
Theoretically, the universal server is already possible through the power of Logical Partitioning (LPAR). The iSeries and pSeries already share common hardware and production lines in Rochester; this is the next logical step.
"It's still a couple of years away, beyond 2002, but IBM's spending large amounts of money on it," says Dave Andrews, president, Andrews Consulting Group (IW 10/3/2000).
Dr. Frank says pSeries is apple of IBM's marketing eye
Not one hand was raised when Dr. Frank Soltis asked his audience, "How many of you think IBM is going to wake up and realize what they have in the iSeries and start to promote it?"
Unix is the hot technology, says Soltis. Because of the Unix hype among industry pundits, IBM spends much of its efforts promoting the pSeries boxes and doesn't focus on the iSeries or the zSeries mainframe computer.
Regardless of this effort, in the past 10 years, IBM's Unix box has only had one year of profitability, and it wasn't last year, says Soltis.
Dr. Frank also said that the iSeries bests the pSeries at its own game. Unix applications running in Portable Application Solutions Environment (PASE) on an AS/400 run faster than on a Unix box.
pSeries processors funnel down to iSeries
To see your iSeries future, follow the pSeries new processor technology. iSeries customers can expect to see pSeries processing power six months later, because the pSeries and iSeries share common hardware.
One example of this six-month iSeries lag is the Power4 processor, which was unveiled on the pSeries in October, 2000, and is slated to be added to the iSeries with V5R1.
zSeries clustering gives reliability edge
IBM claims the mainframe, now branded the zSeries for zero-downtime, has the least amount of time off-line. But the truth is that mainframes are sold, and downtime is measured, as clusters. Taken out of the cluster, an individual mainframe does not top the iSeries for zero downtime, and a cluster of iSeries' has the highest availability, says Soltis.
Dr. Frank also unveiled the reason why iSeries revenue dropped drastically in the past few years. Previously, iSeries revenue included both hardware and software. Recently, iSeries software was transferred to IBM's Software Group and that revenue is no longer credited to the iSeries division.
Regardless of revenue or marketing, iSeries customers, vendors, and Rochester are steadfast to the box. "There's a lot of loyalty in (the AS/400), unlike anything else in the world. Even in Rochester they use the AS/400 name (as opposed to the iSeries)," says Soltis.