Mainframe at 50.001: IBM Updates Products, Pricing, Training
Apr08

Mainframe at 50.001: IBM Updates Products, Pricing, Training

Technically it’s the day after the 50th anniversary of the official debut of IBM’s first mainframe computer, but as the System/360 didn’t start shipping until 1965, and competitors had been in the market since the 1950s, I suppose Big Blue can be forgiven for making its mainframe announcements on April 8th, instead of the 7th. These announcements include new mobile, storage, Hadoop, cloud and pricing offerings that indicate the mainframe’s future continues to look bright. The present doesn’t look too shabby either, even though shipments of high-end systems, including System z, plummeted 28.5% in the last quarter, with the big z dropping a whopping 37% from a year ago. Despite its long history and x86 upstarts, here are more than 3,000 customers and approximately 10,000 mainframes still running hundreds of thousands of critical enterprise applications for financial institutions, federal agencies and others. According to IBM, more than 70% of enterprise data resides on a mainframe and 71% of all Fortune 500 companies have their core businesses on a mainframe. Other mainframe minutiae includes: -92 of the top 100 banks use the mainframe to provide at-your-fingertip banking services to their customers; -23 of the world’s top 25 retailers use the mainframe to make sure they can provide what their customers customized service; -10 out of 10 of the top insurers use the cloud on the mainframe to save money for their consumers; and, -more than 225 state and local governments worldwide rely on a mainframe to support police and fire departments, utilities, garbage collection, parks and hospitals. Today’s announcements center around three categories, said IBM’s Deon Newman, Vice President, System z: cloud, mobility, and Linux/pricing. The first System z-based integrated system offering, the IBM Enterprise Cloud System is a Linux-based preconfigured solution that can scale up to 6,000 virtual machines per system and can take out about 55% of the costs of a comparable x86-based solution, he said. The IBM System z Solution for Mobile Computing lowers software costs for mobile transaction by up to 60%, while the IBM MSP Utility Pricing for System z provides consumption-based pricing designed especially to make mainframe technologies more widely accessible to Managed Service Providers (MSPs), and will provide pay-as-you-grow pricing, he added. While the number of customers that have swapped out their mainframes for x86-based solutions wasn’t discussed, Newman did say there were approximately 3,200 System z customers and over the last two years IBM has added about 260 net-new customers. The ups and downs in mainframe sales are directly attributable to product cycles, he said, and represent a fairly stable pattern. Refreshes tend to take place every two years, and the first...

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