Amdahl said that yesterday's deal with Microsoft to work on host integration of NT Server with host mainframe systems was evidence of increased consolidation in the industry. Large buyers were moving towards end-to-end solutions covering the whole of the enterprise, the firm said.
Microsoft said yesterday it will make a financial contribution to Amdahl to set up host integration centres where Amdahl can help large customers with architectural design, resolve problems, and help choose and integrate third-party products.
"If you look at the client base it's consolidating upwards from the desktop," said Alan Bell, senior vice-president of worldwide field operations at Amdahl.
"The cost-of-ownership argument drives you to high-end servers covering PCs, NCs and thin clients. The challenge is integrating the enterprise via a single source. NT has to interface with somebody's database and there are a lot of legacy databases out there, for instance the front-end manager who wants to access a client database on a DB2 database. You don't want to recreate that database for NT, you want the real thing that can be accessed seamlessly. The real thing is how to connect to that DB2 database."
Ball said that the agreement with Microsoft had come about from spending the last 18 months working with Bill Gates's company on issues such as the implementation of SNA, MVS and clustering.
He also promised that Amdahl will not be driven to blind recommendations of Microsoft products, pointing out that the company already has a similar deal in place with Sun.
"Our premise in Amdahl is what the customers wants, that's what he gets," Ball said. "Sun would prefer us not to be an advocate of NT. Our answer is that we have customers looking to integrate NT, Solaris and MVS. We don't want to isolate ourselves."
Ball also predicted more alliances and merger and acquisition activity.
"The whole industry is in a consolidation phase. Everybody's been cutting throats for the last two years and you either go down or get bought out. It's very difficult to survive on your own. Customers want end-to-end solutions."