Feeds

IBM smells Sun red ink

Undercuts Sparc servers with beefier rebates

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Back in April, when IBM rolled out the completely refreshed Power Systems Power6-based server line, the marketeers also got a chance to play alongside the engineers with the launch of the Power Rewards rebate program. At the time, Hewlett-Packard's vintage HP 9000 server line seemed to be the main target of Power Rewards, which can cut the cost of a migration to an IBM Unix box by as much as 50 per cent over negotiated street price on the iron.

Now - as Sun Microsystems is struggling financially, is late getting its "Rock" systems to market, and is mothballing its own UltraSparc-IV machines - IBM thinks it's a good time to attack the Sun base.

The Power Rewards rebate program is part of something that IBM calls the Migration Factory, which is a set of server deals and technical expertise that helps customers running Solaris, HP-UX, Windows, or Linux platforms on iron that does not bear the IBM moniker to move over to Big Blue boxes. With the Power Rewards deal, IBM gives customers points for each PA-RISC or Sparc processor core they leave behind, points that are in turn used as company town money, redeemable for IBM goods and services or those provided by designated business partners.

Since 2001, when IBM got serious about the Unix business with the dual-core Power4 line of RS/6000 servers, the company has been getting progressively more aggressive about getting customers using Solaris, HP-UX, and Irix Unix or using proprietary platforms like OpenVMS and MPE to move to RS/6000, pSeries, System p, and now Power Systems iron. IBM bought Sector7, an HP migration specialist based in Austin, Texas, back in October 2003, to chase more deals.

Based on the methodologies developed at Sector7, IBM launched the Migration Factory service back in mid-2005, which aimed primarily at getting Solaris shops to move to IBM servers running Linux, but which has subsequently been expanded to cover migrations to AIX. To date, Migration Factory has done 1,200 customer migrations.

The Migration Factory does hundreds of assessments per year and generally takes down about 500 migration deals a year for IBM, according to Scott Handy, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM's Power Systems division. And with the Power Rewards deal launched in April, this seems to be accelerating - and not to Sun's benefit.

In the third quarter ended in September, IBM did 135 deals, and the extra ten deals all came out of Sun's hide. Handy says that about 80 per cent of IBM's migrations come from Sun and HP Unix shops, and they have been evenly split to date. But there seems to be a little more interest in IBM's sales pitch these days at Sun shops. And that's why IBM has jacked up the Power Rewards points for each Sparc core to 4,000 each rather than the 1,000 each that was announced back in April when the program was launched.

Incidentally, PA-RISC cores were assessed at 4,000 points back then, while Itanium, Alpha, and MIPS cores were given only 1,000 points when customers ditched them.

Handy says that the point values on the platforms that customers are moving away from as they migrate to IBM iron have little to do with raw performance comparisons and more to do with IBM's desire to move customers and the likelihood of doing so by sweetening a deal. To take part in Power Rewards, customers have to buy a Power Systems 520, 550 560, 570, or 595 server to take part in the deal, and the older Power5+ System p5 590 and 595 and System i 595 servers can also be acquired under the deal.

IBM estimated back in April that there were 175,000 vintage HP 9000 machines still in use in the field, and thus far, these shops decided not to move to HP-UX v3 on HP's Itanium-based Integrity server line - after many years if being able to. In fact, around a fifth of HP's sales in its Business Critical Systems unit still comes from non-Itanium gear. "People are still buying PA-RISC when it is not offering good price/performance, and they are resisting the recompile to get to Itanium," explains Handy. "We figured if we put enough money on the table, they'd move." Either way, they are facing a recompile.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: IBM smells red ink

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
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.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.