IBM to Upend Server Market

March 3, 2010

My feedreader disgorged a link to an IBM news release that trumped the mainframe baloney and the weird IBM SEO expertise news items I have reported on in this goosely blog. Now between you and me, I no longer buy branded hardware. I go with the commodity stuff. I paid 1 800 GotJunk to haul away my last two NetFinity 5500s which I replaced with a single white box dual quad core machine plugged into a Drobo sporting three one terabyte drives. My energy consumption dropped from 3000 watts to 750 watts and the 300 pounds of IBM hardware with all sorts of IBM stickers, Serve RAID goodies, and two EXP chassis became one box about the size of a briefcase. Don’t get me wrong. In the good old days of easy money and CFOs who would rubber stamp any information technology purchase order, the branded hardware made sense. Today. Not so much. My two NetFinities rang in years ago in the $10,000 range. So two cost me $20,000. The white box replacement was about $700. This goose prefers to keep his money, not give it to IBM with its $750 tech roll fees and crazy prices for FRUs.

What does the IBM news release assert? First you have to read this gem yourself. Navigate to “IBM Unveils Industry’s First Systems that Rewrite Economics of ‘Industry-Standard’ Computing”. You can watch a Flash video at the IBM x86 Web page. Second, note these points:

  • I can plug in memory as needed.
  • I can increase my virtualization capacity.
  • I can select different form factors.

In short, I can pretty much do what I am now doing. The difference is that if I buy IBM is “upend” my ROI as IBM “upend” the branded server market. Here’s an example of IBM’s math:

IBM eXFlash technology would eliminate the need for a client to purchase two entry-level servers and 80 JBODs to support a 240,000 IOPs database environment, saving $670,000 in server and storage acquisition costs.

To me, JBOD means “just a bunch of discs” which is trendier than direct access storage devices or DASDs.

Will this address the performance problems of IBM’s implementation of search on its Web site? Nope. The problems have little to do with hardware. In my opinion, I don’t think throwing hardware at an architecture problem is the route to follow. Your mileage may vary. Have at it. Hope that I am not doing the IV&V on this type of solution to a problem such as IBM’s own Web site search system running these zippy new servers and their acronyms and assertions.

Stephen E Arnold, March 3, 2010

No one paid me to write this. Because IBM Federal Systems is helping to fix the US government’s computing infrastructure, I will report non payment to the folks in Gaithersburg. Didn’t IBM help design much of the infrastructure that IBM is now rearchitecting? Hmmm. Interesting.


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