Big Blue Aims High, Low

by David Needle

From SAP on the mainframe to System i storage solutions for the SMB market, IBM is making performance and scalability an option for all.

Two announcements from IBM this week span the spectrum of computing options. It invested $40 million in long-time partner SAP to test, enable and support SAP applications on its System z mainframe series and announced a number of System i storage solutions aimed at the SMB market.

It plans to spend the money over the next five years. Part of the investment will also be applied to SAP technical centers in Germany and the United States, where proof of concept and other customer support activities take place.

Although neither IBM nor SAP made any product or technology announcements, IBM did also announce an incentive program for companies that buy an IBM mainframe and implement SAP and IBM's DB2 database, of up to $250,000.

Analyst Charles King with Pund-IT said IBM and SAP working together makes a lot of sense.

"SAP represents the gold standard for one level of enterprise business applications and IBM's customers mirror SAP's enterprise focus."

Stallings said the SAP investment is intended to help new mainframe customers and others looking to consolidate the "IT sprawl" of having to manage a multitude of servers.

He also noted IBM's mainframe sales are up 7 percent year-over-year and ticked off several benefits of the large systems, including security, reliability and applications such as IBM's mainstay DB2 database.

Stallings said one customer, Baldor Electric, has had zero downtime since installing the mainframe in 1997.

IBM also plans to give a higher marketing profile to its z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) processor introduced in January, but not broadly available until May. The high-speed zIIP co-processor for the z9 mainframe minimizes the need to maintain duplicate copies of corporate data.

In addition, zIIP is designed to free up general computing capacity and lower the cost of running business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management applications on z9 mainframes.

At the Other End

IBM also announced products it believes will drive down the cost of high-availability technology for small and midsize business (SMBs). Based on IBM’s "all-in-one" System i business computing platform, it will deliver new System i Capacity BackUp (CBU) Editions to SMB's seeking a second system to support business continuity.

The CBU Editions come with a set of standby processors that can be used at no-charge in the event of a disaster. This allows enterprises to keep minimal processing capacity activated on their backup system when it's not in use, thus lowering licensing fees and energy costs. In the event of downtime, they can then ramp up the system to take over operations.

In the event of downtime, IBM will allow customers to temporarily transfer their licenses for i5/OS, System i's flagship operating system, from their primary system to the CBU Edition to and thus avoid extra fees when downtime occurs.

The new System i 550 CBU Editions will be available later this month. New System i 570 and System i 595 CBU Editions for medium to large enterprises, are available now.

This article was originally published on internetnews.

The staff at ServerWatch contributed to this article.

This article was originally published on Wednesday Aug 9th 2006
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