Monday, 4 February 2008

IBM futures – Elseworlds

If you’ve ever read DC comics – their characters are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc – you know that sometimes the authors come up with a great idea for a story featuring one of their heroes that doesn’t quite fit in with the regular continuity. So the story is published as an Elseworlds story, and we the readers can enjoy it, and regular storylines in the DC universe are not affected by it. Marvel comics run something similar under the "What If …?" tag.

So, this blog is an Elseworlds story. It looks at what could happen to IBM in the next few years – but it won’t impact on normal continuity!

So here’s the thing… what if IBM was at war with Fundamental Software (the FLEX-ES people), Hercules, and the others because it (IBM that is) was planning to release in September 2008 an Intel-based version of zVM.

You would be looking at the ultimate virtualization server – with 40 years of VM experience more than its nearest rival. Customers would have a product that might well do more work and use less power than anything else on the market. It would be a green solution. One little box (or rack) would do the work of lots of individual servers – which is the usual rational for virtualization – but this way customers get the advantage of IBM’s years of experience and IBM gets to sell more software – lots more software. And, as I’ve said before, once customers are seduced into the IBM way with small machines, they might want to get a big one – a mainframe.

zVM runs multiple operating systems concurrently, it continues even when over-utilized (they claim up to 123%), monitoring and management are well understood, it links well with Linux, it’s everything a company moving towards virtualization could want. It’s big drawback at the moment, as far as many potential customers are concerned, is that it comes on a mainframe.

Companies adopting Intel-based zVM would reduce their power consumption, their cooling costs, the amount of space the data centre takes up, and their manpower. IBM would have a runaway best seller on its hands.

On the downside, they would lose a few smaller mainframe customers to the cheaper new option, but what they’d gain is a presence in almost every medium-sized data centre, something they’ve not had since the 80s.

Like I said, it’s just an Elseworld idea.

Getting back to the real world – all you high-end IBM users with IMS installed will be pleased to hear that the second Virtual IMS Connection user group meeting takes place on Tuesday 5th February at 4:30 GMT (10:30 CST). Anyone using IMS can sign up for free membership at The meeting is completely free, and contains a presentation by NEON’s Bill Keene on IMS disaster recovery preparation.

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