The IT Jungle has a good piece about how IBM is focusing on its System i customers more than System i sales. Timothy Prickett Morgan talked with Mark Shearer, the general manager of System i, a few times during the COMMON conference in Anaheim, Calif., and came away with some interesting tidbits:
With about half of IBM’s customers having an OS/400 or i5/OS server on site, Shearer wanted to reassure COMMON attendees about the importance of the base–particularly since we all watched the revenue declines in recent years for the platform. He said that IBM is not focused on i5 sales as much as the total IBM relationship at these sites.
The System i Network has a Q&A with George Farr, the IBM solution manager of System i development tools. In it, Farr reveals that Screen Designer and Application Diagram, two green-screen programming features in WebSphere Development Studio Client 7.0, will be available in the standard edition as well as the advanced edition.
This should ease some System i customers’ worries who were upset with a technology preview from IBM showing that those features wouldn’t be available in standard edition.
In the past week, Gartner has come out with a couple short reports on the System i. The first examines what MySQL could do for System i, concluding that it will help the popularity of System i but continue to distance itself from IBM software on other hardware platforms. The other one looks at the new System i 515 and 525 servers targeted at small and medium businesses (SMBs).
Why is that important? Not a lot of colleges out there are teaching RPG, that’s why. If you want to lure younger people to the benefits of the System i, the notion that you have to know RPG to run it isn’t helping.
I just returned from the Opening Session of this years Common Conference here in Anaheim.
I was surprised to here about the new Common Skills Portal: http://www.common.org/skills/ Something I’m certainly going to spend a little time looking at!
Some time was spent honoring Common’s best speakers, followed by a presentation of iSociety: http://isociety.common.org/
Mark Shearer took the stage along with Dr. Frank.
Dr. Frank had just come from 1998 and was quite surprised to here how his beloved AS400 had turned out. It was a lot of fun to watch. Even though I think Dr. Frank should keep his day job and leave acting to the pros (Ha! Just kidding… )
Mark continued on with his presentation and spent some time talking about Blade Center integration, IP Telephony, Capacity Backup systems, PHP and MySql…
Next we got to here more about the recently announced System i Express systems – http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/redp5052.html
As at every Common Conference we heard that IBM was going to improve the marking of the System i .. Nothing new here <smile>
Mark also talked about how IBM was working to help improve the System i Skills shortage. Something we all should be concerned about. To learn more about this initiative take a look here:
We got to see another skit making fun of Intel Servers… This is always good for a laugh and then the session closed with a few minutes of Q&A …
All in all I enjoyed attending … and I wish all of you could have been here too…
This is getting to be like a broken record, but System i revenues dropped again, this time 13 percent, in the first quarter of this year. It is the sixth consecutive quarter that year-over-year revenue has gone down. IBM said weak upgrade sales on the platform caused the decline.
Compared to the same quarter two years ago, System revenue is down about 33 percent. That’s a hard slump.
This time, System i’s drop was in the midst of gains on all other platforms: systems z, p and x. It’s not for lack of investment by IBM. In the last year it introduced a VoIP solution with 3Com exclusively on the System i, as well as new entry-level System i boxes.
But analysts say System i suffers from a marketing problem.
Some of you may have seen this week that IBM is touting Linux on System p as a prime server consolidation platform. The announcement includes new software from IBM that allows x86 Linux applications to run natively on the System p without having to port or recompile the applications using Chiphopper.
My question is: Why just System p and not System i as well? Maybe they don’t see the market for Linux on System i as there is on System p. Are there any System i junkies out there who would want this feature?
These longer, more detailed comments at the System i Network are even better than the previous post, in my humble opinion. In this installment, users wonder aloud about the 40-user cap with the 515 machine. Why? They ask. David Vasta over at iSeries Addict has the same question, and isn’t shy about his criticism:
Why would you make the fastest, and most reliable system, the i5 in a nice small affordable package and then put a limit on it? Why? Please someone with brains take over the i5 business unit at IBM and do something right for a change? In the last 20 years IBM has bumbled the i5 product line like a bunch of keystone cops. They get something right like the price and the size and then do something stupid like put a cap on the number of users.
I like when sites like System iNetwork do reader feedback stories that just include blurbs from readers on what they think about various System i and iSeries issues. Right now the buzz is around the new System i 515 and 525 boxes targeted for small-to-medium businesses.
The responses obviously include positive and negative feedback; I only wish there had been more overall. My favorite from the bunch is the last: “The customer may have somebody familiar with PC hardware concepts, and that person may get the setup job, but customers need to be convinced that it is an easy server to setup and get going so that they spread the word.”
Hey, System i Planet has a ton of links today to IBM support documents for WebSphere. Having issues with PTFs, migration, daylight savings, etc.? Check this out, seriously. I counted more than 50 links there, it’s a nice resource.