Tuesday, September 14, 2004

His lips are moving!

When I saw this article: IBM does Linux-only dance on Power, I just had to unload. The title of this post is the punch line to the old joke, "How can you tell when an IBM salesman is lying?"

I've been involved with IBM computers since the late '60s (don't do the math). I've spent lots of time in the Hudson Valley (beautiful place) talking with the mainframe folks and more recently the RS/6000 folks.

We had started with SAP on RS/6000 SP2s in the mid-'90s. What a fiasco. Our regional IBM sales manager was Gary L. from Charlotte. He had been in the Tennessee area and was very familiar with our shop. We quickly outgrew the capacity of the SP2s and had to move to free-standing boxes loosing the use of the SP2's high-speed switch (about its only advantage). In the late '90s we tried and tried to convince our management to let us quit throwing good money after bad with the RS/6000s and go to Sun or HP. Our CIO said that IBM was our "partner" and they would look out for us. We spent boatloads of money on RS/6000 equipment and suffered outage after outage on top of poor performance. All the while, IBM was pulling the resources out of our account one by one.

Finally, in '99, the RS/6000 S70A database server died and wouldn't reboot. They shipped us another one from the plant and it wouldn't power up. We built-up another one and got the system limping after 36 hours. We had to ship the boot drive to Austin for them to tell us what was wrong. It was an AIX bug.

This time when we went to management to replace the RS/6000 database server with anything else, they let us. We installed a Sun E10000 and you just wouldn't have believed the difference, both with the vendor and with the hardware.

But this was just the database server. The rest of the landscape remained on the old RS/6000 boat anchors. Then just over 2 years ago, we did an RFP to replace all the machines we were using to run SAP.

By now that IBM regional rep. was the Worldwide VP of RS/6000 sales! I told you we bought a lot of that stuff. IBM was in their transition from the S-series into the P-series (they were always transitioning from something to something else obsoleting all the equipment you'd just bought) and AIX 5l. The more we talked to them, the more I worried about their commitment to AIX. Our "partner" Gary came to Memphis and I asked him about that. Remember he was the Worldwide VP of RS/6000 sales. He stood in our office and told us that IBM would never abandon AIX. Now go read this article and visualize his lips moving.

PS. We awarded the deal to Sun and now have a homogeneous Sun environment. Thanks Gilly!

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