How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

Summary: IBM hopes to embrace and extend the cloud into its mainframe monopoly, and keep filing patents on the technology so as to make it an eternal lock on the top end of the business.

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TOPICS: IBM
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Asia Dent (right) must be the most famous face in Poughkeepsie today.

She was photographed by IBM PR recently putting a probe to a new 5.2 GHz chip that is at the heart of the company's new zEnterprise mainframe, shipping next week.

Florian Mueller calls this the most dangerous product announcement of the century. That's because zEnterprise could let IBM create a cloud monopoly among large enterprises, assimilating Linux under its mainframe patents.

All this goes back to the Turbo Hercules case, he writes.

You may recall that Turbo Hercules is an IBM mainframe emulator that works on PC-type hardware. When it was a labor of love IBM had no problem with it. When its maker tried to productize it, in the way other open source projects are productized, IBM's lawyers were on him in a flash.

Hercules founder Roger Bowler then filed a complaint with the EC's antitrust authorities, saying IBM was illegally tying its mainframe software to hardware.

The new chip makes those chains less burdensome to customers. They've got the fastest chip in the world on their side. And if you're processing bank or credit card transactions (or health claims) that's a very big deal.

This kind of transaction processing continues to grow rapidly. IBM has driven everyone out of the old mainframe business. Nearly everyone in the space -- all the biggest global trade enterprises -- have their key functions riding on IBM mainframes.

They're thrilled with the new IBM mainframes.

Which means that if any scaled enterprise is going into the cloud, it's taking its mainframe with it. IBM has kindly allowed this new mainframe to assimilate what Linux and Unix can do, without offering any way back.

It's precisely what critics were accusing Microsoft Sharepoint of doing, but under complete patent protection and control.

In this way, IBM hopes to embrace and extend the cloud into its mainframe monopoly, and keep filing patents on the technology so as to make it an eternal lock on the top end of the business, Mueller writes.

Who is going to rewrite their core processing systems in order to gain the price benefits of true cloud technology?

Which may be why IBM doesn't want to step up to the plate and be an open source hero.

Topic: IBM

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  • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

    Hercules is not going after the large mainframe market. It is trying to help small customers continue to use their mainframe software and custom application programs on a low speed computer. A z10 or z196 processor is rated about 150 -200 mips per processor, up to 80 / 96 processors. A computer running Hercules gets about 50 MIPS per thread. A hyper threaded PC would get about 100 mips. A dual core hyper threaded PC would get about 200 mips. Plus the z processors need about 100 amps of power for the processor, the storage unit, and swithces, and specialized wiring for 220 volts, versus 2-3 amps for a PC or server.
    maschwab@...
    • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

      @maschwab@... An IBM mainframe is not about the MIPS. They are best at crunching HUGE amounts of data quickly. The CPU's don't do I/O, they just crunch. PC architecture has they CPU's doing I/O, handling individual key presses, etc. All of which is fine on a single user machine, but not on a multi-user, heavily loaded machine. Mainframes are designed to run at 95% plus CPU loads (all the time), thousands of concurrent users, etc.

      Even having a zOS emulator on a PC would not allow the PC to get anywhere near the business performance of a mainframe.
      I am Gorby
      • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

        @I am Gorby

        The claim that mainframes have superior I/O to ordinary PCs is certainly true, but it's also an oversimplification in this context. There are mainframes and there are mainframes. Hercules can't compete with one of those multi-thousand MIPS behemoths you find in banks or airline reservation systems. But if like many mainframe users you have only a few hundred MIPS, Hercules on a good multi-socket quad-core Intel machine will provide an excellent and entirely usable Disaster Recovery solution, as well as a very cost effective development platform.
        Jeff Gould
      • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

        @Jeff Gould. Heh!heh! That's most probably why IBM went after Hercules. Don't let anything get in the way of profits. They would not be able to charge the same amount for their software on a PC platform.
        I am Gorby
  • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

    I doubt anybody has a bigger cloud than Google. Do they use any IBM mainframes? I don't think so.
    jorjitop
  • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

    Considering that it's going to be a cold day everywhere before i'd put anything critical in the "cloud", who cares?
    fairportfan
  • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

    Its simply not possible to make side by side comparisons between mainframes and PC's, its like comparing you top end PC to your 4 function pocket calculator.

    Clear, if it was just a matter of MIPS, then no one would buy or use expensive mainframes.

    No, they are totally different beasts, there is really no comparison possible.
    Aussie_Troll
  • RE: How IBM hopes to make the cloud proprietary

    and you dont think that companies what are big enough to need mainframes, would move that to the cloud ?

    They are all on private leased T3 lines, you think banks for example will place their mainframe computing duties to the net ?

    I dont.. !!!
    Aussie_Troll
  • How about Oracle?

    Sun Microsystems seemed to have a lot of Cloud related stuff, which now belongs to Oracle. They must either have patents or a lot of "Prior art" which would hinder IBM.
    colinmeister
    • It's not about cloud patents

      @colinmeister It's about enforced lock-in through control of what matters to big clients. Big companies must have mainframes for backward compatibility, and IBM has now added all the facilities of the cloud to what they have to own anyway.
      DanaBlankenhorn