Feeds

Microsoft funds object of IBM's mainframe fury

PSI pockets $37m

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft has put its loaded name behind PSI - a Silicon Valley-based start-up currently at war with IBM in the mainframe market.

PSI (Platform Solutions Inc.) this week revealed Microsoft as a new investor participating in its fresh $37m Series C funding round. Redmond joins companies such as Intel, Goldman Sachs and InterWest Partners that also back PSI's odd mainframe play. Along with the funding, Microsoft has signed a joint sales agreement with PSI that will see both companies hawk Windows Server 2008 on PSI's machines.

Having more money and a company of Microsoft's weight behind it should give PSI a major boost as it fights IBM during a costly and protracted legal spat.

PSI has partnered with HP and NEC to craft Itanium-based high-end servers that - through some software magic - can run IBM's mainframe operating system and mainframe software. As a result, customers can find cheaper, higher performing systems that accomplish many of their lower-end mainframe tasks. In addition, PSI likes to play the consolidation card, bragging that it can run z/OS, Windows and Linux on the same box.

The company has struggled to get its mainframe play off the ground due to Intel's near constant delays getting new Itanium chips out the door and a host of other reasons. It has, however, managed to capture the attention of some customers and of HP, which sought to acquire PSI for close to $200m.

The deal with HP fell through, according to PSI, after a lawsuit arrived from IBM.

In 2006, Big Blue hit PSI with a patent infringement suit and has stopped supporting applications running on PSI's mainframe copies. PSI returned fire in 2007 claiming that IBM is abusing its mainframe monopoly to keep a competitor out of a market that PSI values at $28bn.

Earlier this month, leading mainframe reseller QSGI warned that it would have to exit the mainframe business due to "a leading OEM" - hint: IBM - blocking its ability to sell refurbished boxes.

"We believe, and the thing IBM has been missing, is that we are not bad for IBM," PSI CEO Michael Maulick told us. "We would help the marketplace grow, since customers would not be forced to migrate away from mainframe systems.

"We will be around, and IBM will have to deal with us one way or another."

As PSI's legal spat plays out with IBM, the company is in what it calls "limited availability." Only select customers can tap its System64 product line, since PSI must handle all of the support for the systems on its own.

The company hopes, however, that the new funding will help it expand these support operations and charge into new markets alongside Microsoft.

While Microsoft and mainframe are rarely mention in the same sentence, Maulick argues that it's only natural for Redmond to embrace these big iron copies. Microsoft wants to forge a path to all of the information sitting on customers' mainframe boxes and needs a tool for the job.

"It is all about the data," Maulick said. "Sixty to seventy percent of corporate data is controlled by the mainframe environment."

In the coming weeks, PSI plans to show off its latest and greatest hardware built around fresh Montvale-based systems from HP and NEC. ®

Register editor Ashlee Vance has just pumped out a new book that's a guide to Silicon Valley. The book starts with the electronics pioneers present in the Bay Area in the early 20th century and marches up to today's heavies. Want to know where Gordon Moore eats Chinese food, how unions affected the rise of microprocessors or how Fairchild Semiconductor got its start? This is the book for you - available at Amazon US here or in the UK here.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes
4TB of home storage is great, until you wake up to a dead device
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.