IBM and AA – An Innovative Partnership Heads to the Cloud

In an IT industry that is both dynamic and frangible, an organization like IBM stands out. That’s partly due to its remarkable longevity which at a century and counting is more than two of its senior-most major competitors, HPE and Oracle, combined. But the company’s durability and its approach to computing innovation is also reflected in its relationships with customers and partners. Last week’s announcement concerning one of those customers – American Airlines (AA) – marked a notable strategic partnership and significant milestone for both organizations. Why notable? Because the agreement means that AA, the world’s largest airline (currently offering about 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries), has chosen IBM to be its cloud computing provider “for greater enterprise flexibility, scalability and reliability.” Why significant? Because the new deal is just the latest development in a partnership that dates back over six decades to the 1950s when AA and IBM developed the airline industry’s first electronic reservation and ticketing system. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM’s Ginni Rometty – Innovation, Discomfort and Growth

One of the more unusual and impressive sessions at IBM’s recent World of Watson (WoW) customer and partner event in Las Vegas was the closing day keynote by the company’s chairman, president and CEO, Virginia “Ginni” Rometty. Why unusual? Because for many years, IBM’s senior-most leaders have seldom presented at its public-facing business conferences, mostly leaving keynote responsibilities to unit leaders or product, service and sales executives. In many cases, that was simply a matter of personal preference or reflective of the intense time and scheduling pressures that come with being IBM’s CEO. But Rometty has chosen a different course, especially since May 2015 when she keynoted at the first WoW conference and then a few days later the IBM Security Summit, both in New York. This year, Rometty keynoted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (a first for an IBM CEO), the World Health Care Congress, WoW and the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing (GHC). To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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BMC: Mainframes Aren’t Going Away

Even while rumors continue to circulate that IBM is trying to unload its z Systems business, evidence continues to emerge supporting the ongoing — if not growing — need for the mainframe. Key findings from the 2016 BMC Mainframe Research Report indicate that mainframes are helping drive Digital Transformation, with ‘superior reliability, performance, and security’ cited as key factors influencing mainframe investments. “With 89% of survey respondents ( more than 1,200 executives and technical professionals) projecting continued strong support for the mainframe, it is clear that companies view the mainframe as a long-term platform,” said Bill Miller, president of ZSolutions Optimization at BMC, in a prepared statement. It is also clear that the company has a vested interest — and 25% of their annual revenues — tied up in mainframes, but as BMC’s John McKenny, VP Marketing and Customer Support of ZSolutions, told IT Trends & Analysis, the research data, including the information they keep private, provides a better understanding of what the different customer segments are doing, and looking for. The respondents fall into three categories: -58% are in the increasing group and looking to grow their investment and use of the mainframe; -23% indicate they will keep a steady amount of work on the mainframe; and, -19% plan to reduce the usage of the platform. For the third segment, reducing cost was the number one concern, said McKenny. They are “not going to get off in the next few months… or years… and we have developed solutions that can help with cost,” he added. One of the interesting findings with the ‘increasing group’  was that automation and analytics had risen to the fourth priority. “From a tactical perspective, we use a lot of this information… we have a lot more that we don’t share publicly… to help us be laser-focused with customers”. Server shipments — including mainframes — increased 2% year-over-year in the second quarter, but revenue dipped 0.8%. IBM, which held down third place, was way behind front-runners Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and turned in the worst performance, with 9.1% ($1.2 billion) of the market, down -34.4%. Apparently the z Series was the biggest culprit, with a -40% YoY decline, while the Power-based servers fell a mere -24%. One reason Big Blue may be waffling over selling the business is the profits it makes: with a gross margin of 56.5%, it’s second only to IBM’s Cognitive Solutions segment. Another reason is the upcoming release of the Power9 CPU, which is due out next year and is reported will be competitive with Intel Xeon Servers, something the current generation can’t provide. According to IBM, mainframes...

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New IBM Software Toolkit Supercharges Deep Learning

A few weeks ago, IBM launched a new POWER-based data center solution for High Performance Computing (HPC) applications, including artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning and advanced analytics. The Power System S822LC is a Linux-based offering that leverages a new POWER8 chip and NVIDIA’s NVLink interconnect technology optimized for the Power architecture. Via NVLink, IBM’s Power server architecture can be tightly integrated with NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture and the company’s Tesla P100 GPUs. Why is this a big deal? Because the new Power System S822LC solutions avoid the potential bottlenecks that are commonly associated with conventional PCIe interfaces. That’s a good thing in HPC applications that require sustained, muscular data throughput. But it also means that HPC systems utilizing Power System S822LC hardware can deliver considerably higher performance than similarly configured Intel-based systems with PCIe. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Everyone And Their Brother But Intel…

It is not often a market moves against some of the dominant players.  In a surprisingly secret and surprise move many of the most powerful companies in technology have formed a consortium to change the market dynamic for servers. In an early morning announcement (as in I’m still asleep) they surprised the market with a massive surprise move that likely shocked those that aren’t part of this consortium.  Effectively they are moving away from PCIe, the current industry standard, to something that is both more open and vastly more powerful. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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