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HP missionaries paddled over mainframe convert claims

Big Blue in server stats spat

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HP leaves out the 'sponsored' bit

In making its announcement, IT consultancy Robert Francis Group managed to get scratched by HP's initial press release, and now it had protested. Here's what HP's original press release said: "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."

If you look at the study that HP cited, which is posted on Microsoft's site and which came out in July 2008, the comparison inside this report clearly shows an SAP setup on a mainframe being a lot more expensive than a setup on an HP Integrity server running Windows Sever 2003 - and mostly because mainframe software and maintenance are very expensive, not because of hardware or energy costs.

"In some cases, maintaining legacy systems on mainframe equipment makes the most sense," the RFG report concludes. "However, RFG finds that there are many times when the combination of open systems, based on HP Integrity servers and Microsoft software, delivers the optimal combination of low acquisition costs, low administrative costs, and an efficient use of electrical power that make a compelling TCO argument."

But, alas, that is apparently not the conclusion that we are meant to draw from the report - at least not based on the statement that RFG put out last week. And from that statement, we learn that HP apparently sponsored the report, which somehow still has Microsoft copyrights on it. (Go figure).

"In a recent report sponsored by Hewlett Packard Co. (HP), RFG discussed the advantages of upgrading old computer systems to new energy-efficient ones. 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."

If RFG really wanted to have anyone reading this report draw that conclusion, then maybe a report that wasn't sponsored by anyone and that showed the scenarios where keeping a mainframe made sense as well as those that showed where it didn't might have helped. Which is why sponsored research is always suspect, as are vendor statistics, now that I come to think of it.

But we have to make do with the "information" we have, right? ®

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