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HP missionaries paddled over mainframe convert claims

Big Blue in server stats spat

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Sometimes, the server business reminds me of driving in a car on a long trip with a lot of kids in the backseat. You just want to reach back and start slapping and tell everyone to shut up and stop talking nonsense. But fathers today are more civilized (at least outwardly) and don't do the things their fathers did (judge for yourself if civilization is better for it). And so it is with the tit-for-tat noise coming out of IBM and Hewlett-Packard about who is replacing whose iron at data centers around the world.

HP started the latest round of squabbling about server replacements - which is always the rage when the economy gets tight, by the way - when it declared two weeks ago that its missionaries had converted more than 250 mainframe shops to its Itanium-based Integrity servers in the past two years. Most of those shops have moved to HP-UX, but some have moved to Windows or the NonStop fault-tolerant operating system, and many also deploy Linux on Integrity boxes beside the primary operating system they deploy applications upon.

If you remember in that story, I added a key point: There are only about 10,000 mainframe footprints in the world. So as Monty Python might remind us: Every 'frame is sacred, every 'frame is great. If a 'frame is wasted, Sam gets quite irate.

So, Big Blue cranked up its PR machine, and pulled some statistics out of its, er, sales database and wanted everyone to know that more than 5,000 companies worldwide have replaced iron from HP, Sun Microsystems, and EMC since 2004 and moved to them to IBM alternatives.

Breaking this down a little, IBM is claiming that in less than one year, more than 150 customers have moved onto its System z mainframes from HP and Sun platforms. When pressed for more details about where these customers were coming from, IBM's PR people said they would get me some answers, but all I got was static. And since the inception of the so-called Migration Factory that IBM set up "several years ago," more than 1,300 customers have been moved to Power-based servers from Sun and HP platforms, and this year alone, another 800 customers have moved onto System x iron (which presumably also includes BladeCenter blade servers).

Yes, IBM is mixing different categories and different time scales, but this is what happens when people bicker. On the storage front, IBM says that since 2006, it has moved over 2,900 customers from EMC iron. (Any minute now, EMC will pipe up with how many IBM, HP, and Sun takeouts it has garnered).

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