Mainframe Propeller Head

Dec 17 2008   8:21PM GMT

RFG clarifies its clarification

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Analyst firm Robert Frances Group is doing a lot of clarifications.

Last month Hewlett-Packard announced that 250 mainframe users had migrated to Itanium in the last two years, and cited an RFG study in the release. A quote from the HP release referencing the RFG study:

According to Robert Frances Group, a leading provider of consulting and research, the capital savings range from $1.5 million up to $23 million, with up to an additional operational cost savings of more than $4 million over four years. The study shows HP Integrity servers consumed 41 percent less energy and used 48 percent less space than the IBM z9 mainframes they replaced.

RFG piped up, saying readers could infer that Itanium is always better than mainframe, which is certainly not what RFG was trying to say. We wrote about it and had a headline that said RFG was “dissing” the HP announcement. A quote from the first RFG statement:

Last week HP issued a press release that referenced this report in which readers can infer that RFG believes a new HP system is always less expensive than a new comparable IBM System z. The report did not make such an analysis and made no comparative statements of that nature.

This is a misleading conclusion that RFG does not support. RFG has long stated that the mainframe is one of the best and most energy efficient platform options. RFG has written many research reports stating that mainframes should be considered and used in certain environments and RFG stands by those statements.

Well, now RFG has spoken again. In another clarification, the analyst firm says that the HP announcement never overstated RFG’s published findings. Here’s the full statement:

In the RFG press release on Nov. 17 “RFG Clarifies Its Position on System z Mainframe Pricing and Competitiveness” RFG attempted to clarify that the case study report referenced in the HP Nov. 10th press release compared current Integrity systems with a previous model, IBM z9 mainframe, not a new, IBM z10 mainframe. Further, RFG acknowledges that the RFG study information used in HP’s press release was accurate and factual and did not overstate RFG’s published findings. RFG stands by its findings. RFG’s sole concern was that readers would infer from the HP press release entitled “Business Customers Find Mainframe Costs Out of Step with Data Center Budgets” that RFG believes mainframes are non-competitive in all circumstances.

So it appears the issue has come down to the difference between “imply” and “infer.” Did HP imply that the RFG study claimed Itanium always trumped the mainframe, or was it just the wording of the release that could lead readers to infer such? And what is the difference?

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  • Petexxxxx
    Thanks for this and November's posts covering the minor but revealing flap. In the November post Tuomoks and Jelo miss the most interesting aspect, the contemporary overlap shared between analysts in the business computing industry and analysts in today's investment banking world -- that overlap being a willingness and even primary mission to please the analyzed instead of the customers of the analysis. This never comes to any good for the customers and in fact ultimately harms customers greatly. In the case of business computing pleasing the analyzed has been the norm so long that no one smells a rat when large corporations continue to compute like it's 2001 or in many cases 1994 (and earlier). This is no wonder since those are the times when the vendors they still listen to and buy from last had (authentic) relevance. Today the z9 vs. Integrity stuff is mostly hype in a teapot because people who rely on such comparisons to make technology decisions are already likely on the wrong side of the debate and growing companies will move on. Even if the fridge-sized computers of today do share a lot in common with what the days of yore call mainframes, that's all the more reason to start calling them something else so new thinking can move forward. In any case we did have a a response to your posts, [A href=""]Who will bail out the irrelevant consulting groups?[/A]. Thanks again!
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